Author Archives

  • Microreview 29: Les Lames du Cardinal

    Semi-draconic creature by Loïc Muzy, for the Lames du Cardinal RPG.

    Pevel, Pierre. Les Lames du Cardinal. 3 vols (Les Lames du Cardinal, L’Alchimiste des Ombres, Le Dragon des Arcanes). Paris, Bragelonne, 2007-2010. ISBN 978-2352944904. Where French fantasy differs from American. 17th Century uchronia, brilliantly renewing the Dumas musketeer universe. Admirably detailed & accurate… Read More ›

  • Microreview 28: The English Prize

    Francis Basset (1757-1835), later 1st Baron de Dunstanville & Basset. Painted 1778 in Rome during the subject's Grand Tour, by Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787). Among the many art works captured from the Westmorland, & held today at the Prado Museum, Madrid. (Photo credit public domain/Wikimedia Commons.)

    Sánchez-Jáuregui, María Dolores, & Scott Wilcox. The English Prize: The Capture of the Westmorland, an Episode of the Grand Tour. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. ISBN 978-0300176056. The 1779 capture of a British vessel laden with exquisite works from Rome &… Read More ›

  • Microreview 27: First Law Trilogy

    Abercrombie, Joe. The First Law. 3 vols (The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings). London: Gollancz, 2006-2008. ISBN 978-1473213708. Great character-driven British fantasy, styled in raw, abrasive realism. The universe too, somewhat less developed than the uniquely strong… Read More ›

  • The Mysterious Continued Radiance of One Tiny Prince

    In a world dominated by American, or at least Anglo-American, popular culture, successful exceptions are encouraging. Especially if they’re healthy exceptions too. A surprising such counter-instance to cultural Americanization is Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic Le Petit Prince. Far better literary analysts… Read More ›

  • MicroReview 26: Strange & Norrell

    Clarke, Susanna: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. London: Bloomsbury, 2004. ISBN 978-0747579885. Vast in scope & admirably written, this book rejuvenated European speculative fiction. 2 rival magicians battle Napoleon & each other in a cruelly exquisite mock-Austen Regency England. I give *****/5…. Read More ›

  • MicroReview 25: France Awoke

    Trémolet de Villers, Vincent, & Raphaël Stainville. Et la France se réveilla: Enquête sur la révolution des valeurs. Paris: Toucan, 2013. ISBN 978-2810005642. Spectacular account of France’s recent traditionalist insurrection, all but ignored by the world, but which has quite destabilized, almost incapacitated, the sitting… Read More ›

  • MicroReview 24: Lord Jim

    Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002, 2008 (1900). ISBN 978-0199536023. The epitome of colonial & maritime literature. Dishonoured by cowardice at sea, Jim lands in an obscure micro-state, momentarily lifting a tribe from misery until his demons catch… Read More ›

  • The Other Face of Voltaire: Man of Property & Industry

    The benevolent patriarch's château at Ferney. (Photo credit K Kasparek.)

    The much celebrated Voltaire (1694-1778) is illustrious today for a single, superlative book: Candide. Yet not only did he spawn some 2 000 now rather neglected stories, plays, essays, & poems, all while schmoozing his endless roll of powerful friends with over 20 000 letters. He enjoyed a rare & impressive second chance at life, indeed almost a second… Read More ›

  • MicroReview 23: Krupp

    Krupp works, Essen, Ruhr, at the height of the post-war Wirtschaftswunder - Germany's "economic miracle". Adapted by NPQM according to license, from German Federal Archive 1961 photo.

    Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm. Princeton NJ: Princeton UP, 2012. ISBN 978-0691153407. Vastly informative, if over-loyal, history of the central corporate player during Germany’s umatched industrial metamorphosis, from late 18th Century to modern, space-ready days. I give ****/5. * (Webfront illustration caption… Read More ›

  • MicroReview 22: Industrial Enlightenment

    Jones, Peter M. Industrial Enlightenment: Science, Technology, & Culture in Birmingham & the West Midlands 1760-1820. Manchester, UK: Manchester UP, 2013 (2008). ISBN 978-0719089121. Outstanding academic analysis & survey of the lush intellectual environment around key Industrial Revolution pioneers during the late… Read More ›

  • Not Rocket Science: How to Straighten Europe’s Fractured Spine

    The spinal column of post-war Europe is an alliance of interests between its 2 principal former enemies, France & Germany. Yet this seemingly indestructible bond, older than the European Union (EU) or its precursors, is now under tension. Not so much for what’s out in the open – the relations between the… Read More ›

  • MicroReview 21: Tutankhamun’s Armies

    The boy king Tutankhamun's diadem or "crown”, duly adorned with the vulture & Uraeus (cobra). The pharaohs preceding (Amunhotep III & Akhenaten) & succeeding (Horemhab) span over a golden age, which fed the ground for a Ramesses II, swaying much of the Mediterranean & ultimately our own civilization. (Photo credit Egyptian Museum, Cairo.)

    Darnell, John Coleman, & Colleen Manassa. Tutankhamun’s Armies: Battle & Conquest during Ancient Egypt’s Late 18th Dynasty. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2007. ISBN 978-0471743583. Illuminates one of the most golden Egyptian ages – the New Kingdom – in all its aspects, including relations with the rest… Read More ›