Category Archives: Books

Doctor Syn Returns

I have just finished the third book in a series of seven about Dr Syn, also known as Captain Klegg, and The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

In this adventure we follow Dr Syn and his loyal sexton “Mipps” as they meet again after their adventures in the Americas, and settle down once again in Dymchurch, a small village on Romney Marsh (an actual place known for smuggling a long time ago).

Dr Syn is taken on as the Dymchurch preacher, but secretly also becomes the leader of the local smugglers. He rides on a fearsome horse named “Gehenna” and wearing the scary costume of a scarecrow strikes fear into the Dragoons (mounted infantry) tasked with stopping the smugglers.

It’s all rollicking good stuff, and has a few twists and turns on the way, with Dr Syn always coming out on top because he is a brilliant man who out-thinks all of his enemies.

A thoroughly good read, and I am going straight on to the next book in the series, Further Adventures of Doctor Syn.

Book count 2017: 4

A Couple o’ Books

In the last day I have finished reading two books that I started reading some time ago, both on my Kindle.

The first, which I actually only started reading a few weeks ago was “Alive and Worldwide” by Edward G. Talbot. I have actually known Ed Parrot and Jason Derrig (they write books under the Edward G. Talbot name) for some years now, and have designed several of their book covers and even their website. Like me they are amateurs, so they pay me by sending me their self-published books and ebooks. Actually, a package arrived from them a couple of weeks ago with this very book in softcover form. Here is the cover:

It is quite fun designing covers, but coming up with ideas can be a bit frustrating when I get book-cover-designer’s block.

The second book which I just finished this morning was “Doctor Syn on the High Seas” by Russell Thorndike, published in 1935. Here is the basic outline from Wikipedia:

It tells the story of how the young clergyman, Christopher Syn, loses his wife to a seducer. He embarks on a quest of vengeance, taking on the identity of the pirate Captain Clegg to hunt them down.

The story is quite simple, and it is swashbuckling stuff. It is very un-PC by today’s standards, and if it was to be made into a film it would be rather gruesome in places (stabbings, limbs being sliced off, shark attacks, etc). But, I like a good pirate story, so I rather enjoyed reading it.

While this book is the second in a series of seven, it is chronologically the first, and thus, it is a kind of origin story. For example we learn how he chose his pirate name, Captain Clegg (named after the Cleg fly, a blood-sucking type of Horse fly).

I read the first some years ago (and saw the film starring the perfectly cast Peter Cushing) which is chronologically the end of the story. I now have the third book ready on my Kindle.

Book count 2017: 3

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man

The first completed book of the year is this rather good one about Leonard Nimoy, written by The Shat.

It starts off with him admitting he had a great friendship with Leonard, but screwed it all up for reasons he does not completely understand. The Shat gets quite emotional about this in the book, it seems he just had no idea what he did wrong, but I think to other people in the know it must be quite obvious.

The rest of the book looks at their lives as they grew up, their early days in acting, then how they became best buds. It of course has lots of juicy bits about the Star Trek TV series, as well as the films.

The Shat can tell quite a good story, with the occasional joke here and there. He obviously thought a lot of Leonard, who really did seem to be a very decent, talented, and jolly nice chap. The Shat admits about himself at times that he is a bit of a buffoon, making him rather likeable too.

A good read overall, but I think I enjoyed Leonard Nimoy’s biography more, I’ll have to read that again sometime.

Book count 2017: 1

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution

I started reading this book a few years ago and didn’t get far. Recently I picked it up again and finished it today.

It is a book written by Neil deGrasse Tyson and another chap about the theory of the origin of the universe, galaxies, our solar system, and life on Earth. This book was also made into a TV series which I would like to see.

It got pretty technical at times, but overall it was an interesting read and had some great explanations of how scientists figured out stuff such as how they find exoplanets (planets around other stars).

Book count 2014: 4

Here is an episode from the TV series:

The Door Into Summer

I am on a bit of a roll at the moment as far as book reading goes.

Another science fiction book this, I have quite a few you see. And a fine story it is by Robert Heinlein. Very well thought out, and quite funny in places. The story involves a brilliant engineer being scammed by his partner and fiance, and the revenge he metes out on them. The science fiction stuff involves suspended animation and time travel.

Another thoroghly enjoyable read.

Book count 2014: 3

The Forever War

This is a science fiction book by Joe Haldeman.

It is about Earth’s war against an alien race called the Taurans, and one soldier’s experience of the war which took him several hundred years to get through due the effects of inter-galactic travel that had the side effect of time travel.

It was very well written and I finished it in under a week because I enjoyed it so much. The author went through the Vietnam war and is said to have based this book on the whole Vietnam war, which is obvious in the book.

Good stuff.

Book count 2014: 2

Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs

I had a hankering to read a book just over a week ago, and while looking through my pile of books to find one by Edward Bunker that I am keen on reading, I chanced apon this book so read it instead.

I have been fascinated with the Sex Pistols for a long time. They were a bunch of complete yobbos, yet changed music forever. Johnny Rotten in particular was someone I wanted to know more about, so I bought this book.

After reading it I understand him a lot more, but he is still a difficult person to figure out. He comes across as quite angry or critical of everyone and everything, yet at the same time seems to be totally honest and sticks to his principals. He also seems to love people, yet will treat someone like dirt if he doesn’t like them. Some of the things he said he did were pretty disgusting…really disgusting. But he also did things like teach kids in a day care centre before he joined the Sex Pistols.

The book was written by him, and had guest writers such as Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Don Letts, and various other people. Some of them didn’t have nice things to say about him, but to his credit he kept them in the book, and agreed with most of them.

Sid Vicious came across as completely clueless, and quite stupid. He was also quite violent at times, but I guess that was true of all of them, and other young people in Britain at the time. The whole Teds vs skins vs punks vs football hooligans at the time was way out of control and very dangerous it seems. Britain was a very different place in the 70’s, I would like to read more about it.

It was a hard book to put down, so I finished it within a week or so which for me is not usual.

Book count 2014: 1

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