Monday, 29 January 2018
One of the major things that Gerald of Wales was involved in was the crusade to recover the Holy Land.
During the late summer of 1187, astounding and terrible tidings spread through western Europe. The great Moslem warrior, Salah-ad-Din Yusuf, the dreaded ‘Saladin’, had surrounded the Christian army of Palestine at the Horns of Hattin, and utterly annihilated it: the Holy Cross of Christ, the sacred relic borne before the crusaders, was in the hands of the infidel. Within three months even worse news followed. Sweeping all before him, Saladin had taken the Holy City of Jerusalem, and only the desperately defended fortress of Tyre now held out against the final Moslem conquest of the land where Christ had lived and died.
Saturday, 27 January 2018
The two books I’m recommending this week are the beginning of the Translocator Trilogy. So far, there isn’t a book three, but you can enjoy books 1 & 2 and then wait, like me.
The Auriga Project
Transported light years in a heartbeat
Ripped from Earth in a horrifying teleportation accident, archaeologist Eliana Fisk finds herself stranded on a strange planet whose denizens want her as a human sacrifice.
Can she stay out from under the knife long enough to find her way home? Or will the desperate natives and their bloodthirsty gods get to her first?
The Auriga Project is a fast-paced science fiction thriller with an edge of the fantastic. It's a harrowing tale of survival against all odds, and the gateway to an ancient alien mystery.
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Something a little different this week. A lot of people who like science fiction also like fantasy. The two genres are bracketed together under the label speculative fiction. I prefer science fiction but read fantasy occasionally, so here is a fantasy series I can recommend. It’s by Bella Forrest, who is a prolific writer, particularly of vampire books.
This is billed as A spine-tingling new fantasy, perfect for adults or teens who enjoyed Harry Potter... I was sceptical, but curious, so I tried the first book, which was free on Kindle. It didn’t disappoint.
Monday, 15 January 2018
In 1176 the bishop of St Davids, Gerald’s uncle, died. The local clergy nominated Gerald for the post even though he was only a young archdeacon. King Henry II got the wrong information and thought he had been elected, and was so enraged that he said he would never consider Gerald as a candidate, even when the mistake was corrected. Afraid of the ramifications of a Welsh bishop of St Davids, there was a lot of opposition. A man like Gerald, related to the Welsh princes and a vigorous champion of the rights of St Davids, was the very last bishop Henry wanted for the most controversial diocese in Wales. The Anglo-Norman Peter of Lee (Peter de Leia) became bishop, and Gerald swore the oath of allegiance.
Sunday, 14 January 2018
This science fiction series by L J Cohen consists of four books: Derelict, Ithaka Rising, Dreadnought and Shuttle, and Parallax. Halcyone is the name of the ship owned by Ros after she salvaged it. I have only read the first two books, but I fully intend to read the others when my to-be-read pile goes down a bit (fat chance!)
Thursday, 11 January 2018
St Davids is officially a city, because it has a cathedral, but in reality it is a village in the far south west of Pembrokeshire. The reason a lot is made of it is because St David is the patron saint of Wales. St David is the only patron saint in the British Isles who was born in the country he represents. St David was the son of Sant or Sanctus a king of Ceredigion and Non a Pembrokeshire noblewoman. He was born in a storm on the site of St Nons chapel on the outskirts of St Davids in the 6th century and miraculous events occurred around him throughout his life.
Saturday, 6 January 2018
In most stories it’s clear from the beginning who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist, the hero and the villain. Duel in the Dark by USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Allan stands in contrast to that. The story is told from two points of view: the captain of a Confederation battleship sent to the edge of Confederation space for repairs, and the captain of a Union battleship sent to capture a vital base for the forthcoming war. Eventually, their ships come against each other. As it turns out, they are both heroes.
The reader is able to sympathise with each captain and with their people’s very different social structure and the ideals they grew up with. It shows you what they believe and why. I understood and sympathised with both. When the great battle comes and you find they are on opposing sides it’s a new experience. Which one is the bad guy? It was great to be able to really get to know both sides of the story. Reading this was a really great experience.
Monday, 1 January 2018
Gerald’s character sketches of the three kings who ruled England during most of his life – Henry II (1154-89), Richard I (1189-99), and John (1199-1216) – are among the most vivid and oft-quoted descriptions of medieval kings. They are acute and witty, often salacious, sometimes malicious, and including some set in Wales.
Others had as good an opportunity as Gerald to observe the kings at close quarters, but none had Gerald’s advantages when it came to recording memorable personal impressions of them. It was Gerald’s rare talent to see the Angevins in the round, as rulers of a vast ‘empire’, most of whose lands he knew. He had been a student in Paris for many years and moved as easily in France as he did in England, whilst his upbringing in South Wales and his family interests in Ireland provided a unique vantage point from which to judge the kings. And as one of the luminaries of the 12th century Renaissance, he could compose imperishable portraits that have powerfully affected our view of all three of them.