The silent movie "The Shiek" 1921, starring Rudolf Valentino was based on this novel. I paraphrase from the movie's summary at the Internet Movie Data Base: "Sheik Ahmed (Valentino) desperately desires fiesty British socialite Diana Mayo, so he abducts her and carries her off to his luxurious desert tent-palace. The free-spirited Diana recoils from his passionate embraces and yearns to be released. Only after being kidnapped by desert bandits does Diana realize how much she has grown to love Ahmed, who comes to her rescue in the nick of time." I enjoyed this fast-paced, suspenseful, adventure/love story.
Eric Blackburn is an officer/navigator on a British Cruise Ship with hundreds of passengers and crew on board. The ship sinks during a storm at sea and Eric is the sole survivor. This is an exciting story about his resourcefulness and incredible courage as he encounters and successfully deals with many life-threatening events at sea and on the island he finds and inhabits. Recommended for adult and young readers.
I chose to read this book based on its title, which intrigued me, and appears to come from the famous soliloquy in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1 "...To sleep! perchance to dream:--ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause..." Atherton's theme is based on a ridiculous, unbelievable, interminable struggle with re-encarnation. A young betrothed couple is afflicted with nightmares and flashbacks of their former lives as lovers about four generations past. The depiction of these conflicts and psychic phenomena drones on and on, and ultimately leads to predictable doom for both of them. A colossal waste of reading time unless you can totally suspend your disbelief.
I did not enjoy this book as much as others written by Packard. The plot focuses on the Hawk who completes serving a prison term and immediately resumes his criminal career. He outsmarts police and other thieves by repeatedly intercepting and decoding telegram messages sent by felons via a railroad communications system, thereby grabbing the loot before others arrive on the scene. For me the details about the decoding process (which was repeated very often) was boring and I just didn't understand it. The Hawk's success at everything he did was so predictable - after a while I lost interest in his fate. To Packard's credit, he writes crisp, vivid scenes, fast paced, coupled with exceptional insight into the criminal mind.
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