Ever since I leaned over the side of my bed at the age of nine and picked up and read almost in one sitting my first Enid Blyton boo I have found the world of word one of magic, the page a portal to world and events that fuel my mind, sometimes to greater things.

This section is designed to profile the books I am reading with the aim of recording what I am reading, who recommended it, when I am reading it and some catalogue genre through time. Along the way I will record my thoughts on these books.

Of course I have read thousands of books prior to this stage, and in time I will look to revisit some of my favourite and post these. There will also be links as with the movie reviews to the items corresponding entry in If you ever click the link from my site and then purchase the book i get points which allows me to buy more books. It would be cool if my writing about books meant I could read more for free but dont feel morally obliged or let it put you off reading the reviews. I wont be the slightest distressed if you just read and move on.

Ratings Explained
I suspect there wont be many of these as I probably wont finish them and it would be unfair to rant about something that I hadnt read to its end. If it has one star its that it was so bad i really had to read all the pages in the hope that there would be some redeeming factor at the end.
Overall a book you consume but not one that stays with you very much after you close the back cover. Typically one that seems devoid of what you look for in a book, the imagery, while still managing to provide a half descent story.
A good page turning read with a few drawbacks but altogether an enjoyable experience that may have you looking for the authors name on bookshelfs but only if your 4 and 5 star authors are all read out! A good holiday book!
The beginning of something special, creates great images in your mind, leaves you dreamy as each page turns and wishing you were the main character. You will immediately buy up the authors back catalogue and spend the next 7 months reading each one at the end of which you will be ringing the publisher to find out when the next installment is due.
Life changing, and reserved for authors like Tolkien and God.
Aggresor : Fiction : Hardback : 26 November 2005
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There was a time when I was all over new Andy McNab books as soon as they were printed and sitting on the shelves of the nearest book vendor. These days though, at least since his last outing in 'Deep Black' my enthusiasm has curtailed. The release date for his books have also been knocked back from their stock April appearance to November. I can only imagine to take advantage of the blind Christmas rush.

We once more follow McNabs stock character Nick Stone as he chills for a change bumming around the Australian surf and freefall scene with a Volkswagon and a beautiful German on his arm. We know this isnt going to last for long but anyone that has followed Mr Stones adventures over the last eight years would not begrudge him a bit of sun and female company.

We are soon off though, to the soggy streets of Georgia, where at the bequest of an ex colleagues wife he finds himself hunting for his old mentor and needs to find him before something irreversable lands them both in Nick Stone sized trouble.

In typical Nick Stone fashion we find outselves in one dead end situation after another while as a sub plot and probably a clear hint that there will not be that many more Stone books, he considers its time to hang up is war spurs and enjoy his time with the good looking German and the volkswagon.

In Aggresor we get all the McNab trademarks, which are essentially down and dirty warfare at its most real within the context of a fictional book. This though seems to be the most distilled of all our outings so far. Sure the action is there, the no win situations are there and the hard as nails, practical never say die killer instincts are there, its just that on this occassion it feels like they have all been thrown into a bowl and watered down, like to much orange juice and not enough vodka. We hardly used to taste the orange.

I read this book in a matter of days, but then these books are easy on the eye and effective page turners, but it didnt captivate me in the same proportions I had been for most of McNabs previous Nick Stone outings.

So we have a required episode in the adventures of Stone for the fan but not a book to start the series with.

PS I never think it is a good idea for a book to have a white cover, its almost like it white outs your mind of the books detail.

Andy Mcnab
Bantam Press

Codex : Fiction : Paper Back: 28 November 2005
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I am pretty sure I picked this up from Haywards Heath Waterstones a month or so ago. One of those books that was in a 3 for 2 stack along with the as yet unread lovely bones, I cant remember what the other book was off the top of my head. The synopsis drew me in; the mix of mysterious medieval books and addictive computer games in the same novel was more than I could resist.

The premise to the story is of a young investor that has just pulled off a remarkable deal on behalf of a major client, as a result of which they request for him to work on cataloguing their large collection of rare books, from which he gets drawn into a mysterious hunt for a mythical codex. The effect this has on his life results in his subsequent addiction to a computer game that seems an odd parallel to the world alluded in the myths of the codex.

An odd premise you might think and I have to say one that I thoroughly enjoyed, despite some initial sceptacism for the main characters motives. It helped that the authur realistically devises a subtle menace in describing the medieval background and weaves this menace into the pretty accurately described virtual gaming world, very clever but not the end of it.

The remarkable thing about this book is not so much what is detailed in the book but what is woven between the lines, a subtle darkness that paces alongside the unraveling story, that come the last few pages, through the end leaves you with a lot to think about and wondering whether you might have actually missed the point. You havent, the author clearly states through Margarate as he gears up for the finale;

"Look around you! Is that what the world is like? Everybody gets what they want, everything works out fine, everybody gets to go home."

Everything that has happened prior to the close of the novel has been a mix of surreal and almost unrestrained historical excitement as each discovery unfolds. I did find the primary character oddly translucent but there are very clear clues as to the mechanism behind this. The other main character is Margarate, the seemingly unemotional, somewhat staid but exceptional rare book and manuscript under graduate. Here again much about her past is hinted at but not explained, leaving any that have the imagination to fill the unexplained themselves.

I have read several reviews that slate 'Codex' but these seem almost in all instances to be by people that were looking for another Da Vinci code and then, when they didnt get this, write the book off as a bandwagon seeker. This book never aludes to any Da Vinci parallels, nothing on the cover says this, there is no mis informed declaration at the outset by the author as to its historical accuracy and at no time does the stories dialogue hint at revealing deep religious secrets. The ONLY corelation between this and the Da Vinci Code is that they have in part some historical aspect.

Read it and make up your own mind. Its very good for mine.

Lev Grossman