It was a time of great uncertainty and upheaval in America. A time of grand, expansive plans as a small part of the population enjoyed untold prosperity. It was also when the ability to survive yet another day was a small plodding measure of success. One man pierced the veil of darkness attempting to bring a modicum of hope and light to the beleaguered inhabitants of his city. He is vengeance. He is the night. He knows where to find you and what you fear. He is... the Ghost of Manhattan. Hold on for just a minute. Is it just me, or does that not sound amazingly familiar to anyone that has read a comic book in the last seventy-five years or seen a movie this millennium?
I spent a good portion of the beginning of my professional career doing business management, accounting, and finance. And yes, I can hear some of you already saying, “Well that explains a lot about why his writing style is so boring.” Ha, ha. I mention all this, not to imply I’m some sort of financial genius. Far from it. Rather, it’s to demonstrate that I have more than a passing interest in the financial system and might have a slightly better understanding of economics than the average consumer may. Which, I hope, will give you some insight when I review this book and I tell you, it’s a very difficult read.
Looking out from the direction of the star, out away from what little warmth and light there is, the faint band of the galaxy arches across the endless black. Deep in the endless black, out beyond the safety of the stellar winds lies the possibility of more. The possibility of other stars, other planets, other.
Most of us attempt to attain a certain level of skill. This seems like an incredibly simple and obvious statement to make. We would much rather be good at something than to fail at it completely. For most of the world a basic level of competency is expected. The Night-Comers is the eighth novel I’ve read by Eric Ambler. Over the course of these 8 books there has been a subtle development of the main characters. The protagonist becomes competent.
When I was deployed to Iraq I had a very clever Lieutenant Colonel for whom I worked. She was rather fond of repeating to the soldiers a particular phrase. “Words mean things.”
When authors or creators of long running franchises either run out of things to say or do with their properties there are a couple of courses of action they can take. The Reverse of the Medal is the eleventh book in the Aubrey Maturin saga. Just over half-way through the complete canon of twenty one books. Has the HMS Surprise finally jumped the shark with The Reverse of the Medal?
Since its discovery by Western scholars The Art of War by Sun Tzu has influenced and shaped military education, strategy, and tactics. Its impact has reached beyond military applications to affect business and social life as well. However, it seems that some of the basic tenets of the book and the lessons it teaches need are seldom accurately remembered and need to be constantly relearned by western leadership. It would serve them well to remember the words of Sun Tzu.
A recent trip got me thinking about some of the similarities and differences we native English speaking cousins have. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, ‘It’s not just Britain and America divided by a common language.’
It takes a special sort of author to open their book with one of the main characters dead. It takes a really good author to have their books main protagonist be a jaded opium addict. It takes an exceptional author to do both. The Quiet American is a parable, asking us to make sure we don’t fight just for our own ends but to truly question the world around us and make sure we make the correct hard choices.
November marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. Living in the United Kingdom, as I do at the moment, this is a significant event. The Spy Net by Henry Landau, would seem to help fill the gap. One would expect to find the stories of daring patriots risking life and limb to provide information to the Triple Entente to stop the plans of the vile Huns.