Sunday, 8 January 2017

Review: Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

Captain Blood is probably a character known to many through the numerous film adaptations. Errol Flynn's ever-grinning face is the way I knew him for decades before I finally picked up the original novel by Rafael Sabatini and delved into the actual story. And, as always, it proved deeper and more interesting than any of the adaptations.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

My Top Five Reads of 2016

Another year gone and another pile of books read. In fact, I find that I read about 80 books last year, a good portion of them graphic novels, to be sure, amounting to c. 19500 pages. Picking the five best reads from this pile is not easy. Actually it would be, if I was willing to fill the entire list with Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels. But since that would make for a dull list, I will only give one spot of the five to that, most excellent of novel series.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Review: Rise of the Werewolf by Mike Tufo

It's been a while since I succumbed to the lure of werewolf stories, mainly because finding good ones is such a challenge. But when I saw a plethora of good reviews for Rise of the Werewolf (Lycan Fallout #1), I had to take a look. The author promised that although the novel stars the same protagonist as his earlier zombie novels, reading them would not be necessary to enjoy this werewolf storyline. To a degree, he was correct.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Honorary Award for My Co-Authored Werewolf Story: Musta Susi

I'm happy to announce that a short story, Musta Susi (Black Wolf), co-authored by me and my wife, Ulla Susimetsä, received an honorary award yesterday evening. Combining our shared love for historical fiction and my passion for werewolf stories (my wife's written a couple of those before this as well, so she's not completely passionless), we wrote a story set in the 1640's, in the pirate-infested waters of the Caribbean and the New World colony of Sweden on the Delaware river.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Often called a cult-classic, [i]An American Werewolf in London[/i] was released in 1981 during a kind of a peak in werewolf films. It was praised for its special effects, which, I'm afraid, haven't really survived the test of time. I've watched it at least twice before and have not been very impressed by it - I've written before that I'm not really into the simple blood-hungry monster angle when it comes to werewolves - but decided to give it another go in order to write this review.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Review: Hakkapeliitat I-III by Artturi Leinonen

Artturi Leinonen's Hakkapeliitat series (originally released as three novels) relates the adventures of a group of (Finnish) cavalry (whom the author refers to as dragoons) serving under the rule of the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus during the 30 Years War. Written in 1932-1934, the storytelling style is old-fashioned: there's no strong overall plot and the story tends to get lost on tangents every now and then. Still, it is a fun read, overall, and deserving of a lot more attention than it has received in the recent years.

Review: The Wedding of Cyrano (D'Artagnan and Cyrano Reconciled, #3) by Paul Féval, fils

In 1928 Paul Féval, fils' wrote a trilogy known as D'Artagnan and Cyrano Reconciled, continuing an earlier series that he wrote with M. Lassez, called The Years Between. The stories are set after Alexandre Dumas' Twenty Years After and show d'Artagnan and some of the rest of the musketeers in various adventures with Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. I've read and reviewed all the other parts of the story and now it is time to tackle the last one: The Wedding of Cyrano. It should be noted that this review will likely spoil some of the events of the earlier parts of the story, but no more than the title of this novel itself already does.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Review: The Laughing Cavalier by Emmuska Orczy

Emmuska Orczy is best known for the The Scarlet Pimpernel novels (and plays and films) that are set in the 18th century Britain and France. However, she wrote two novels depicting an ancestor of her famous hero set in the 1624 Netherlands, the first of which is called The Laughing Cavalier - named after the famous painting by Frans Hals (see the title image) that Orczy claims depicts the hero himself. The hero goes around under the pseudonym of Diogones and is part of a group of three mercenaries who call themselves the Philosophers.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Review: The Escape of the Man in the Iron Mask (D'Artagnan and Cyrano Reconciled, #2) by Paul Féval, fils

Paul Féval, fils' wrote a trilogy known as D'Artagnan and Cyrano Reconciled. The story is set after Alexandre Dumas' Twenty Years After and spans the years between 1649 and 1655. I've previously reviewed the first part of the trilogy and was somewhat annoyed by the uneven plotting. The second part works much better, but takes a serious deviation of the Dumas' original story, introducing a plot with the Man in the Iron Mask much earlier than Dumas did and leading to a vastly different plot, cunningly mixed with actual historical details.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Review: The King's Passport by H. Bedford-Jones

I've previously reviewed H. Bedford-Jones' pastiche of Alexandre Dumas' classic work. Interestingly enough, his other story featuring the classic hero, d'Artagnan, The King's Passport, is not in any way connected with the longer work and is not really a pastiche at all: rather than being set in 1630 and featuring the Dumas version of d'Artagnan (who was born at least a decade before his historical counterpart), the story is set ten years later, in 1640, when d'Artagnan has only recently arrived to Paris and is serving in the Guard.