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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Downs, Tim: Plague Maker | Main | Miller, Adrienne: The Coast of Akron »

Laurie, Hugh: The Gun Seller

  

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Washington Square Press © 1996, 340 pages [amazon]
4 stars 

Thomas Lang may have the background for it--he's ex-military and peculiarly adept at hand-to-hand combat--but he's just too nice a guy to kill for money. Lang is in fact so good a citizen that, offered just such a job, he not only declines but endeavors to warn his would-be victim that there's a price on his head. This doesn't quite go according to plan. Unfortunately for Lang, nothing is as straightforward as it appears in this book. His initial job interview, as it were--an ostensibly simple offer of work delivered in an Amsterdam bar--winds up landing Lang in jail, in love, and in the thick of a terrorist group bent on, among other things, taking over an American consulate building in Casablanca.

Thomas Lang may have the background for it--he's ex-military and peculiarly adept at hand-to-hand combat--but he's just too nice a guy to kill for money.The plot of Hugh Laurie's The Gun Seller is complex and can be hard to follow, in large part because Laurie leaves readers in the dark much of the time as to what Lang is up to. Having just finished it, with the book as fresh in my mind as it's going to get,  I'd be hard-pressed to summarize the various machinations of the various principals. But you won't really be reading Laurie's send-up of spy novels for the plot so much as for the author's drollery: the man wields the English language very deftly indeed. Not laugh-out-loud funny, particularly in the last third of the book when the story becomes more serious (arms dealers are bad and people sometimes inconstant), but witty and playful. There's something to appreciate in virtually every sentence of the book, starting with the first: "Imagine that you have to break someone's arm."

It's impossible not to imagine the author himself in the lead role, should The Gun Seller ever be translated to screen, delivering Lang's lines with the same gruff sang-froid that characterizes his stubbled, sarcastic, oh-so-intelligent House (Bob Hoskins being my pick for Lang's "short and cheerful" friend David Solomon). Reader's who enjoy Laurie's Housian sarcasm and anyone who likes a bit of verbal play in their diet should give The Gun Seller a read. 

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Comments

1.

For some reason I can't get into House. Perhaps because I can only think of Hugh Laurie like this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/blackadder/gallery/wallpaper_nincompoop.shtml

In any case, this sounds like a good read so I am going to put it on my reading list. Thanks for the review!

2.

I see.... I didn't have that sort of image to get out of my head, but I did have to work to erase any stray Stuart Little thoughts.




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.