About Me

My photo
All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ramblings across readings of renown

So I've just reread Veil of Lies (thank you local library) by Jeri Westerson as a prelude to reading her latest novelThe Demon's Parchment. This has been burning a hole in my Kindle pocket since I bought it before Christmas - as a re a couple of titles. Now to reread Serpent in the Thorns and then start on my Westerson's latest title! Yay!

Oh! I did divert by way of Robin McKinley's new title Pegasus, and then of course had to reread The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown.

And somewhere in between all that I reread Georgette Heyer's, Devil's Cub (I cut my reading teeth on Georgette Heyer, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Mills & Boon, Barbara Cartland and my mother's True Romance comics, or rather in today speak, 'graphic' novels')

Oops! I did digress to Never After that contains 4 short stories by Lauell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu and Sharon Shinn. I had this title on hold at the library as I can't afford to be buying books for my kindle as much as I want to-although I am tempted to 1-click all over the place.

Yes, as a child I lived opposite a library. Wow! Was that ever a major happen stance that pointed me towards a lifelong love dedication for the worlds and realms that could be discovered, entered into, even fled to, as I grew up. That love of reading, couple with the fact that my Great Aunt was the Teacher Librarian (one of the first such in the State of Victoria, Australia) probably led me towards my career as a Teacher Librarian and various off shoots from that profession.

But I haven't mentioned that my great love for the past 40 years has been Science Fiction & Fantasy. Ever since a college assignment during my librarianship training, which was to compile a bibliography for primary (elementary) and secondary school students on a subject of our choice.
I chose Science Fiction & Fantasy and used Space Age Books - early 70's, in Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia (of Lee Harding fame) to source my list - not much available in the Primary area then-but I met (on paper) Robert A. Heinlein & Andre Norton.
After that I followed women writers in this area ('cause it was the days of Women's Electoral Lobby--WEL, Germaine Greer etc.) like Ursula LeGuin, Vonda N. McIntyre, C.J. Cherryh, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Sherri Tepper, Elizabeth Moon, Janny Wurts, Tanya Huff, Mercedes Lackey and Lois McMaster Bujold. Mind you I have my favorite titles from these authors. For example, I do love Raymond Feist & Janny Wurts', Empire Trilogy.
Women striding out in a male dominated domain. Yes, when I close my eyes I am 6 feet tall, athletic and able to bound across mountain tops in a single stride. In reality I am 5'2" and tending towards a well rounded figure that takes small steps due to ice and snow found in the North American landscape.

Really as a fairly eclectic reader I am open to many genres.

Although I must say that my discovery of Steven Erikson a few years ago when I was working as a buyer for a major wholesale book company was another of those heart stopping moments. What a writer! I felt like I was embarking on an epic journey of Iliad & Odyssey proportions when I fell into his Garden of the Moons (paperback) and the Malazan Empire. The breadth, richness and complexity of this world he has birthed is truly amazing. Mind you, I took one look at his background in archaeology and anthropology, coupled with years in the UK and went Ah Ha!! ...coupled with his enormous vision and talent! Wow!
I have lately purchased the Kindle edition of Moons (it was on sale) and have been following the discussion at tor.com ... and now they have started a reread of Memories of Ice! Yikes!

Meanwhile, back at Jeri Westerson and Crispin Guest....The Tracker. I do love Crispin's soliloquies as he back and forths between now being one of the common people and in his heart of hearts holding to the fact that he is a Knight. Albeit a knight stripped of title, lands, and betrothed due to treason. He ill advisedly joined a movement to place his mentor and Lord, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, on the throne rather than the boy king Richard, in 14th Century England.
Now he frequents thieves dens and dubious ale houses in the underbelly of a truly dank and dreadful London, with his trusty but unwanted servant boy Jack who sticks to Crispin like a burr. Here he barely makes a living, pitting his wit and knife (no sword now) in such endeavors that may earn a very minimal living as 'The Tracker'-- investigator for hire.
Westerson likens Crispin Guest and her Medieval Noir to the Sam Spade of medieval London at ' a period rife with intrigue, codes of honor, mysterious doings and dim, shadowy light.' (Veil of Lies- Afterwards)
... and Crispin does have that hard boiled honourable edge, coating the occasional softness inside. In this chapter of his life he is hired to track the wherefores of a young wife (Philippa Walcote), has to solve two murders, gets caught up in courtly and international intrigue, physically beaten by the Sheriff at almost every encounter, pursued by foreign thugs (of the Mafia disposition) with a Saracen thrown in for good measure, and falls in love, all the while tracking an obscure, mystical and dangerous religious artifact. The Mandyllon, the face cloth of Christ that in Westerson's fiction forces those in it's presence to only ever tell the truth, to reveal their 'true image' their 'true self.'
A fascinating and fulfilling contribution to the Medieval Mystery genre. I am looking forward to my reread of Serpent in the Thorns.

No comments:

Post a Comment