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Books by the Blogger:

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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paperback | hardcover (UK)

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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paperback | hardcover (UK)

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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Authors & publishers:
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:

  

« Huler, Scott: No-Man's Land | Main | Buzzelli, Elizabeth Kane: Dead Dancing Women »

Bosch, Pseudonymous: The Name of This Book is Secret

  

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Little, Brown © 2007, 360 pages
4.5 stars

In his debut novel "Pseudonymous Bosch" tells a story wrapped in an enigma: not only is the name of the book a secret, as its very name asserts, but so are the names of his characters and other identifiers such as their location and hair color. But because he's got a story to tell and has to call them something, Bosch gives his characters pseudonyms. "Cassandra," or Cass, is an 11-year-old survivalist. She carries a backpack filled with supplies with her at all times and tends to imagine disasters around every corner. Because these never materialize, the people around her mostly dismiss her concerns--hence her similarity to her namesake, the Greek Cassandra, who was given the power of prophecy with the catch that no one would believe her. Cass's classmate "Max-Ernest"--whose dual name reflects his parents' divided opinions and lifestyle--is unusually talkative and has some kind of condition that has yet to be identified. Cass and Max-Ernest bond because they're both more accepting than most of one another's peculiarities. And soon they fall into a mystery. A secret message from a magician, presumed dead, leads them into peril--specifically, the evil, glove-wearing clutches of a pair of too-perfect-looking malefactors, the enigmatic Dr. L. And Ms. Mauvais.

[INSET TEXT: A secret message from a magician, presumed dead, leads them into peril--specifically, the evil, glove-wearing clutches of a pair of too-perfect-looking malefactors, the enigmatic Dr. L. And Ms. Mauvais.] To an extent Bosch's book is reminiscent of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. Here too a pseudonymous author is telling the story of his young protagonists' brush with evil. He suggests readers not read the book. There is a secret organization of do-gooders involved, and the plot is even punctuated by suspicious fires. The narrator alludes to dangers he himself is facing, and he interrupts the narrative with amusing comments addressed to the reader. But Bosch is not as linguistically playful as Snicket, and a larger percentage of his text is pure story, I'd say, than one gets in the Snicket corpus.

I liked most of this book a lot. The protagonists are likable, not improbably smart but clever enough. The mystery held my interest. And the villains are deliciously creepy without wearing their evil on their sleeves. I was disappointed, however, in the ending, an important detail of which, involving a coded communication, seemed implausible. The ending also, frustratingly, left a lot unanswered, presumably in preparation for a sequel, though there is no indication on the book's jacket that this is the first in a series.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments

1.

This reminds me that one of these days I want to read a Snicket book!

2.

Oh, you definitely should. The ending of the series was disappointing, but it was a good ride while it lasted.

3.

yay! im doing a book report on this! but since the author is kind of still un known *as in not popular* its kind of tough!

4.

Good luck with it. He's also got a second one out now, but I haven't read it yet.




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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.