Dark Fire

bookshelves: historical-fiction, re-visit-2014, radio-4, summer-2014, tudor, mystery-thriller

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from May 04, 2008 to September 05, 2014

 

1ST ENCOUNTER – PAPER READ: Not quite as good as the first Matthew Shardlake story, nevertheless a good tale with full attention paid to historical detail.

2ND ENCOUNTER – BBC radio dramatisation:

R4 in ten episodes HUZZAH!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04f9frh

BBC description: Gripping dramatisation of C. J. Sansom’s atmospheric Tudor crime novel set during the last days of Thomas Cromwell.

London, 1540, hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake has lived quietly in the three years since he was asked by Cromwell to investigate a murder at Scarnsea monastery on England’s south coast (a story told in “Dissolution”). But his quiet life is soon forgotten as he rushes to solve two very different but urgent mysteries: save the life of a young girl accused of a terrible murder; and, discover who has stolen the last precious batch of Greek Fire, a mythical weapon of mass destruction.

Accompanied by Cromwell’s man – the young and impetuous Barak – Shardlake desperately searches for clues against the backdrop of a hot and stinking London summer.

A fast and furious crime drama, “Dark Fire” features ethical dilemmas, intriguing characters and a luminous historical setting. Starring Justin Salinger as Shardlake, Bryan Dick as Barak and Robert Glenister as Thomas Cromwell.

Written by C. J. Sansom
Dramatised by Colin MacDonald
Produced and directed by Kirsteen Cameron

1/10 Dramatisation of CJ Sansom’s Tudor crime novel, featuring lawyer detective hero Shardlake

2/10 Thomas Cromwell summons Shardlake, and engages him to undertake a deadly secret mission.

3/10 The search for the stolen Greek Fire intensifies as Shardlake questions the key suspects.

4/10 Shardlake and Barak’s investigation leads them to the ruins of St Bartholew’s monastery.

5/10 Shardlake focuses on helping Elizabeth Wentworth, accused of murdering her young cousin.

6/10 Whoever is behind the Greek Fire theft will do anything to keep it from the Earl of Essex.

7/10 With Shardlake’s lack of progress, Cromwell reveals that he fears losing the King’s favour

8/10 Trapped inside the burning house, Shardlake witnesses the destructive power of Greek Fire.

9/10 Shardlake and Barak finally discover who lies behind the plot to bring down Cromwell.

10/10 Held at knifepoint, can Shardlake and Barak escape to warn the Earl about the plot?

Of course it was lovely to revisit via radio but I have to say, there ain’t nothing better than curling up with this series in its full paper glory. The Shardlake books are my favourite hist-fic, hands down.

5* Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)
4* Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2)
5* Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)
5* Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
4* Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
TR Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)

3* Dominion
5* Winter in Madrid
3* The Lost Prophecies (The Medieval Murderers, #4)

Pierre and Jean by Guy de Maupassant

bookshelves: spring-2013, tbr-busting-2013, translation, e-book, gutenberg-project, france, published-1887, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, families, filthy-lucre, re-visit-2014, re-read, summer-2014

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from March 06, 2013 to August 11, 2014, read count: 2

 

Revisit via BBC BABT

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ccdql

Description: Guy de Maupassant’s compelling short novel, abridged in 4 parts by Penny Leicester, follows family rivalries in the seaport of Le Havre.

1/4. On a fishing trip all is happy with the Roland clan. Then returning home, a revelation..

2/4 The Marechal Will causes ructions between the brothers, then a second revelation surfaces.

3/4 Jean is happy of course, but Pierre burns with rage. So a confrontation is due.

4/4 The two brothers must take action to avoid a family showdown.

Reader Carl Prekopp
Producer Duncan Minshull.

Nutty NUUT read

Translator: Clara Bell

Opening: “Tschah!” exclaimed old Roland suddenly, after he had remained motionless for a quarter of an hour, his eyes fixed on the water, while now and again he very slightly lifted his line sunk in the sea.

Mme. Roland, dozing in the stern by the side of Mme. Rosemilly, who had been invited to join the fishing-party, woke up, and turning her head to look at her husband, said:

“Well, well! Gerome.”

And the old fellow replied in a fury:

“They do not bite at all. I have taken nothing since noon. Only men should ever go fishing. Women always delay the start till it is too late.”

From wiki: It appeared in three instalments in the Nouvelle Revue and then in volume form in 1888, together with the essay “Le Roman” [“The Novel”]. Pierre et Jean is a realist work, notably so by the subjects on which it treats, including knowledge of one’s heredity (whether one is a legitimate son or a bastard), the bourgeoisie, and the problems stemming from money.

Powerful story for it being so short.

#65 TBR Busting 2013

The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott

bookshelves: summer-2014, classic, re-visit-2014, play-dramatisation, published-1819, under-1000-ratings, fradio, gothic, radio-4, britain-scotland, ghosties-ghoulies

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from January 01, 1976 to June 30, 2014, read count: 2


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047wb66

Less sprawling than most of Scott’s novels, “lean and tragic” (E. M. Forster), but still boasting his characteristic humor and wisdom, The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) brings to vivid life a historical incident from his own family lore and from Scotland’s turbulent past.

Description: Mike Harris adapts Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor.

The novel is set in the Lammermuir Hills of south-east Scotland at the beginning of the 18th Century and tells of a tragic love affair between young Lucy Ashton and her family’s enemy Edgar Ravenswood.

The Ashtons and Ravenswoods have been enemies for centuries – but will a proposed union between the warring families finally bring peace?

Music Composed and performed by Ross Hughes and Esben Tjalve
Violin and viola – Oliver Langford
Written by Mike Harris
Produced and Directed by Clive Brill
A Brill production for BBC Radio 4.

  'BLOOD WILL FLOW'

Deep cut water course on the eastern side of the Lammermuir Hills. The area is managed as the East Lammermuir Deans nature reserve.

Having read the greater part of Scott’s works whilst a young girl at the duty visits to Great Granny in Corstorphine, this BBC offers me a chance to wallow in sentimental reminiscing.

This fiscal Romeo and Juliet tale is only really enjoyable if one knows the impact of the Darien scheme on future generations.

The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol

Classic Serial

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00fvg6c

Episode 1/2: A VIP visitor to a village is soon the target of love and gossip. Stars Julian Rhind-Tutt, Trevor Peacock and Bill Wallis.

Episode 2/2: The ‘Inspector’ becomes plied with cash and love. Satire of civic corruption in 19th-century Russia.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky played the postmaster Shpekin in a charity performance in April 1860

Crime and Punishment

bookshelves: teh-brillianz, slavic, absolute-favourites, re-visit-2014, re-read, re-visit-2013, spring-2014

Read from January 01, 1978 to May 17, 2014, read count: ad infinitum

 

Description: Raskolnikov, a former student who is morbidly self-obsessed, murders an old woman money-lender with a borrowed hatchet in a desperate attempt to free himself from poverty. From the opening pages Dostoyevsky attaches us unflinchingly to his intense and mysteriously anti-hero, creating a web of intimacy and tension which is increasingly claustrophobic. Crime and guilt – its traumatic and inevitable successor – are the central themes running through the novel and the notions of ‘justifiable’ murder and the worldly retribution are depicted with a deft and razor-sharp precision.

Crime and Punishment both haunts and disturbs, yet, as the critic John Jones wrote, it is ‘the most accessible and exciting novel in the world’.

Many reads, and the Kingsley film is a perennial in our house. Now Brazilliant gives me the link to a 2002 BBC version

I’m in raptures… let’s see how this pans out.

The massive dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral is made of 100 kilos of pure gold. Designed and built by French architect Auguste de Montferrand.

Great men are not aftraid to be criminals. Does Putin see himself as a great man?

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

bookshelves: fraudio, winter-20122013, philosophy, china, spring-2014, re-visit-2014, re-read, e-book, essays

Read from February 07, 2013 to May 08, 2014

 

 photo short-stories1_zps8b6f4480.jpghttp://youtu.be/ksVgOSJ_Kv0

Opening:
”You see, Pooh,” I said, ”a lot of people don’t seem
to know what Taoism is … “
”Yes?” said Pooh, blinking his eyes.
“So that’s what this chapter is for-to explain
things a bit.”
”Oh, I see,” said Pooh.
“And the easiest way to do that would be for
us to go to China for a moment.”
“What?” said Pooh, his eyes wide open in
amazement. “Right now?”
“Of course. All we need to do is lean back,
relax, and there we are.”
“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.

Page 39:

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie …

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fish can ‘t whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie …

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken, I don ‘t know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie …

Short and sweet like Pooh himself, however there is an undercurrent that I quite dislike. If one was to take this literally and follow the indicators, learning and action would be seen as irrelevant if not downright bad. Helpful doctrine if one lives in a repressed society where outward signs of the personality are discouraged and the hive community applauded. I would be more inclined to point youngsters toward the existential questions that arise in ANTZ (1998)

Fatherland by Robert Harris

bookshelves: alternative-history, mystery-thriller, published-1992, spring-2014, re-visit-2014, re-read, wwii, nazi-related

Read from May 07, 2006 to May 07, 2014

 

BBC DescriptionA chilling adaptation of Robert Harris’s best-selling novel set in an imaginary Hitler-led post-war Germany. Nazi Germany has won the war. Churchill is living in exile. King Edward and Queen Wallis are puppet monarchs of the UK. It is 1964, a week before Hitler’s 75th birthday…

Adapted and directed by John Dryden.

Anton Lesser
Angeline Ball
Peter Ellis
Stratford Johns
Andrew Sachs
Graham Padden

Now for the film, 1994 TV film starring RUTGER HAUER (swoon) as SS-Sturmbannführer Xavier March and Miranda Richardson as
Charlie Maguire.

Excellent.

4* Fatherland
3* Pompeii
3* Imperium
2* The Ghost
4* Lustrum
3* Selling Hitler

The Magus by John Fowles

published-1965, spring-2014, film-only, re-visit-2014, greece, mythology, nazi-related, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, play-dramatisation, wwii

Read from January 01, 1973 to May 07, 2014

 

Stars: Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, Candice Bergen

Description: An English teacher arrives on a sleepy Greek island to take up a vacant teaching post. The last man to hold the post committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. Slowly but surely, he is drawn into a bizarre game engineered by a reclusive local magician. The deeper into the game he is drawn, the more he senses danger… yet cannot seem to untangle himself from the fascinating and compelling influence that the game is having on his mind.

Quite ironic – this is the film of the book about the film of the meta-play of a real event.

Quinn was fantastic in this, and I cannot but help remembering when he was a young lad who turned up at one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s workshops and was advised to have a small operation on his mouth…

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, paper-read, hardback, midlife-crisis, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, norway, spring-2013, bellybutton-mining, re-visit-2014, re-read, published-1996, spring-2014, under-500-ratings, oslo, trondheim, newtome-author, feckless-procrastination, food-glorious-food, lit-crit, politics, philosophy

Read from April 26, 2013 to May 06, 2014


First time around I abandoned this but I have been persuaded to give it another try: REBOOT 2014:

Description: An existential murder story. A master of Norwegian literature critiques contemporary society with wry wit.

It is Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street.

Professor Andersen fails to report the crime. The days pass, and he becomes paralysed by indecision. Desperate for respite, the professor sets off to a local sushi bar, only to find himself face to face with the murderer.

Professor Andersen’s Night is an unsettling yet highly entertaining novel of apathy, rebellion and morality. In flinty prose, Solstad presents an uncomfortable question: would we, like his cerebral protagonist, do nothing?

Discarded from Tower Hamlets Libraries
Translation by Agnes Scott Langeland

Opening: It was Christmas Eve and Professor Andersen had a Christmas tree in the living room. He stared at it. ‘Well, I must say,’ he thought.

Trondheim Cathedral

A wooly, waffley story of three parts: politics and dinner; dither and literary criticism; then sushi with philosophy for dessert.

At least I made it to the end this time, however I do feel that Solstad is not the writer for me.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

    Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan
    Sean Harris as Joss Merlyn
    Shirley Henderson as Hannah Davey
    Joanne Whalley as Patience Merlyn
    Matthew McNulty as Jem Merlyn
    Ben Daniels as Francis Davey
    Andrew Scarborough as Magistrate Bassat
    Danny Miller as William
    Scarlett Archer as Beth

Production details: Filming began in September 2013 in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria. It was originally decided that the series would be filmed in Northern Ireland. The BBC was criticised for filming in Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria, as opposed to a location in Cornwall. An investment from Screen Yorkshire was provided for the series. The three-part series was commissioned by Ben Stephenson and Danny Cohen, both from the BBC.

Episode 1: (the mumbling one) Orphaned Mary Yellan travels to the remote Jamaica Inn to live with her Aunt Patience and brutal Uncle Joss. Isolated and alone, Mary must learn to navigate the perils of the smugglers’ world and her dangerous desire for Jem Merlyn.

Episode 2:

BBC receives over 100 complaints for episode one

The story itself remains a 3.75* read, however this TV miniseries is atrocious and I could not possibly recommend it.