I think I have always used the word eclectic (deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources, according to the dictionary) about myself.

Certainly, looking back over a lifetime of CV’s and resumes, it seems to have been a word I frequently used to describe myself or my approach to particular tasks.

I don’t even know if it is true or not. Maybe I just used that word because it sounded rather grand and is a bit hard to disprove.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is I’ve looked at the books I’ve read recently and I suppose eclectic would sum it up

Spring Muslin by Georgette Heyer – undoubtedly the queen of the “regency” style novels, this was certainly not the bodice ripper I remember my sisters reading back in the sixties, far more “refayned” – it might have been the Angelique series by Sergeanne Colon that I was thinking of, but what a delightful read. Superbly well written and such a frivolous story – the equivalent of several glasses of champagne.

The Company of Strangers by Robert Wilson – a fairly serious espionage thriller, in the cold style of John Le Carré, spanning more than half a century. Set in wartime Germany, and neutral Portugal, Cold war Germany and back in peaceful Britain, a substantial read with perhaps just a little too much emphasis on the street names and localities of Lisbon and its environs.

First Response by Stephen Leather – an edge of the seat ride but a little too … I don’t know but I remember the first Tom Clancy novel I read and it was just a series of repetions whereby Enemy X deployed half a dozen tanks and the Good Guys countered with a dozen tanks and the bad guys came back with a supersonic aerial attack only to be repulsed by other super dooper planes and so on. I’m not saying that First Response was like that, well maybe I am but it all seemed a bit clinical and auto pilot.

Fin Gall by James Nelson all about Vikings raiding Ireland and coming across the mythical Three Crowns of destiny, Quite well written and especially the details with regard to sailing but somehow lacking in substance.

Medieval Memories by Manuel Werner – an excellent premise, a survivor of the battle of Poitiers in the 100 Years war is discovered alive and brings his singular fighting skills to the modern world of big business. A great idea but, to my mind, badly written and sloppily edited and I would have liked more medieval details about the battle of Poitiers.

Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson – a depressing portrayal of life in a small New Zealand farming community in the 1870’s or so where a dreary, drippy little goody good-shoes is taken advantage of by a smooth talker.

So, two thrillers, two romances, two historical fictions – maybe not as much variety as I had thought.

First of all, I am a bit surprised at how few books I’ve actually read in the last few months but I suppose that is a by product of having thrown myself into my blog which, to be honest, takes up quite a bit more time that I had initially envisaged.

Anyway, the other reason why I seem to be reading so few novels is that I, in fact, am reading a huge amount of stuff on-line as I research for my next novel.

Initially, it was just going to be a fairly short “novella” – Three Spears – detailing the death of Sétanta, aka Cu Chulainn, sometime after the Táin had completed. But then I started to dig a bit deeper and read more translations from the collection of MS collectively known as the Ulster Cycle and I began to get a bit bogged down, so much so that I had to give myself a deadline of the end of May to finish researching and reading about the incident known as “Bricriu’s Feast” or “Fled Bricrend”.

Anyway, I made my deadline, ending up with more than 10,000 words in notes alone and gave myself another month to collect and read the original sources (in translation) for the next episode and it was only yesterday that I conceived of a way to make isolated incidents revolving around Sétanta’s life story become more real but more of that later.

To go back to books, it is the first of June today, let’s see what kind of reading I come up with this month.

Today is also the first day of winter and it looks absolutely gorgeous.  A high, clear deep blue sky and it’s time to go out for a cycle.



Author: serkeen

I am Irish, currently living in West Australia. I have a degree in Old & Middle English, Lang & Lit and, despite having worked in Kuwait, Italy, Malaysia, USA, Brunei, Australia and Hong Kong over the last 40 years, I have a strong interest in Ireland’s ancient pre-history and the heroes of its Celtic past as recorded in the 12th and late 14th century collection of manuscripts, collectively known as The Ulster Cycle. I enjoy writing historical novels, firmly grounded in a well-researched background, providing a fresh and exciting look into times long gone. I have an empathy with the historical period and I draw upon my experiences of that area and the original documents. I hope, by providing enough historical “realia” to hook you into a hitherto unknown – or barely glimpsed - historical period.

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