Tag Archives: transworld

The King’s Spy – Andrew Swanston

26 Sep

Started – 16/9/12

Finished – 26/9/12

Format – Hardback Book


Synopsis – England is at war with itself. King Charles I has fled London, his negotiations with Parliament in tatters. The country is consumed by bloodshed.


For Thomas Hill, a man of letters quietly running a bookshop in the rural town of Romsey, knowledge of the war is limited to the rumours that reach the local inn.


When a stranger knocks on his door one night and informs him that the king’s cryptographer has died, everything changes. Aware of Thomas’s background as a mathematician and his expertise in codes and ciphers, the king has summoned him to his court in Oxford.


On arrival, Thomas soon discovers that nothing at court is straightforward. There is evidence of a traitor in their midst. Brutal murder follows brutal murder. And when a vital message encrypted with a notoriously unbreakable code is intercepted, he must decipher it to reveal the king’s betrayer and prevent the violent death that failure will surely bring.


My Thoughts – This was a book that i got sent to me from the Transworld publishers as part of a reading challenge. This book is about Thomas Hill a bookseller who lives with his sister and her two children during the times of the English civil war. He travels away to Oxford and its here that he becomes a cryptographer for the king. He has to decode a series of messages and the war could depend on it.


This book not only has the code aspect too it, its also full of torture, murders and lots of other not nice things. I did think that these were quite well done and added a bit more substance to the story. I did also like the ammount of codes and the details that the author went in to explain how the codes were solved. The illustations were also a hepful aspect to help understand the codes fully.


I really loved the character of Jane and was so gutted with what happened to her in the book. I would have liked her and Thomas to have ended up together but that was not the case.


The only couple of things that i didnt like about the book was that it was quite predicable what was going to happen and the twists and turns could be seen a mile off. Thats not to say that i didnt enjoy the book, i really did but this was the only thing that put me off a little, This book is the first in a trilogy and i think that im going to keep a little eye out for the next.


I enjoyed reading this book although its set in a time period that im not too familar with it was an enjoyable experience to read.


Rating – 4/5

Across A Bridge of Dreams – Lesley Downer

31 Jul

Started – 6/7/12

Finished – 20/7/12

Format – Hardback Book

Synopsis – Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over – or so it seems.

Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now rules the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma.

Taka and Nobu’s love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka’s father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing.

When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka’s father and brother, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice: between her family and the man she loves…

My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the Historical Hardback Reading Challenge from the publishers Transworld. I picked this book as i love books set in Japan, after falling in love after reading Memoirs of a Geisha.

This book is about Taka, the daughter of a general in the army and a former geisha. To start with her life is fairly comfortable, until herself and her mother are attacked in a tea house. A young man steps in to defend them, and it is here that we meet Nobu. He manages to fight off the attacker and in return gets a job as a ‘servant’ carrying Takas books about for her. They quickly become friends, however there is one big problem, Taka and Nobu are from different clans, warring clans and would never ever be aloud to be together.

I liked the massive change in culture that is discribed in this book, its kind of a modernisation of Japan and i thought that this came across very well in the book. However Japan was still a bit of a traditional country as Taka had to get her maid to take letters to and from Nobu and not take them herself.

I liked how the book was spilt into sections and followed a number of years. For me this made the book span like a proper love story and really made me enjoy the story more. I also liked how it told the story from both Taka and Nobu’s point of veiw and even though this meant telling certain events twice, it really made me understand the characters more.

During the book it kind of went from a riches to rags story with Taka, i felt that this was well done with the approach of the war. The war at the end of the book was my favourite part and i couldnt put this book down towards the end.

This book is a kind of Romeo and Juilet book set in Japan. I loved reading it and really enjoyed emmersing myself in Japanese culture.

Rating – 4/5

Apocalypse Cow – Michael Logan

11 May

Started – 7/5/12

Finished – 11/5/12

Format – Paperback Book

Synopsis – When scientists with warped imaginations accidentally unleash an experimental bioweapon that transforms Britain’s animals into sneezing, bloodthirsty zombies with a penchant for pre-dinner sex with their victims, three misfits become the unlikely hope for salvation.

Abattoir worker Terry Borders’ love life is crippled by the stench of death that clings to his skin from his days spent slaughtering cows; teenage vegan Geldof ‘Scabby’ Peters alternates between scratching furiously at his rash and baiting his overbearing New Age mother; and inept journalist Lesley McBrien struggles forlornly in the shadow of her famous war correspondent father and the star journalist at the Glasgow Tribune.

When Britain begins a rapid descent into chaos and ministers cynically attempt to blame al-Qaeda, Lesley stumbles upon proof that the government is behind the outbreak. During her bumbling quest to unveil the truth, she crosses paths with Terry and Geldof, and together they set out to escape a quarantined Britain with the evidence and vital data that could unlock a cure for the virus.

Standing in the way are rampaging hordes of animals, a ruthless security agent and an army ready to shoot anybody with a case of the sniffles on the off-chance the virus has mutated.

Three losers. Overwhelming odds. A single outcome: the world is screwed.

My Thoughts – I was sent this book by the publishers, Transworld in exchange for a review. Now although this book isnt my usual genre, when i read the synopsis i really had to read it.

This book is about several unlikely heroes who need to try and get out of Britain as the animals are turning into bloodythirsty zombies. There is Geldof, who is born to hippy parents and is a vegetarian. However, as a teenage boy he is none to happy about this and craves meat. Their is Lesley, a journalist, although not a very good one who is the daughter of a high profile journalist and wants to prove herself. Lastly there is Terry, an abattoir worker who is one of the first to come across the virus in its horrific form. Together they must work together to get the proof out of the country and the formula to develop a vaccine.

One of the main concerns throughout the book is can the virus spread from animals to humans? And what would happen if it did. Now i am not a fan of zombies at all, to be honest the idea of them scare me and i dont always enjoy zombie books. Now this was good. There is a bit of Zombie theme in the book, but not enough to be scary. This was a very good twist on the very much overdone zombie genre.

This book is very very good. It has all different themes to it. It is very funny in places some parts of the book had me laughing out loud. For example when Geldof is having his teenage fanasties about his next door neighbour. Also it is quite a sexual book, so probably not one to lend out to youngsters, but very good for a more adult audience. At the same time, parts are quite gruesome and upsetting, but this is to be expected from a book like this.

The overall thing that struck me was if this really happened the world would be screwed, Britain is a tiny little island and we could just be cut out from the rest of the world which was a bit of a scary thought.

The ending of the book was left open a bit so I’m hoping that their could be a sequal in the future, i would definitaly read it.

This book is seriously good, i would highly recommend it and would say . . . Read it 😀

Rating – 4.5/5