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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

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


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

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


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

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


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

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


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

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


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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



Book Notices | The Fine Art of Invisible Detection by Robert Goddard / Never by Ken Follett

Robert Goddard, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection

  Amazon  

Unassuming, middle-aged Umiko Wada is a detective's assistant tasked with traveling from Japan to England to investigate a decades-old death. The assignment lands her in the middle of a huge conspiracy and other assorted goings-on: murders, kidnappings, missing persons, assumed identities. That all makes it sound more interesting than it is, though. The plot is intricate—that is Robert Goddard's forte, after all—but that's really where it lost me. The story was too complicated, and not clear enough, and not interesting enough. I would have enjoyed this book more if more attention were paid to character development and less to the plot. Wada leaves me luke warm as is, but given attention, I can see myself liking her enough to want to read more.

Ken Follett, Never

  Amazon  

Well, Ken Follett's 800-page novel Never is unlike anything he's published before. Sure, it shares many traits with his earlier books—strong female characters and couples that overcome great hardship to be together, multiple storylines that somehow are never hard to follow. But in most of Follett's stories there are good guys and bad guys, and the line between the two is perfectly clear. The good guys ultimately win. True love prevails. Never tells a different kind of story. There are still some heroes and some unambiguously bad guys, but mostly the characters inhabit a gray middle ground. They're people who are doing the best they can in circumstances they can't control. Follett tells his story from multiple points of view—an American spy undercover in the desert, the President, a Chinese intelligence officer, et al. But there's a lot of information that has to be delivered to move the story forward, and some of Follett's narratives bear more of the weight of delivering that information. They are as a result less fun to read: Give me a romance in the African desert over political machinations in China any day. So, on the one hand, Never is a more serious story than the author's previous books. Really bad things happen in a progression that seems plausible, and the characters living through those bad things are more realistic. All of which is laudable, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. The book was good, but I prefer Follett's usual fare.

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