Sunday, 4 October 2015

Review: The Musketeers Second Season

Last year, I had a few words to say about the first season of the BBC series, The Musketeers, and since I've now seen the second season, I thought that I should say something about it as well. In short, on its second season, the series continues with its free interpretation of history and Dumas' characters. But, given that Dumas himself bastardised history with relatively free hand, this is not something that we can blame the series very much for.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review: The Whole Wide World (1996)

Robert E. Howard was a troubled author and many have heard of how he shot himself soon after his mother died - stopping only to write a final poem on the way to his car and the gun he kept there. Scholars have long tried to understand what kind of a man Howard really was, but one point of view comes from the woman who knew him close to the end of his career. In late 1980's, fifty years after Robert E. Howard's death, Novalyne Price wrote a memoir based on her diary, One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard, The Final Years. Based on this, Michael Scott Myers wrote a screenplay and Dan Ireland directed the film, The Whole Wide World.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Review: Wolfshead by Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard was a prolific writer perhaps best known for his Conan the Cimmerian and Solomon Kane stories, but he wrote a lot of other stories as well, including westerns and horror stories. In the Forest of Villefère and Wolfshead are his two short stories dealing with werewolves, first published in Weird Tales in 1925 and 1926. They were therefore written in a time when werewolf stories were still in their infancy and manage to take a refreshing look at the genre and steer away from the kinds of tropes that more modern stories tend to be riddled with. Although Howard never specifically sets the stories at any particular time period, it can be assumed from the references to rapiers, arquebusiers and slave trade that they are set in the 16th century.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Review: The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Club Dumas was used as the basis of the 1999 Roman Polanski film The Ninth Gate, but the two have very little to do with each other. So little, in fact, that I only became faintly aware that the two might be connected when I was reading the novel - but I only checked and verified the connection after I had finished the book (out of unnecessary fear of spoiling the story). Whereas the film was a slight disappointment to me back in the day, the novel is one of the best I've read in a long time. Perhaps because what it actually is: a treat to all those readers who love the old serial novels, such as Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. And, if you've ever taken a look at this particular blog, you'll know that I'm just such a person.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Review: The Skin Trade by George R. R. Martin

It's been a while since I read something related to werewolves and it occurred to me that it was the high time to do it when I learned that there was such a story by George R. R. Martin that I had not yet read. The Skin Trade is a very long novella that has been published in numerous collections, the latest one being the easiest to find: Dreamsongs, volume II by the author himself. It has also been adapted into a graphic novel by Daniel Abraham and Mike Wolfer. I got my hands on both versions and read them back-to-back in order to really see how the adaptation had succeeded.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Review: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

The long journey is now over. I had planned to save the last part of Alexandre Dumas' d’Artagnan Romances until later in the year, but somehow, after reading the previous part, I decided to finish off the series. The Romances consist of three works: The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. The last of these has been published in several different editions that divide the novel into separate books in different ways. I was reading the Project Gutenberg version, which separates the novel into four parts. You can find the reviews of the first, second and third part here, here and here.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Review: Louise de La Vallière by Alexandre Dumas

I've been slowly reading through Alexandre Dumas' d’Artagnan Romances that consist of three novels: The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. The last of these has been published in several different editions that divide the novel into separate books in different ways. I am reading the Project Gutenberg version, which separates the novel into four parts. You can find the reviews of the first and second parts here and here.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Review: D'Artagnan: A Sequel to The Three Musketeers by H. Bedford-Jones

H. Bedford-Jones' D'Artagnan: A Sequel to The Three Musketeers is a fast-paced adventure set after the events of The Three Musketeers, in the year 1630, when Cardinal Richelieu was fighting for his position against powerful enemies - and eventually solidified his power. The novel features all the familiar musketeers and several new characters in a relatively simple but fun adventure. The author uses the traditional gimmick of the time, claiming that the story is based on Dumas' lost papers, just like Dumas based his story on earlier documents.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Review: Memoirs of a Cavalier by Daniel Defoe

Daniel Dafoe's Memoirs of a Cavalier relates the story of an unnamed cavalier who left England in search of an adventure in the early 17th century and ended up fighting in Gustavus Adolphus' army against the Holy Roman Empire. After the Swedish king's death, he returned to England and took part in the civil war. These two wars form the first and second half of the novel. As it is, this review only concerns the first half of this novel, because that is the part of history that is the focus of my interest.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Video Footage of the New Exhibition at the Olavinlinna Castle

It is not too often that one gets to dress up as a historical figure and star in a movie (even a short one). So, I beg of you to forgive me if I use this chance to express my elation about such an opportunity.

The new Accessible Exhibition has just opened at the Olavinlinna Castle, located in Savonlinna, Finland. Last year, me and my family were invited to take part in the production of the video footage that is a part of this exhibition (read all about it here). Although you will have to travel to Savonlinna to see the entire 10 minute video, the Finnish National Museum has released two trailers of the video that you can enjoy anywhere you may want to.

The first of these is a so-called short trailer and you can spot yours truly at around the 12 second mark, walking down a castle hallway.

The second one is a so-called long trailer, featuring quite a lot of scenes not seen in the short one. You can spot me and my wife and daughter at around the 30 second mark. I'm standing in the background while my wife and daughter are seated at a table, playing a historical board game.