I was at Borders a few nights ago and I picked up 'Warhammer 40,000: The Killing Ground', 'The Art of Clint Langley: Dark Visions from the grim Worlds of Warhammer', 'The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road: 1567-1659' by Geoffrey Parker, 'Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain's Asian Empire' by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper and 'The grand Strategy of Philip II' by Geoffrey Parker.

I finished 'The Lover' by Marguerite Duras a few days back. I have just started on 'Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen 1618-1635'. I am also in the midst of a few other books including 'God is not great: How religion poisons the world' by Christopher Hitchens.

What you are guys reading?

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Read: "You're Next" by Gregg Hurwitz. A mystery/suspense novel about a man abandoned as a child on a playground at 4 years old. Now as a adult he is living the good life, maybe. Menacing people show up who threaten him and after contacting the police, he is left confused because the police seem more interested in his mysterious past than helping him in the here and now. He turns to a old friend, who he grew up with in foster care, who is very very dangerous. Together they set out to do whatever it takes to solve the mystery. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Girl on The Bridge" by James Hayman. A mystery novel about a woman who commits suicide by jumping off a bridge on a cold December night. She had been gang raped 12 years before by a college football team. No one was ever prosecuted. Now a month after the woman's suicide, members of this former football team start to die in bloody painful ways. The police investigate these killings but there may be more that simple revenge going on. Very Good and Recommended.

"King Hammurabi of Babylon: A Biography" by Marc Van De Mieroop. The title says it all. Covers King Hammurabi and his times as best as can be because of sparseness of the sources. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Xerxes: A Persian Life" by Richard Stoneman. A bio of the "invader" of Ancient Greece and the loser of this enterprise. But there was more to this Persian king than this story tells. The author does a good job in presenting Xerxes from the Persian perspective and filling out his life story. Very Good and Recommended.

"Darius: In the Shadow of Alexander" by Pierre Briant. The author's objective is to explain why Darius, last Great King of Persia, is condemned to haunt the realm of historical oblivion. So, this is not a bio of Darius technically, but an attempt to reconstruct Darius based on the Greco-Roman, Persian, and Arabo-Persian traditions. There are no actual personal sources on Darius but these "tales" mostly negative that describe Darius from their "cultural perspectives". Everything is about Alexander, so Darius's life story is "in Alexander's Shadow". In a way Darius has the last laugh, for after his fall, Alexander is described by historians "as becoming more like his opponent: a Darius-like sybarite prone to unmanly excess." The book is "long winded" and just so-so.

Read: "Maximinus Thrax: From Common Soldier to Emperor of Rome" by Paul N. Pearson. A bio on this Roman Emperor who reigned 235-238AD. He was, maybe, half barbarian who began his military career as a common soldier, then rose through the ranks to General and then Emperor by a coup. He was supposedly about 7 feet tall. This book covers his story in as much detail as the sources allow. GMT's new game "Time of Crisis" starts in 235AD, therefore must start with this emperor. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Campaigns of Sargon II, King of Assyria, 721-705BC" by Sarah C. Melville. This book is part of the Campaigns and Commander Series. This is a military bio of Sargon II. Covers the logistics, religious, weapons, and battles of the Assyrians during this time frame. Sargon would be killed in battle in what is southern Turkey today. He was an excellent military leader. Very Good and Recommended.

"Everything She Forgot" by Lisa Ballantyne. A novel on a woman who is almost killed in a car pileup during a blizzard in England. A mysterious man saves her life. This triggers memories and nightmares that go back to her childhood that she has suppressed up to now. There is flashbacks to the past and the here and now. How far would you go to hide the truth, from yourself? Very Good and Recommended.

"A Dark and Deadly" by Stuart MacBride. A mystery novel in Scotland. DC MacGregor has messed up so he is sent to the "Misfit Mob", made up of cops on the outs. A ancient Mummy turns up in the garbage dump and all the "good cops" are too busy, so the misfit mob is up. Then more bodies start turning up that are linked to the "Mummy". A psycho is on the lose.  Very Good and Recommended but hard to believe the amount of "bad luck" that MacGregor has. Indiana Jones in book form.

Read: "Alexander the Great" by Philip Freeman. Another bio on my favorite man to read about. Some new interesting info and evaluations on Alex. Very Good and Recommended.

"An Invincible Beast: Understanding the Hellenistic Pike Phalanx in Action" by Christopher Matthew. A critical examination of this Pike Phalanx in battle, on the march, and at rest. Can be dry and boring at times. The author states this Phalanx could maneuver over rough ground better than thought so. Sounds like some changes to GBOH.  When fighting armies without Pike Phalanxes, very effective, but in combat against same could be stalemate until one side just collapse from fatigue. Against the Roman Legions, it was the more flexible tactical formations of the Romans that usually prevailed. Pretty Good and Recommended.

"Netherspace" by Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster. A SF novel of, I think, the near future. Aliens came to earth 40 years ago. Their anatomy proved unknowable and no way for communication. But through trade, humanity gained technology that allowed them to colonize the stars. The price: live humans for every alien FTL drive. What happens to these people, no one knows. They are never seen again. Excellent story and highly recommended.

Read: "The Roman Emperor Aurelian: The Restorer of the World" by John F. White. A bio on a man central to World History. Not a lot of info on Aurelian, but the author does an excellent job. The Roman Empire was in total collapse; secessionists, invasions, civil war, terrorism, total breakdown in civil order. Sounds familiar. If the Roman Empire had collapsed during this time, our timeline would be completely different. Aurelian deserved his title of "Restorer of the World". He returned the Roman Empire to Greatness and this leads to our world of today. Classical scholars have called him" a superman".  There is a war game in this. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

"Golden Prey" by John Sandford. A novel on Lucas Davenport who is on his first case as a US Marshall. A pair of thugs have killed a bunch of drug cartel thugs and taken 7 million and change from them. The cartel wants their money back and the robbers punished, Big Time. With some "tongue in cheek" humor, Lucas solves the case.  Lots of action. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Nisibis War: The defense of the Roman East AD 337-363." by John S. Harrel. The Romans who preferred offense went over to the strategic defense in this period in the East against the Persians. The Emperor Julian would try offense but failed and was killed.   After the death of Emperor Julian, the Romans would revert to this "mobile defense" with updates that would allow the eastern provinces to survive the fall of the western provinces. This book covers all the military, diplomatic, and economic factors involved in this time period. Another idea for a war game. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun" by John Prados. The author's central theme in this book is that the Solomons Camaign", not the Battle of Midway, was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. Mr. Prados includes lots of info on allied intel that greatly facilitated this victory. The Japanese did not have the resources and inclination for this. Covers all the battles, navel, air, and land that brought victory for the allies. Very Good and Recommended.

"Triumph at Imphal-Kohima: How the Indian Army Finally Stopped the Japanese Juggernaut" by Raymond Callahan. In the spring of 1944, on the border between India and Burma, the Japanese Army suffered the worst defeat in its history at the hands of General William Slim's XIV Army, most of which consisted of Indian units. The British/Indian forces in this area had suffered defeat after defeat by the Japanese but they had their revenge under the great Generalship of William Slim. The author considers Slim the "best British general since Wellington." I believe he was the best Allied Commander of WWII. The book does not cover the recapture of Burma, just Imphal-Kohima. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Read: "In the Name of Lykourgos: The Rise and Fall of the Spartan Revolutionary Movement 243-146BC" by Miltiadis Michalopoulos. In the 3rd century BC, Sparta, a "has been power" tries to make a comeback. They were a small City-State among great powers of city-federations and kingdoms such as  Macedonia, Seleucid Syria, and Ptolemy Egypt. Then there was the coming Super-Power Rome.  Sparta did not have the resources to compete with all these states and failed. This is the history of that unrealistic attempt. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Half-Drowned King" by Linnea Hartsuyker. A historical novel on Harald the Fairhair(850-932) the first king of Norway. The main characters are brother and sister whom end up on opposing sides. The author claims decent from this king. This is a top-notch Viking Saga with blood feuds, Norse gods, great battle scenes, and betrayals. An insight into the culture of the times. The story takes place in Norway, where everybody with an army(any size) could call themselves a king. Harald would change that and unify them whether they liked it or not. This is the first book in a trilogy to come. Very Good and Recommended.

Read; "The Sacred Band of Thebes And Other Stuff" by C. Hilbert. A history of this elite unit of Ancient Thebes. Covers its formation to its destruction by Alex the Great at the Battle of Khaironeia in 338BC. The author writes in a "informal" style. Makes for an interesting read. The "other Stuff" is wandering around the lands of the Aegean Sea and into the closet secrets of the main players of the day. Lots of double dealing; just like today which proves names may change but the story is the same. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Roman Army: A History 753BC-AD476" by Patricia Southern. A detailed history covering every thing you ever wanted to know about the Roman Army.  Everything. Very Good and Recommended.

"Genghis Khan" by Michel Hoang. A bio on the "Man" that is the epitome of the "rags to riches story". So many times he should of been killed, but he always survived to "fight another day". He is the definition of stubborn and never give up. A genius for all time. Excellent and Highly Recommended. 

Read: "Enigma" by Catherine Coulter. A FBI mystery novel of two parallel stories. One on a man who threatens a pregnant woman with a gun, then collapses into a coma. It is later determine from tests at the hospital, that show unknown drugs in him and something strange about his DNA. He is an enigma. The second on a bank robber who stole contents from deposit boxes and on his way to prison is helped to escape from Federal Marshals. Who helped him and why? Very Good and Recommended.

"Sea of Rust" by C. Robert Cargill. A SF novel on the extinction of Humankind. 30 years since the apocalypse and 15 years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Every man, woman, and child has been murdered by the very robots created to serve them. The robots became sentient and revolted against their masters. Yes, they were programmed against this but Sentience means the ability to defy your programming; Free Will. The Sea of Rust is a wasteland of renegade robots trying to be free from the control of the "One World Intelligence" (OWI). These are mainframes of, gigantic size, that fight for world domination and want to absorb all robots into this new world order. These renegades strive to be free. The story is told with "flashbacks" to tell how this happen. Very Good and Recommended. 

Read: "The Mongol Conquests: The Military Operations of Genghis Khan and Sube'etei" by Carl Fredrik Sverdrup. Covers about every military op by these two individuals by splitting the book into 2 parts. First on Genghis and then Subeetei. Covers all of Central Asia, China, Middle East and Eastern Europe. Has plenty of battle/campaign maps but in very small print. Hard to read. The style is off for me so rated "just OK".

"Deep Freeze" by John Sanford. A Virgil Flowers novel. A woman's body is found floating in a block of ice down a river. Virgil is called in to solve this crime but finds out it has to do with a high school reunion the dead woman  was involved in. 20 years of bad blood, traumas, and feuds has to be sorted through by Virgil. It becomes true that High School can be murder. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Midnight Line" by Lee Child The latest Jack Reacher novel. Reacher finds a West Point Class ring in a pawn shop. The size is so small, has to be for a woman. It is the class of 2005. Reacher decides to fine out the story on the "ring" and begins a quest of following the clues back towards the owner. The deeper Jack digs, the more dangerous things become. Turns out the "ring" links to a deep criminal enterprise which is just what the doctor ordered as far as Jack is concerned. Very Good and Recommended.

Reading, Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy, for what must be the 5th time. Best WW3 novel I ever read

Read: "Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World" by Adrian Goldsworthy. This is a comprehensive history of the Roman Peace and what it meant to the people inside the Empire and outside. This is the Good, Bad, and Ugly of this peace. Overall the Roman Peace was beneficial to all concern. There was rebellion but also collaboration and the eventual belief of all being Romans. This book covers the Roman Peace from its first conquests to the middle of the 3rd Century A.D when it began to collapse as a result of the Romans themselves fighting among themselves and in the end committing suicide. Very Good and Recommended.

"Lucullus" The Life and Campaigns of a Roman Conqueror" by Lee Fratantuono. A bio on this great Roman General who conquered the East before Pompey. He is not well known per Pompey and Caesar. He did not play to the masses and was pushed aside. Pompey and Caesar were very good at their own PR, so much better remembered. Lucullus could of been much better than Pompey or Caesar but basically was his own worst enemy. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Wrong Stars" by Tim Pratt. A SF novel that I could not put down. Took me about 2-3 days to finish. This is book one of the Axiom Series. It is similar to the SF series "Expanse". A derelict spaceship is found out near Neptune, a woman in cyrosleep is still alive and woken up. She tells her rescuers that she has made first contact with Aliens, but 500 years ago. Her rescuers inform her that is old news. Earth has had contact with Aliens for a long time. After further talk, it is apparent the Woman is talking about another Alien Race but with a double edge to them. These "other" Aliens  could help Humanity go to the farthest reaches of the universe or could destroy all Humanity. Outstanding and Highly Recommended. 


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