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Worst HF you've ever read

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Ash
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Post by Ash » Fri January 2nd, 2009, 3:56 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]Bernard Cornwell has a talent for writing violence and brutality. He can bring to life the rather dry references to them in contemporary sources.[/quote]

Whats interesting is that I can read his books and not have as much of a problem with the violence as I do with others. Perhaps its because he puts as much research and detail in his characters, his stories, his background as he does to the battle scenes, and perhaps because the violence actually makes sense in the context of his stories. That being said, I usually do skim those parts, just coz I really don't like the images I come away with.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Fri January 2nd, 2009, 6:01 pm

[quote=""Ash""]Whats interesting is that I can read his books and not have as much of a problem with the violence as I do with others. Perhaps its because he puts as much research and detail in his characters, his stories, his background as he does to the battle scenes, and perhaps because the violence actually makes sense in the context of his stories. That being said, I usually do skim those parts, just coz I really don't like the images I come away with.[/quote]

He does have a formula, but the books are well researched and the characters are pretty good.

annis
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Post by annis » Fri January 2nd, 2009, 6:16 pm

Bernard Cornwell really brings his characters to life, cf my feelings about Ross Laidlaw's "Theoderic". Having ranted about the lifelessness of the characters in that book, I do realise that writing a biographical novel presents its own peculiar difficulties, in that the writer has to be careful not to get the facts wrong, and that can lend itself to making the story pedestrian.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Fri January 2nd, 2009, 7:45 pm

The opening of Gallows Thief, a horrific hanging, is a case in point. Absolutely necessary to give a feel for the times which BC does very well. Among the best depictions of callousness I've read.

The author comments on Gladiatrix sound like yeah I read a lot of facts but decided not to use any of them....

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri January 2nd, 2009, 10:29 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]The opening of Gallows Thief, a horrific hanging, is a case in point. Absolutely necessary to give a feel for the times which BC does very well. Among the best depictions of callousness I've read.
[/quote]

Gallows Thief is probably my favourite Cornwell of them all to date. I've always enjoyed Cornwell, but I really felt he raised his game to another level on this one.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Christina
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Post by Christina » Fri January 2nd, 2009, 11:38 pm

The worst HF I ever read - in fact the only book I literally tore to shreds and threw on a bonfire as I thought it utterly unworthy of donating the the OXFAM shop! - was Anthony Lambton's "Elizabeth & Alexandra". I bought it thinking it was a biography as it wasn't listed as a novel and when it arrived (from Amazon) I was so excited. It came with beautiful bookmark with a family tree on it (the only good thing about the book!), and I settled to read it but within 2 or 3 pages was wanting to rip it apart. I never read a book that inspired so much anger at its sheer stupidity and one-dimensional, totally inaccurate portrayal of real people.
For anyone who hasn't seen it (and please don't unless you want to vomit!), it is allegedly the story of the last Tsarina, Alexandra, and her sister, Grand Duchess Elizabeth. In fact, it is more like a projection of the author's own sordid fantasies where the Grand Duchess' husband is into sado-masochism, where there are silly childish arguments about coloured crayons, where everything is distorted and unreal and I utterly, utterly despise this book!! LOL

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Fri January 9th, 2009, 4:30 pm

A few days ago I (finally!!) finished Auriel's Rising by Elizabeth Redfern. This was truly awful! Sad, bleak, and it just kept getting sadder and bleaker. The ending was weak and cemented my feelings about the entire novel. There was so much death, suffering, and sadness, which normally I wouldn't mind if there had been something redeeming or positive to balance it out. This book may just bring my review mojo back just so I can give it the scathing review it deserves!! The only reason I'm giving it two stars instead of one is because it did have lots of interesting information on Alchemy. But the story sucked!!
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri January 9th, 2009, 4:57 pm

[quote=""LCW""]A few days ago I (finally!!) finished Auriel's Rising by Elizabeth Redfern. This was truly awful! Sad, bleak, and it just kept getting sadder and bleaker. The ending was weak and cemented my feelings about the entire novel. There was so much death, suffering, and sadness, which normally I wouldn't mind if there had been something redeeming or positive to balance it out. This book may just bring my review mojo back just so I can give it the scathing review it deserves!! The only reason I'm giving it two stars instead of one is because it did have lots of interesting information on Alchemy. But the story sucked!![/quote]

I'd never heard of this one. I see Harriet gave it five stars though.

annis
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Post by annis » Sat January 10th, 2009, 6:31 pm

Posted by Misfit
I see Harriet gave it five stars though.
LOL. What can you say?

I haven't read "Auriel Rising", though I did read Redfern's "Music of the Spheres" some time ago. It's a story of murder and astronomy set in the late eighteenth century. The period detail was great and the information about the study of astronomy interesting, though I recall it being quite violent, unremittingly gloomy and full of unlikeable characters. It's hard to engage with a story when you don't care about the characters! The ending was a bit of a fizzer and I hate it when I work out too early on in the piece "whodunnit".
Last edited by annis on Sun January 11th, 2009, 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Sat January 10th, 2009, 11:35 pm

[quote=""Christina""]The worst HF I ever read - in fact the only book I literally tore to shreds and threw on a bonfire as I thought it utterly unworthy of donating the the OXFAM shop! - was Anthony Lambton's "Elizabeth & Alexandra". [/quote]

I remember buying this one when it was first released, and found it to be horrible (pretty much what you would find on the floor of an ill-kept stable, to put it politely). The problem was, there was so little being published about the Romanovs then, that it sold well... But it's one of the big turkeys out there, and I couldn't agree with you more.

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