In the Name of the Family – Sarah Dunant

In the Name of the Family - Sarah Dunant
In the Name of the Family – Sarah Dunant

Sarah Dunant continues on from Blood & Beauty, following the Borgias as they extend their power over the city states that made up Renaissance Italy.

As Catalan Pope Alexander VI Rodrigo Borgia consolidates his control over the Catholic church, his offspring extend the dynasty’s authority in the secular world – Cesare Borgia by battle, siege and subterfuge, Lucrezia Borgia by marriage and courtly influence in Ferrara.

Observing it all, Niccolò Machiavelli.

Publisher page: In the Name of the Family – Sarah Dunant

Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver

Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver
Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver

This tale of complicated family relationships is set in Grace, Arizona, home to populations of peacocks, Hispanics and Native Americans, which co-exist comfortably in this remote mining town.

Thirty-something Codi returns to Grace to take care of her father, Doc Homer, who’s self-diagnosed the early stages of Alzheimers. Her younger sister Hallie has recently left Tucson to put her agricultural skills to better use in Nicaragua where US-backed Contras are fighting the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan Revolution.

Back “home”, Codi reconnects with her High School world – some of it happy, most of it not. A strong environmental / ecological strand weaves around her rekindled relationship with Loyd Peregrina, a Native American she knew in her teenage years.

As the story progresses, Grace slowly starts to find herself less of the outsider she always felt herself to be.

Author page: Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver

Shadows in Bronze – Lindsey Davis

Shadows in Bronze - Lindsey Davis
Shadows in Bronze – Lindsey Davis

No 2 in the series, and (eventually) Falco heads off to the Bay of Naples for a holiday with best friend Petronius and family, plus his own nephew, Larius. Oh, and an ulterior motive – the ongoing search for the scheming senators who fled Rome after their plot against Emperor Vespasian failed….

Author’s page: Shadows in Bronze – Lindsey Davis

Everest Trek Get Together No 13

No Unlucky No. 13 for us! In fact magically lucky, yet again, on the weather front.

Friday: Lunchtime train to Newport. Rendezvous with Dave, then west to Steffi’s for a stroll in Canaston Woods followed by G&Ts, curries and port…. uh oh. Then on to Newgale and the caravan in the company of Phil and Lesley.

Saturday: A late start, handily missing the rain. The Puffin Shuttle from Newgale to St David’s, then south along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Late lunch at The Cambrian Inn, Solva, then on via The Gribin and Gwadn to Newgale.

On the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, between Solva and Newgale
On the Pembrokeshire Coast Path between Solva and Newgale

A superb sunset over St Bride’s Bay.

Sunset, Newgale beach
Sunset, Newgale beach

Sunday: A stroll on the beach ….

Newgale beach
Newgale beach

…. then LUNCH!

Sunday lunch
Sunday lunch

The Silver Pigs – Lindsey Davis

The Silver Pigs - Lindsey Davis
The Silver Pigs – Lindsey Davis

Having listened to the final Really Like This Book podcast that I had on my phone, and seeing as crime fiction, historical fiction and stuff set in other places generally are all genres I enjoy, I have decided to read Lindsey Davis’ Falco novels from the start – and The Silver Pigs is the first.

Getting hold of The Silver Pigs in itself comprised a mini-quest – requiring a request to retrieve it from Barbican Library stores. As an aside, I appreciate that shelf space is limited, but it is so frustrating that they can’t keep entire series available on the shelves. The same thing afflicts Robin Hobbs’ Farseer novels. But, at least the request/retrieval system is free and efficient.

But back to Imperial Rome.

I didn’t warm to Marcus Didius Falco to begin with but trust in Kate Macdonald glowing recommendation got me over that hump and now I am hooked.

What didn’t I like ? The cocky attitude and the socially superior male gaze. And then I realised it was a mechanism to show Falco’s failings – the swagger hiding the insecurities and loneliness of a single man in his early 30s.

Straight on to Shadows In Bronze!

(Although I am going to take the diversion into The Course of Honour  straight after – Barbican Stores permitting.)

Author’s page: The Silver Pigs – Lindsey Davis