Reviews by Dai Alanye

Luttrell Of Arran

by Charles James Lever

A remarkable book all Irish men and women should read. And other folks, as well.

It has all the faults of mid-nineteenth century fiction—dependence on coincidence, melodrama, speeches never spoken by living beings before the advent of the teleprompter, and some characters too fine to exist anywhere but in Heaven. In addition it goes on forever.

Yet Lever is so fine a storyteller that I was eager to pick it up again after each errand that required it to be set aside. Although I guessed the outcomes of plot and major subplot quite early on, the plotting is sufficiently intricate that I was continually eager to see how the author would manage to work things out.

Leaves a few strands unfinished and a few villains unpunished. Further, I'm uncertain if I want to read any others by Lever, since I doubt he can top this.

Reviewed on 2015.01.13

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo

by J.H. Patterson

Wow! I'll never look upon lions the same way again.

For a reader with empathy this can be a frightening story, since both the hunters and the railroad workers are continually in peril from these persistent beasts. Best read by daylight. When I head for southern Africa I'll want to be armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle and be wearing body armor.

After spending an excessive time polishing off the lions the author builds his railroad and takes trophies by the score.

Reviewed on 2015.01.13

Island Nights' Entertainments

by Robert Louis Stevenson

I doubt whether Stevenson ever wrote badly, though some of his stories fail the test of involving one's feelings. Prince Otto, Will O the Mill and Catriona, for example, rarely set the reader's emotions boiling.

These tales of Polynesia, though not conventionally thrilling, are well worth the reading—especially A South Sea Bridal.

Reviewed on 2014.12.31

Into the Jaws of Death

by Jack O'Brien

I cannot tell whether this story is fact, propaganda, or some combination thereof. The narrator's attitude seems far too jolly, and his treatment as a WW I German POW is more cruel than any other I've come across.

Interesting sketches of trench warfare on the lowest level.

Reviewed on 2014.12.31

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