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Hello, and welcome to imagic reflections!

Here, we talk about books, history (actual and alternative), the latest discoveries in archaeology, music, movies, and just life in general.  Whatever catches my interest at the time.  Occasionally, I’ll post a scrap kit for you to download.  This doesn’t happen as often as I’d like anymore, but that’s life.

Before downloading any of my scrapbook freebies, please take the time to read my Terms.   Downloading any of my creations implies an agreement to these terms, whether or not you have actually read them.  My terms may be changed at any time without notice, so be sure to check back.  Thank you and have fun!

My book reviews express my own opinions and feelings about books I’ve read, but if you want to repost them elsewhere, then feel free to do so.  With appropriate credit, of course.

Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History by Trevor Bryce

In this latest work, Trevor Bryce kept me entertained for two out of the three millennia of Syria’s long, eventful history it covers.  Through the rise and ebb of Ebla, the arrival of the Amorites, and the glories of Yamkhad.  The great clash of the three super-powers of the Late Bronze Age (Hatti, Mitanni, and Egypt) and their dramatic fall at its end.

Ancient-Syria_BryceThe verve with which Bryce tells of the duplicity and naked ambition of Abdi-Ashirta and his son, Aziru, as well as the desperation and frustration these roused in the King of Byblos, was wonderful.  And the new spin on the debacle that was Urhi-Teshub.  You know that Ramesses was secretly laughing his butt off.  Not only were these tales informative, but vastly entertaining.

Oh!  And speaking of Ramesses, I really enjoyed Bryce’s telling of the Battle of Kadesh, both here and in The Kingdom of the Hittites.  You can just see the young Pharaoh.  So young, brash, and self-confident as only a teenaged boy can be.  And then he meets the cunning and experience of Muwatalli, Great King of the Land of Hatti.  No contest.  Ramesses doesn’t obliterate the Hittites the way he tells it in his inscriptions all over Egypt, but escapes by the skin of his teeth.

Then we have the ravages of Assyria from it’s battle for dominance with Urartu to it’s fall at the hands of a resurgent Babylon and the Medes.  Then come the Persians with the meteoric rise of Cyrus followed a few centuries later by the anti-climatic death of Darius III at the hands of Alexander III, King of Macedon.  It is at this point that my enjoyment takes a nosedive.

I really liked this book up until that point.  Absolutely loved it.  Then we get to Alexander.  Frankly, I’ve never been a big fan of his or any of his supposed heirs.  I know, I know, it’s fascinating and entertaining to read about all the scheming, backbiting, betrayal, and assassination.  Or it should it.  But the whole era bores me to tears.  And I’m not much more interested in Rome.  So, despite the skill of Mr. Bryce, the last two parts of Ancient Syria, or the last millennium or so, were boring to me.

Ever since I read his The Kingdom of the Hittites, the first edition back in the ’90s, Trevor Bryce has been one of my favorite ancient history authors. In fact, I think I’ve read it twice.  I’ve also read the 2005 edition.  With all of the new discoveries and text-joins that must have happened since then, I’m kind of hoping for another edition sometime soon.  And here’s to hoping he rewrites with the style he uses in his latest, Ancient Syria:  A Three Thousand Year History.  Imagine if Bryce injected the same life into the tales of Uhha-Zitti and Piyama-Radu as he has here for the ravaging Habiru chieftains of Amurru!

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars for first two millennia; 2 out of 5 stars for the third.

Even More Page to T.V. Awesomeness

masterpiece-PBSIt has recently been announced that BBC Two’s miniseries-in-the-works, Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize winning novel of the same name, will be broadcast here in the U.S. on PBS as part of the 2015 Masterpiece line-up.  I’m so excited.  Can’t wait to see Damien Lewis as Henry VIII.

Uhtred is Coming!

That’s right.  Uhtred is coming … to T.V.  BBC Two and BBC America have announced that they are making Bernard Cornwell’s beloved Warrior/Saxon Chronicles into a television series to be called The Last Kingdom (also the title of the first book).  And, if that ain’t enough to make you grin, the show will be made by Carnival Films, the producers of Downton Abbey.  They also produced a mystery series called Rosemary & Thyme that I used to watch on PBS.  Production will start in the fall.  Here’s the blurb for the book, The Last Kingdom:

Kingdom_Cornwell‘I had been given a perfect childhood, perfect, at least, to the ideas of a boy. I was raised among men, I was free, I ran wild, was encumbered by no laws, was troubled by no priests and was encouraged to violence.’

Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of 9th Century Northumbria, but orphaned at ten, Kingdom_Cornwell-2adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred’s fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia.

That war, with its massacres, defeats and betrayals, is the background to Uhtred’s childhood, a childhood which leaves him uncertain of his loyalties, but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred’s kingdom. Marriage ties him further to the West Saxon cause, but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of a Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea, and there, in the horror of a shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.

Will you watch?

He Made Us Laugh Until We Cried

The world has just lost one of the greatest comedians, actors, and people of all time.  He could make us laugh, make us cry, make us think.  Sometimes all in the same role, at the same time.  We loved Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Aladdin, The Dead Poets Society, Robots, Happy Feet, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams…  I could keep going, but, the truth, is, we love/loved Robin Williams.  He will be missed.

LibraryReads September List

Lots of good stuff on the list, this time.  New releases from Ian McEwan, Sarah Waters, and Lauren Oliver all make the list.  library_reads_logo_websiteHowever, the one that stands out, for me, is a debut:  The Distance by Helen Giltrow.  It sounds really good.  Here’s the blurb:

Distance_Giltrow
A dark, ultra-contemporary, and relentlessly paced debut thriller about a London society woman trying to put her secret criminal past behind her, and the hit man who comes to her with an impossible job she can’t refuse.

Charlotte Alton is an elegant socialite. But behind the locked doors of her sleek, high-security apartment in London’s Docklands, she becomes Karla. Karla’s business is information. Specifically, making it disappear. She’s the unseen figure who, for a commanding price, will cover a criminal’s tracks. A perfectionist, she’s only made one slip in her career—several years ago she revealed her face to a man named Simon Johanssen, an ex-special forces sniper turned killer-for-hire. After a mob hit went horrifically wrong, Johanssen needed to disappear, and Karla helped him. He became a regular client, and then, one day, she stepped out of the shadows for reasons unclear to even herself. Now, after a long absence, Johanssen has resurfaced with a job, and he needs Karla’s help again. The job is to take out an inmate—a woman—inside an experimental prison colony. But there’s no record the target ever existed. That’s not the only problem: the criminal boss from whom Johanssen has been hiding is incarcerated there. That doesn’t stop him. It’s Karla’s job to get him out alive, and to do that she must uncover the truth. Who is this woman? Who wants her dead? Is the job a trap for Johanssen or for her? But every door she opens is a false one, and she’s getting desperate to protect a man—a killer—to whom she’s inexplicably drawn. Written in stylish, sophisticated prose, The Distance is a tense and satisfying debut in which every character, both criminal and law-abiding, wears two faces, and everyone is playing a double game.

Doesn’t that sound like an awesome read?  LibraryReads calls her Robin Hood hacker style.

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Moganville Vampires Web Series…

Becky:

Awesome!

Originally posted on Wicked Scribes:

I had absolutely no idea that Rachel Caine‘s Morganville Vampires series was heading to the screen…well, the computer screen. There will be a web series, simply called Morganville, and it will make its debut on YouTube this fall. The trailer made its debut at Comic-Con, but in case you missed it like I did, here it is…

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