books monthly september 2017 adult fiction

The legendary story of Joan of Arc is given the graphic novel treatment in this excellent edition from Orep...

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James Remmer: Out Of Mecklenburg

Published by Matador 28th August 2017


With Hitler at the height of his power, Carl von Menen, suave, wealthy and aristocratic, a high flying servant of the German Foreign Office, lives a duplicitous and dangerous life – he abhors the Nazis and wants to kill Hitler! But his vision of seeing a Nazi-free Germany shrinks to despair, when he is unexpectedly assigned to Argentina to keep a watchful eye on the emerging United Officers Group (GOU), a pro-Nazi/Fascist faction of military officers led by the aspiring Juan Domingo Peron.

In Buenos Aires, von Menen is sucked into a cauldron of treachery, deceit and revolution, heightened by his secret ideology, the far-reaching threat of the Gestapo and his clandestine dealings with the seemingly obliging Colonel Filipe Vidal, a man who emerges with a devious and sinister agenda: a plot to side-line Peron and seize power for himself. But Vidal needs arms and his coercive key to getting them is the life of the woman von Menen loves, the dazzling Maria Gomez.

Scheming his way back to Europe, von Menen finds Berlin in ruins, the Gestapo in overdrive, and a merciless Red Army charging towards Germany with only one thing in mind – vengeance! Gambling his own survival against certain execution, he contrives to convince a desperate and weakening Nazi hierarchy that Vidal has a pro-Nazi deal on offer that not even Peron can equal. Hitler finally gives his approval, but the scent of treachery is in the air and the Gestapo is watching. What follows is a bold and daring plan to rob the Reichsbank, a perilous journey by U-boat to the South Atlantic and a maelstrom of heart-stopping events back in Buenos Aires…

James Remmer explores the covert operations of WWII with reference to the early years of Peron and to real events of the war years. The book offers a unique perspective into WWII and will appeal to fans of historical fiction, especially those interested in undercover operations during the Second World War.






Adult Book of the Month: Jerome Eho & Alain Paillou: Joan of Arc

       Published by Orep April 30th 2017

The kingdom of France was plunged into darkness. Weakened by war and famine, the country risked falling into English hands. As the dauphin Charles desperately aspired to one day become king, a young girl from Domremy, guided by mysterious voices, emerged from the shadows, swearing she would have him crowned in Reims.
Driven by her fervour and her boundless will, she who would bear the epitaph of Maid of Orleans, led her small troop to raise the siege in the eponymous city. Behind her, the people of France took up arms with newfound courage, to plunge headlong into one of the greatest epics of all time.


For me, comic book adaptations of great stories has always been a tried and tested method of retelling the story, and this magnificent version of the story of Joan of Arc is a surefire winner. The artwork is astoundingly good, and the story is told superbly well. A faultless production...







Jalal al-Din Rumi: The Masnavi Book Four

Published by Oxford University Press 14th September 2017


Rumi is the greatest mystic poet to have written in Persian, and the Masnavi is his masterpiece. Divided into six books and consisting of some 26,000 verses, the poem was designed to convey a message of divine love and unity to the disciples of Rumi's Sufi order, known today as the Whirling Dervishes. Like the earlier books, Book Four interweaves amusing stories with homilies to instruct pupils in understanding of God's meaning. It has a special focus on the mystical knowledge of the spiritual guide, elaborated through stories such as Solomon's inspiration to the Queen of Sheba, and animal fables.
This is the first ever verse translation of Book Four of the Masnavi. It follows the original by presenting Rumi's most mature mystical teachings in simple and attractive rhyming couplets.


A handsome book, but this one is for scholars and students.


Fred Smith; No Turning Back

Published by The Book Guild 28th July 2017


No Turning Back’s protagonist is James Williams, the son of Robert Williams, a bailiff who we first met in Fred Smith’s previous book – The Devil Returns Twice As Deadly. Fred’s first book explains how Robert acquires his fortune by dubious means.
In this novel, Robert’s son James pursues his love of engineering, building a successful Engineering Company and Iron Foundry. He joined the many entrepreneurs who made their fortunes with the onset of the railways. The story covers the Rainhill steam trials in 1829, as Stephenson unveils his famous Rocket.
This is a tale of heartbreak and sorrow, as we follow James building his empire – a journey full of trials and tribulations. There are stories of mystery and suspense, as the reader travels through his fascinating journey, often finding an unexpected twist.


David Fletcher: Absolutely Galapagos

Published by Matador 28th May 2017


Absolutely Galapagos provides an insight into every feature of that famous archipelago - warts and all - and a further insight into the unique and confused mind of Brian. And, of course, he is more 'at sea' in this book than in any of those that have gone before...It has to be admitted that Brian's interest in the place that inspired Charles Darwin's ground-breaking On the Origin of Species was first inspired not by the islands themselves but by the image of a boat. He was simply enthralled at the prospect of sharing a two-week voyage at sea with fourteen other like-minded souls - and with Sandra, of course. So, off they both went - to discover that not only was the boat all they'd hoped it would be but also that the Galapagos Archipelago really was like nowhere else on Earth. His fourteen new companions hadn't, of course, expected Brian - and his thoughts on matters as diverse as the mystery of how classic literature was produced before the days of creative writing courses. Oh, and Sandra hadn't expected a daily Brian lecture on some of the more interesting aspects of every single country in South America...



Chris Leicester: Hurricane Hill

Published by Matador 28th August 2017


Focussing on the political unrest of the 21st century, Hurricane Hill is a fast-paced novel, which examines the bond between soldiers on the battlefield and the effects that going to war has on an individual's mentality. Hurricane Hill centres on the moral dilemma: Which life is more valuable; that of a child or a brother-in-arms? Out in Helmand, the Insurgents are using children as young as 7 as decoys in fire fights. Paul Glover, a young soldier, has to decide whether to follow his training and treat the children as normal soliders, and shoot to kill, or be killed. Having become a new father himself, Paul's actions come back to haunt him and left asking himself whether he's done the right thing. When Paul arrives at the isolated house of a famous recluse his past is finally faced. Hurricane Hill shows us past lives, events and reasons for the extraordinary predicaments that the characters find themselves in. As the storm advances and threatens to destroy each of them, the young soldier's question is examined, challenged and ultimately answered.



The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.