The Pirates! In an adventure with Moby Dick

The Pirate Captain decides that their ship has seen better days (with the mast constantly collapsing, he’s probably right). The Pirates buy a new ship from Cutlass Liz. She’s famed for dealing with non-payers brutally. Which could be a major problem as the Pirates don’t have the 6000 doubloons the new ship costs. The Pirate Captain has a number of ideas to raise the necessary money, but they don’t work out and keep on bumping into a character called Ahab, who lost his leg to a whale and wants revenge. The reward to anyone who catches the whale? 6000 doubloons. The Pirates look to find the whale, claim the reward and pay for their ship.

An easy read and fun story. The pirates are named according to distinguishing features that they possess and the Pirate Captain is a lovable character, but often seems out of his depth. I recommend this to everyone.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review – Utter Folly

Olly invites his friend James to his house in the country. But then Olly gets arrested and can’t make the weekend, although he does ask James to pick up a package for him. James could never have been prepared for what he encounters, with Olly’s family best described as being eccentric. James could also not have been prepared for the situations he finds himself in and is also unaware of what’s in the package he’s asked to collect.

Utter Folly is a comedy set in the English countryside. James is pretty hapless, but a lovable character who is well out of his comfort zone and little match for the formidable characters he encounters. An easy read and funny throughout.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Get Lenin

Get Lenin is set in World War II. Eva Molenaar is working for the British Secret Services, with the book detailing how she was recruited for them. It is learned that the German hierarchy are planning to steal the corpse of Lenin from the Russians to force them out of the war. Molenaar finds herself in with key German plotters and looks to prevent the corpse being stolen.

The first half of the book focuses on Molenaar’s history and how she was recruited for the British Secret Services. It also gives an overview of some of her earlier missions. The second half focuses on the German plot and Molenaar’s attempts to stop the theft. The pace quickens as the German plot develops and there is well-described action as the Germans look to succeed, whilst the Russian and British look to prevent a successful theft.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Blood on Red Dirt

Blood on red dirt is a personal account of the Vietnam War by Gary Cowart. The book covers Cowart’s enlistment, training and experiences in Vietnam with the artillery.

Cowart provides a personal experience of the war. He does not look at the politics of the conflict or the wider war, focusing on what he experiences in his theatre of combat. An interesting insight into the Vietnam War.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Far from the massive crowds

Far from the massive crowds has Mark Cowan following his football team for a year. As the title suggests, they are not a club that everyone may be able to name. His team are Guisborough Town Football Club. They are in the STL Northern League Division 2, but are looking to get promoted. How will the season pan out though?

Cowan details each match he goes to, providing an overview of the towns he visits for away matches. There is a brief summary of the match, with key moments detailed and an overall assessment of how the game was. What is clear throughout the book is the love of the game at this level, both on the pitch and among those who watch and cheer their team on.

Is there a happy ending? Do Guisborough get promoted? I’m afraid I won’t give away the ending to an enjoyable book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Sepoys in the Trenches

Sepoys in the Trenches looks at the role played by the Indian Corps on the Western Front in 1914 and 1915 before their withdrawal from that theatre. The battles they were involved in (and the role they played in these battles) is explained. It also shows the difficulties faced, especially in replacing losses of men and officers.

The role of the Indian Corps on the Western Front is often overlooked; in fact, I’m struggling to think of another account that makes much, if any, mention of them. This book certainly taught me new things and is a fresh perspective on the Western Front battles at the start of the war.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: World War One: History in an Hour

As the title suggests, World War One: History in an Hour is a whistle-stop tour through World War One. The book offers a brief overview of important events and contains a section introducing key figures. This could certainly act an an excellent introduction to the whole conflict, but if you already know anything about World War I, it will not teach you anything new.

Rating (out of 5): ****