Tag Archives: good read


By Bernard Cornwell

This is the second in the Grail Quest series.

Huh!   I think I have found my replacement for romance and my complete comfort read, de-stress, chill-out reads. I’m not really that enamoured with the Sharpe books (I may have even written about one in this blog), but I do like The Grail Quest series.   I read the first book Harlequinlast year.

It opens in 1346.  Thomas of Hookton is an archer in King Edward’s army.   Thomas has an unusual background for an archer.   He is the bastard son of a priest, he has been educated (so can read and write in a English, Latin, and French).   Thomas leaves his education and decides to become an archer.   Harlequin starts with a French raid on the village of Hookton.   Thomas’s father is killed, and the village is destroyed.   Thomas goes of to be an archer of note on the battlefield of Crecy.

In Vagabond, King Edward sends Thomas back to England because they hear a rumour that Thomas’s dead father used to have the Holy Grail in his possession.   Thomas learns about his heritage, and who raided the village.   He goes back to France, get’s involved in other battles, meets his enemies etc etc.

Vagabond cover

Vagabond cover, from Bernard Cornwell’s official website

I could keep reading this book.   I found it engaging, and interesting.   For me, it was a good easy read.   A great alternative to romances.   Thank goodness!   If you don’t like bloodshed be warned though.  It is about war.  Old fashioned, up close and personal war.  There are disgusting and gross bits.   And yeah, the female characters aren’t the greatest … but Bernard Cornwall doesn’t urk me the way that Edward Rutherford does.

So yeah.  Loved it.


Started early, took my dog

By Kate Atkinson

OK.   So I love Kate Atkinson.   Have been a long time fan, and I do like these new “Jackson Brodie” case-histories novels.

I must confess to being a bit of a chicken though.  I started reading Started early, took my dog ages ago, but I read the first few pages and thought, “Oh that is going to open a whole big can of worms” and I was too scared to read it because I knew bad things were going to happen.

It is fantastic.   Jackson Brodie is now a PI, and has been hired by a woman in New Zealand to track down her birth parents.   They have been traced back to Yorkshire.   Tracey Waterhouse is an ex-cop, now security chief who sees a child being mistreated and does something about it.   And Tilly is an actress who witnesses the mistreatment.   All of their stories interconnect, with more twists and turns than the Rimutaka hills.   Kate Atkinson really isn’t predictable, and it’s great.   And the baddies get their comupences.   Ye hah!   And there is a small dog.

Started early, took my dog is about a crime, so it is sad at times.  Well I found it so anyways.   Kate Atkinson is a great writer.  So easy to read.   I haven’t yet read the first two books featuring Jackson Brodie, but I have also read When will there be good news.   Oh yeah, and the “Case histories” books have been turned into a TV series (I have only seen one but it seemed very faithful).   Check out the series on Kate Atkinson’s website.

My favourite “other” Kate Atkinson is Emotionally Weird, which has a bit of a mystery at the heart of it too.   Mind you, that seems to be fiction all around doesn’t it?!   And I was looking for a review of Emotionally Weird, and found the NY Times one, but didn’t agree with it.   I was not prepared to agree to disagree.  Har har.

You, however, are welcome agree to disagree!