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1. War Poems
2. Sharpe's Escape (Richard Sharpe's
3. Sharpe's Havoc (Richard Sharpe's
4. The Collins Christmas
5. Earth and Beyond (Doctor Who)
6. Room at the Top
7. A Very Merry Little Christmas:
8. Sharpe's Fury (Richard Sharpe's
9. Doctor Who: The Novel of the Film
10. Brave New Town (Doctor Who: The
11. Sharpe's Battle
12. Scherzo (Doctor Who)
13. The King's Bishop (Reed Audio)
14. Embrace the Darkness (Doctor Who)
15. Dazzer Plays on
16. An Awfully Big Adventure
17. Master Georgie
18. Suicides in Kentucky: Suicides
19. Actors From Merseyside: Actors
20. Suicides by Firearm in Kentucky:

1. War Poems
Audio CD: Pages (2005-03-21)
list price: US$26.85 -- used & new: US$11.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007202350
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This powerful and moving anthology includes poems of war from the eighteenth century to our own days in the long shadow of the bomb.The poets evoke the glory and the horror, the exhilaration and the despair, the humanity and the insanity, of war.The selection of poems, both familiar and less so, provides an illuminating context both for the bitter denunciation of Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and for Katherine Tynan's portrayal of the First World War as necessary, just and Christian, while other poems consider the devastating impact of war on those friends, family and loved ones who remain behind.The collection also includes works by Anne Finch, Louisa Costello, Byron, Tennyson, Kipling, Hardy, Graves, Sassoon, Brooke, Jessie Pope, May Wedderburn Cannan, Walt Whitman, Henry Reed, Adrian Mitchell and Roger McGough among many others. ... Read more

2. Sharpe's Escape (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #10)
by Bernard Cornwell
Audio CD: Pages (2004-04-05)
list price: US$28.90 -- used & new: US$13.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007181140
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A new instalment in the bestselling Sharpe series. Paul McGann brings the drama and action alive. Sharpe's Escape takes place in the summer of 1810, once again in the Peninsular War. The French are mounting their third and most dangerous invasion of Portugal. Captain Richard Sharpe with his company of redcoats and riflemen meets the invaders on the gaunt ridge of Bussaco. But there, despite a stunning British victory, the French are not stopped and the army have to fall back. Sharpe has made enemies among the Portuguese and during the retreat through Coimbra, he and Sergeant Harper are lured into a trap designed to kill them. With the help of an Englishwoman, Sharpe survives, but is cut off from the army. He has to rejoin his regiment if the command is not to fall to the ambitious Lieutenant Slinbsby. At the Lines of Torres Vedras, the vast defences built to stop the French before Lisbon, Sharpe confronts his enemies in a climactic battle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars I enjoy the whole series.
We are led into historical fiction with an enlisted man that saves a General and is commissioned an officer.Since he's not from the "right" background many, but not all, of the other officers mistreat him.Still he is a gifted soldier and eventually retires a bird and still comes to the rescue of his former enlisted men.The whole series is a good read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A riveting, gritty tale.
While listening to this book, I would jump into the car to run any errand my wife asked of me so that I could find out what would happen next to Captain Richard Sharpe, commander of the light company (skirmishers) of the South Essex battalion.

I've read/listened to about 8 of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels, and Sharpe's Escape was one of the most riveting. Cornwell's description of the battles completely immersed you in the action. It was easy to love the loyal Sgt Harper and hate the mean, bully Feregus.

Like all Cornwell's novels, I was completely taken in by his ability to bring you inside early the 19th century British army -- how they operated, their strategy, and their maneuvers like the About Face, Wheel Right in the battle of Bussaco ridge or forming a square in the lines of Torres Vedras.

The narrator does a great job with English accents but uses that same accent for French and Portuguese characters. Also, Sharpe's final fist-t-cuffs fight with Feregus seemed contrived. In the end Sharpe says you should always fight dirty, but Sharpe could have easily avoided the fight by just shooting Feregus once Feregus attempted to escape.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe is becoming more familiar with Portugal than he would like
I'm sort of glad I waited to begin this series until it was virtually complete, since they're written out of order by their internal chronology. It's mid-1810 now, and Wellington has finally gotten a grip on the French attempts to sew up Portugal and thereby deny access to the entire coastline ofEurope. He's backing slowly down the coast and destroying crops, food stores, grazing animals, windmills, and anything else that might be of use to the enemy. When he gets to the big ridge at Bussaco, he forms up his Anglo-Portuguese army (still considerably small than the French force) and waits. Marshal Massena was far too confident and didn't realize that British training of the previously unimpressive Portuguese forces had made them a serious threat. Cornwell's at-length account of the resulting battle, the most famous in Portugal's history, is quite accurate and almost physically exhausting to read in its descriptions of individual unit actions and grand strategy. Later, the British withdrawal leads the French to their appalled discovery of the Lines of Torres Vedras, a massive series of fortifications crossing the peninsula on which Lisbon is locating, the construction of which was (amazingly) kept secret. (It was financed by the Spanish coin recovered in _Sharpe's Gold,_ by the way.) The confrontation at the end between the French skirmishers and the South Essex's Light Company before the defensive fortifications is also very well done. Meanwhile, Capt. Richard Sharpe has been temporarily pushed out of his command by his colonel's attempts to give a leg up to a drunken brother-in-law. Then Sharpe runs up against a Portuguese intelligence officer trying to play both sides of the street, just in case the French win. And he has a thuggish brother, a huge man, who enjoys killing his enemies by beating them to death with his bare hands. Sharpe and Sgt. Harper don't fight fair, though. Oh, and there's a fair maiden to be rescued as well -- an English governess unlike any of Sharpe's women in the earlier volumes. This is an exciting and, as usual, historically accurate story, both in its broad events and in its details.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great "Locked Room" Escape Flanked by Foolish French, Traitors, and a Strategic Retreat
I envy all those who read the Richard Sharpe novels in the chronological order of the events contained in them rather than the order in which they were published. For these newer readers, Sharpe's Escape contains all of the best features of the earlier (in chronology) nine novels: an easy-to-despise implacable foe (Ferragus), a slimy traitor (Captain Ferreira), a spectacular battle (Bussaco) where all could be lost if Sharpe doesn't take the right action (a whispered aside to Colonel Lawford), Sharpe dropping in to rescue another impossible combat situation, lots of ill-gotten goods at stake, a beautiful woman to beguile Sharpe, a seemingly impossible problem for Sharpe to solve when he's trapped in the cellar to a warehouse, and justice for the dastardly types.

So what's it all about? Wellington continues to try to hold Portugal against the French. Napoleon has sent Marshal Massena with a huge force to drive the British and Portuguese off the peninsula. Wellington has well-prepared defenses waiting in front of Lisbon, but he wants to starve the French army as much as possible so that attrition will make the conflict short. The French steal food rather than buy it, and Wellington leads a scorched earth program.

As the book opens, Sharpe is grumpy. He's been called back after a week rather than the month's leave his was promised and Colonel Lawford has stuck him with a lieutenant he cannot stand, Slingsby. Sharpe doesn't see how any good can come of all this.

Sharpe is sent to destroy a signaling tower so that the French won't be able to use it. In the process, he discovers the Portuguese brothers, Major Ferreira and Ferragus, preparing to sell a lot of flour to the French. Sharpe and his men quickly put a stock to that, and there's soon a dusty hilltop covered with spoiled flour.

Ferragus employs his brother to exact some revenge on the eve of Bussaco, and Sharpe is lucky to survive. Sharpe is enraged to find that Lawford chooses to relieve him of leading the South Essex so that Slingsby can look good (they are brothers-in-law and Lawford has promised his wife to help Slingsby).

Afterward, Sharpe refuses to apologize to Slingsby and is once again turned into a quartermaster. The plot thickens as we find that Ferragus and Ferreira have compiled enough materiel to keep the French going for weeks . . . and plan to sell the goods to the French. Sharpe steps in to stop this . . . and things go horribly wrong. How will he survive?

This book is excellent from beginning to end. You'll have great fun with the story!

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Good One
This is a worthy addition to the Sharpe canon.Ripping battle scenes, a nasty villain, and interesting plot complications.My only quibble(and it probably only bugs me) is that I wish the Adverb Police would visit Mr. Cornwell.He has a character say something"briskly" not once, not twice, but three times, all within the space of 2 pages.Surely the proof reader should catch that.But that is really a minor annoyance in a very enjoyable read. ... Read more

3. Sharpe's Havoc (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #7)
by Bernard Cornwell
Audio Cassette: Pages (2003-04-07)
list price: US$22.70 -- used & new: US$27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007158270
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Re-issue to tie-in with publication of paperback. Sharpe's Havoc brings Sharpe to Portugal, and reunites him with Harper. It is 1809 and Lieutenant Sharpe, who belongs to a small British army that has a precarious foothold in Portugal, is sent to look for Kate Savage, the daughter of an English wine shipper. But before he can discover the missing girl, the French onslaught on Portugal begins and the city of Oporto falls. Sharpe is stranded behind enemy lines, but he has Patrick Harper, he has his riflemen and he has the assistance of a young, idealistic Portuguese officer. Together, they have to find the missing girl and extricate themselves from the entanglements cast by Colonel Christopher, a mysterious Englishman who has his own ideas on how the French can be ejected from Portugal. Those ideas are as fantastic as they are dangerous, but the French are rampant, Lisbon is threatened and Christopher sees Sharpe and his riflemen as the only obstacles to his subtle scheme.But there is a newly arrived British commander in Lisbon, Sir Arthur Wellesley, and just when Sharpe and his men seem doomed, Sir Arthur mounts his own counter-attack, an operation that will send the French army reeling back into the northern mountains. Sharpe becomes a hunter instead of the hunted and he will exercise a dreadful revenge on the men who double-crossed him. Sharpe's Havoc is a classic Sharpe story, a return to Portugal in the company of Sergeant Patrick Harper, Captain Hogan and Sharpe's beloved Greenjackets. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Havoc is Great!
One warning start this on a Friday night, or you'll end up going to work very sleepy. I had a very hard time putting it down, worrying about how Sharpe was going to get out of the mess he was in. I like that Cornwell uses real people and situations to set the story in, just adds Sharpe in the empty spots, and his little addendum at the end that tells you what he changed.

4-0 out of 5 stars That's All She Read
That's All She Read http://allsheread.blogspot.com

This is only the seventh book in the Richard Sharpe Adventure Series if you line them all up in chronological order by battles. I suspect Sharpe's Havoc was written after the three India, one shipboard and one Denmark novels were written, themselves a jump back fromn 1814 to 1798 and soon after to fill in Sharpe's early years. Sharpe's Havoc provides a place for Cornwell to tie up a loose end or two and acknowledge events, like the battles in India, the surprising presence of Sharpe at Trafalgar, the sad love story of of Copenhagen and even sadder love story of lady Grace. Personally I founed it satisfying to have all those dramatic events taken into account in Sharpe's life.

In Sharpe's Havoc our boys find themselves in Portugal with Captain Hogan, assigned to look for a missing British wine merchant's daughter and, with Hogan's arch insinuation, "to keep an eye on Christopher". Christopher is a Foreign Office operative assigned to feel out the Portuguese attitude towards the French invasion of their country. He has decided he has a higher calling, to manipulate relations within and without the the French leading officers to create peace between the three nations. Our Christopher has more than a little larceny in him, as he plans to marry the wine merchant's daughter, Kate, and get hold of her late father's company, and then some. I felt that Hogan suspected something, but if so, he certainly did not get that across to Sharpe who trusts the guy for an awfully long time. I kept shouting at the book, "Send someone to warn Hogan, for God's sake!" My exhortations did not help.

Sharpe almost obeys Hogan's other suggestion, not to fall in love with Kate. There is one kiss, then the book ends with someone else with her in his arms, implying I suppose that he gets the girl, not Sharpe. The novel starts with the French capture of Oporto, follows Sharpe and his rifles to a standstill in a small Portuguese town where he sits more or less idle while Christopher is off doing his dirty tricks. When Our Hero finally figures out he's been duped, it is almost too late. Her, Harper, Hagman, Tongue, Perkins and Harris, and the rest, as they say on Gilligan's Island, withstand the siege of a hill fort before Christopher and the French give up and head for Oporto with an unhappy Kate and not before murdering literally everyone in the small town. In a dramatic battle at a seminary the British now under the general command of good old Nosey, Sir Arthur Wellesley, retake the seaport and send the French scrambling for the Spanish border. It is of course Sharpe's official mission to stop the French from escaping and his private mission to kill Christopher, retrieve his stolen telescope, and presumably Kate.

The novel begins on a bridge and ends on a bridge. You can tell this is is a bridge in itself, written later than the earliest novels. For one thing, all the catch up and fill in. But also because it is even better written than those first Sharpe adventures. Cornwell wrote dozens of other novels in between, and it really shows. This is as smooth and mature a Sharpe novel as there is. Other than instances where I wanted to give Sharpe a blow upside the head for obtuseness, this is as satisfying a Sharpe novel as there are. It has all the anticipated treasures, battle, courtship, Sharpe's struggle to be a proper officer, the growing comradeship of the key rifles, and Sharpe's self-actualized comments and actions. Christopher says to him, "We are England. We don't assassinate." Sharpe replies, "I do."

My husband, Jim, as wild a fan of Cornwell as I am, after all my long and patient evangelism, read Sharpe's Havoc to me. It is available in hardback, paperback, and even a leather bound edition, on Kindle, and on audio VD and download. For blind and otherwise print impaired readers, you can find it at BookShare.org and from the National Library Service via your local library in cassette form as RC 58259 and download as DB 58259. This is not one of the novels made into a film.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still great read
I love the Sharpe series.The books are infinitely better than the movies.Havoc is a bit predictable, but still great read.Since Portuguese is my mother tongue, I was disappointed to find several mistakes.Names like the mountain-man Andrêa or father Josefa--the correct spelling would be André; and Josefa is a woman's name.Ordenança is a word that has plural--ordenanças.(I found this same kind of small language mistakes in "Rifles" too, then in Spanish.)Apart from that, extremely enjoyable book.

3-0 out of 5 stars not bad
seems to be a pattern in the books and one wishes that they were not quite so repetitive

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe continues slogging along in the rain
This one is better than the previous couple of books in the series; maybe it's because Lieut. Sharpe is paying more attention to the war against the French and less attention to women and spies. By internal chronology, "Sharpe's Havoc" comes immediately after "Sharpe's Rifles" -- which actually was the first book Cornwell wrote in this series, but whatever. It's the spring of 1809 and Richard Sharpe, previously a private and then a sergeant, and most recently a regimental quartermaster (because the gentlemanly officers of his unit don't have much use for someone with his lack of family background), finds himself in command of a short company of rifles in northern Portugal. The British army has retreated south but a bridge across the Douro River gives way and Sharpe and his men are stranded on the French-controlled side of the river. A certain Colonel Christopher (he's really an opportunistic Foreign Office observer with personal ambitions) begins giving him orders and Sharpe follows them, but reluctantly -- at least until the bastard steals his prized telescope, and then all bets are off. The colonel turns out to be a cad in several other ways as well. Cornwell, as usual, sticks pretty close to historical events for the background of Sharpe's adventures, and it's kind of amazing just how much real-life improves on fiction in this case. Sharpe's riflemen find ways and places to lie low, aided by a very young, completely inexperienced Portuguese lieutenant, but who has the right attitude and good instincts. They have several opportunities to teach the French about the accuracy and range of the rifled barrel, and they benefit from the wrongly assured superiority of the French commanders. Sharpe's path crosses that of Sir Arthur Wellesley yet again, but at least the lieutenant doesn't find it necessary to murder anyone in cold blood this time. out. ... Read more

4. The Collins Christmas
Audio Cassette: Pages (1999-11-01)
-- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0001025287
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A magical collection of stories and songs, poems and carols, all with a festive theme.A real Christmas cracker of a tape, containing all the best bits of wrapped up in one bumper package.Side 1 celebrates the sparkle and the fun: Christmas is Coming, The Shoemaker and the Elves, Deck the Halls, A Visit From St Nicholas, Jingle Bells, The North Wind Doth Blow, Oh Christmas Tree, The Robins' Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas, When Icicles Hang By the Wall, We Wish You a Merry Christmas.Side 2 begins with God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, followed by a retelling of the Nativity interspersed with five more carols: O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, We Three Kings, O Come All Ye Faithful. ... Read more

5. Earth and Beyond (Doctor Who)
Audio Cassette: Pages (2001-05)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$12.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0563558903
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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These three Doctor Who short stories: "Bounty", "Dead Time" and "The People's Temple", are read by the eighth Doctor, Paul McGann. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic and enchanting
McGann's voice borders on the hypnotic.He is an exceptional actor to start with and alternates between narrating and being part of the story flawlessly.He's turned three stories from the Short Trips collection (text print which is not included) into a one man performance that muct be beheld.These two tapes make for an excellent entertainment no matter if you are traveling, relaxing or what have you.This is an excellent treat for your ears and your mind's eye.If only it was available in CD. ... Read more

6. Room at the Top
by John Braine
Audio Cassette: Pages (1999-06)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$44.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 075400306X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A social climber, our Joe
It's fifty years since A Room At The Top first appeared. Against a backdrop of post-war Britain, a period when people really did believe that a new future, a different kind of society was just around the corner, Joe Lampton, born January 1921, aspired to social and economic elevation. Though competent and already promoted, as a local government officer in a grubby northern English town, with spare time interests in amateur dramatics, cigarettes and beer, even he himself rated his prospects of success as very poor.

But Joe's other passion was the ladies. Two in particular caught his eye. Alice Aisgarth was married, older than him, and had a local reputation for being a bit "forward". Basically she wanted love and passion to light up her dull, unhappy life with excitement. Susan Brown was a different prospect entirely, being nineteen, virginal and daughter of a rich businessman. If Joe Lampton could never work his way to wealth, he might just be able to marry it. His problems arose out of Susan's desire to remain pure during their courtship, a position that meant Joe had to continue seeing Alice to satisfy his needs. Further complications arose when Susan relented and fell immediately pregnant.

Well Joe achieved his goal. He and Susan married and he attained what he had sought all along, a meal ticket for life. He was not entirely without conscience, however. So when the rejected Alice, who deeply loved him, is killed in a car crash after a drunken night trying to drown her sorrows, Joe Lampton does suffer some remorse. But eventually, like many social climbers, he achieves his heights by trampling on others.

What remains enduringly intriguing about Room At The Top is its portrayal of British society's obsession with social class. Joe perceives his best chance of social elevation is to marry money. And, in 2007, I re-read this novel in a week when a United Kingdom report declared that current day social class differences were widening, whilst opportunities for social mobility are actually decreasing. So John Braine's novel is also a social document. The book is very much of its own time. It reminds us, for instance, that in the 1950s everyone smoked - and smoked a lot. Men drank pints in the pub - some of which did not even admit women. Homosexuality was not only not tolerated, it was illegal, though remained visible.Some of the recorded individual aspiration now seems nothing less than quaint. Alice Aisgarth, for instance, declares that she would like to sleep with Joe. "Truly sleep," she qualifies, "in a big bed with a feather mattress and brass rails and a porcelain chamber pot underneath it." In the 1950s, most north of England houses did not have bathrooms and the potties were usually enamel.

But it is in the area of social class that A Room At The Top is bitingly and enduringly apt. Joe Lampton believes he lacks the capacity to succeed, lacks the necessary background, the poise, the breeding. He sees himself as essentially vulgar and possesses no talents which might compensate for this drawback. His rival for Susan Brown's affections, however, is one John Wales. He is studying for a science degree at Cambridge, and thus acquiring not only the knowledge which will ensure that he will become the managing director of the family firm, but will also endow the polish of manner, the habit of command, the calm superiority of bearing, the attributes of a gentleman.

Fifty years on, we might change an odd word, and the family firm might now be multi-national, but the spirit of contemporary Britain's class system is arguably the same. And so despite the aspiration for and perceived attainment of social change in post-war Britain, Room At The Top, juxtaposed with recent evidence, reminds us that very little, if anything, has changed - except for the cigarettes and the chamber pots, of course. Oh, and we might now also prefer lager.

4-0 out of 5 stars A reader from Bulgaria
I had to read the book for my English literature class and I was impressed by the way the characters were depicted -- described through their deeds only, not their thoughts. That the author remains detached from the worldof his characters even in the moments when he should say no toindifference, cynicism, sefishhness made me like the book even more. And Icould not help symphatizing the male character because I could not hate himfor he did see the world this way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reaches the core of my being
This book is a modern day masterpiece/classic, John Braine examines in one little book the meaning of life the meaning of love,reasons for living and presents 50's English culture very well Icouldn't stop thinking about thibook when I had finished it The filmis excellent too with Signoret &Harvey

4-0 out of 5 stars All

4-0 out of 5 stars A profound and tragic piece of writing
John Braine`sRoom at the Top" is a richly written and truly sad story about a man who faces life-altering decisions when he enters a very advanced and prestigious town. The book follows the man`s journey, as hegoes from a hopeful business amateur to an ignorant and rather heartlessbusiness man. The ending of this book is genuinely poignant, as theprotagonist realises his lost love will never come back to him again. Ahaunting and thought-provoking book. ... Read more

7. A Very Merry Little Christmas: Festive Stories, Songs and Carols
 Audio CD: Pages (2007-11-05)
list price: US$8.07 -- used & new: US$6.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007266413
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A magical collection of stories and songs, poems and carols, all with a festive theme.Available for the first time on CD.A real Christmas cracker of a CD, containing all the best bits of Christmas wrapped up in one bumper package.Celebrate the the sparkle and the fun, and retell the story of the Nativity by singing along to: Christmas is Coming The Shoemaker and the Elves Deck the Halls A Visit From St Nicholas Jingle Bells The North Wind Doth Blow Oh Christmas Tree The Robins' Christmas The Twelve Days of Christmas When Icicles Hang By the Wall We Wish You a Merry Christmas God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen O Little Town of Bethlehem Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing We Three Kings O Come All Ye Faithful.Merry Christmas! ... Read more

8. Sharpe's Fury (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #11)
by Bernard Cornwell
Audio CD: Pages (2007-09-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061374164
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The year is 1811 and the French appear to have won their war in Portugal and Spain, with Spain fallen to the invader except for the sea-wrapped city of Cadiz. Captain Richard Sharpe has no business being in Cadiz, but an attack on a French held bridge goes disastrously wrong and Sharpe finds himself in a city under French siege and political rivalry. Some Spaniards believe their country's future would be best served by forging a friendship with Napoleon's France, and their cause is helped when some letters, written to a whore by the British ambassador, fall into their possession. They resort to blackmail, and Sharpe is released into the alleys of Cadiz to find the whore and retrieve the letters.

Yet defeating the blackmailers will not save the city. That is up to the charismatic Scotsman, Sir Thomas Graham, who takes a small British army to attack the French siege lines. The attack goes horribly wrong, Sir Thomas's outnumbered army is trapped, and Richard Sharpe finds himself embroiled in one of the most desperate infantry struggles ever to have been fought. In a bloody and stirring battle, Sharpe and the English get their revenge and their victory, but at a terrible cost. A triumph of both historical and battle fiction, Sharpe's Fury will sweep both old and new Sharpe fans into their hero's incredible adventures.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe marches on, agian.
I stumbled on to the Sharpe series accidently. I have now read all 20+ and am working on the video series. The books are better, even though Sean Bean does a good job in the videos, he is not whom I pictured as Richard Sharpe. (Too short and too fair.) The books have some repetitive themes, the battle horrors, while accurate get a little tiresome when repeated so often, but then Cornwell didn't write them intending them to be read one after the other.
As a history major I am very impressed with the research the author has done to make his novels so real. Tarring mustaches! I'd never heard of that. The action scenes are well written and the plots are mostly realistic, even though getting saved at the last minutes time after time stretches it. As I said, I'm sure these books were not meant to be read back to back to back.
In all, worth the effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intrigue, underhandedness, politics...
Good fall asleep reading, except you keep wanting to read another chapter.

Bernard Cornwell continues his story about Richard Scharpe.Richard Sharpe is a fictional character in the tradition of the Horatio Hornblower series by CS Forrester.Instead of following the rise of a Navy midshipman rising through the ranks of the British Navy (interestingly following a similiar path as Nelson).Richard Sharp is a the soldier on the land directly fighting Napoleon.The story by itself is exciting and would be enough.

For me the frosting on the cake is the way Bernard weaves the history into a fictional story.The reader comes away understanding Spain's attitude towards France.The fear the French had for the Spanish gurella fighters.The tensions and anger between the Spanish governments and England.

It's also intrigueing to compare the foibles of a great man in the early 1800s and compare that with our political leaders today. I can imagine thier are men in Richard Sharpe's situation cleaning up political and other indiscretions in our time as well.

Richard Sharpe is similiar to an 18th Century James Bond, though the gadgets are replaced with a determination, viscousness and raw edge not seen in Roger Moore's James Bond, that allows him to step across the grey areas of right and wrong. Instead focusing on staying alive and accomplishing a goal no matter how sordid or morally unclear.

Enjoyed the book a great deal.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but not the best Sharpe book.
As a new comer to Sharpe books, i have been reading them in chronological order. So this is #11 for me. I must say I love ALL the Richard Sharpe books - I am usually a sci fi fantasy reader but from the first Sharpe novel (Sharp's Tiger) I was hooked. The depth of detail, the smell of the battlefield, its all so very well done.

I have to say however, this is my least favorite Sharpe book of the 11. It's not that bad - it's just not as good as the others. The main reason for this is that for some reason, Sharpe virtually disappears from the 2nd half of the book. More so than the past books, this is almost 2 very different books. The first half is all about Sharpe trying to recover stolen letters that are being used to blackmail an english ambassador. Once that's taken care of - the vantage shifts away from Sharpe and onto General Graham (a fine character to be sure) and Sharpe is only seen intermittently while the main battles rages. This confused me as all previous Sharpe books thrust our Captain right into the main events of the story. Usually Cornwell has no problem putting his fictional Captain right into the main events ofbattle - but for some reason Sharpe only hovers around the edge of this one. I found that odd.

So, in the end my only complaint is not enough of our favorite rogue, Captain Richard Sharpe. Of course I'll be onto #12 soon enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blood, Guts, Honor, Wine and Romance
If you get up early in the morning for work, or to get the kids off to school, this book and other Cornwell books are not for you. They is are impossible to put down.
They are proverbial page turners.
My wife, here-to-fore, has been contented to read the "classics"; all of the English writers and most Vampire novels. But
now, she can't put the Sharpe series down. My only regret is that we didn't find out about Cornwell earlier. Excellent writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars He's a thief and a murderer - and that's why gentlemen need Sharpe
I am sad. "Sharpe's Fury" was my last Sharpe novel. I'd read the others in more or less chronological order, then gone back to read this, the most recently published and inserted midway in the series.

For me, there will be no more Sharpe wenches. There will be no more craven aristocrats, in commands they don't deserve, plotting Sharpe's demise, nor more admirable officers Sharpe and other men would follow through the gates of hell.

There will be no more moments where the Napoleonic Wars hang in the balance, no more Sharpe treasures plundered or lost, no more intrigues with French spies.

There will be no more riveting battle scenes, drawn in enough detail for the military buff but clearly enough for the novice to follow, with the human element so dramatically but naturally woven into the scene's fabric.

And no more chestnuts pulled out of the fire by Richard Sharpe, one of fiction's greatest soldiers, raised from the gutter to find the only thing he does well - fight.I feel a grief similar to that felt when finishing the Jack Aubrey series by Patrick O'Brian.

In this episode Sharpe and Harper, on a patrol near the border of English-controlled Portugal and French-held Spain, are separated with a few men and an injured brigadier, and end up in Cadiz, the only part of Spain not taken by France.

The British ambassador there, Henry Wellesley - brother of Lord Wellington - is embroiled in scandal. The love letters he wrote to a dubious woman are being made public by unknown enemies. Called in to handle the matter, threatening as it does England's delicate relations with Spain, is Pumphrey, the fey Foreign Office spy. Sharpe, available for the moment, is detailed to do what it takes to get the letters back - to guard Pumphrey in his meetings with blackmailers, or to steal them back if need be.

There are lots of good things in this book, probably the last Sharpe novel Cornwell will write. Sharpe's low background is brought to the fore:he's a thief and a murderer, but it is precisely those skills gentlemen need to protect a gentleman's honor. Wellesley's erstwhile lover Caterina Blasquez is a memorable Sharpeian wench, and without giving too much away is a key factor in the book's ending where a Sharpe antagonist gets his in a non-violent but amusing way.

This book portrays perhaps better than any of the others the deeply divided Spanish public - many wanting to make a separate peace with Napoleon in return for the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, but with many different reasons for doing so. Sharpe must operate in a Cadiz that's like a tinderbox, ready to go off against the English at any time.

An English night-time amphibious attack on French artillery shelling Cadiz from across the bay is well done. And while nothing in the series can top Cornwell's account of Waterloo, the Battle of Bussaco is a fine climax to this book. English troops, unassisted by their Spanish allies, face annihilationwhen cornered by a vastly superior French force. Cornwell pays tribute to the French in this battle scene, as one of his characters note the brave and relentless pressing of the battle characteristic of them.

Adieu, Sharpe.
... Read more

9. Doctor Who: The Novel of the Film
by Gary Russell
Audio Cassette: Pages (1997-06-02)

Isbn: 0563381485
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Product Description
A novelization, read by Paul McGann, of a 1996 television film starring McGann as Doctor Who. In December 1999 an anachronistic British police box materializes in San Franciso's Chinatown amid a hail of bullets which find an unintentional target - a strange man who walks out of the police box. ... Read more

10. Brave New Town (Doctor Who: The New Eighth Doctor Adventures)
by Jonathan Clements
Audio CD: Pages (2008-03-31)
list price: US$14.80 -- used & new: US$10.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1844353044
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Big Finish Adventure, Doctor Who
"Brave New Town" is the first one of the Big Finish Productions that I listened to, and it seemed enjoyable; in fact, I prefer the audio dramas better than somebody reading a book to me!And it also features Paul McGann as Doctor #8 and he is one actor that was hardly on the television screen, outside of the others, so the dramas are a treat for me.I have collected quite a few others since this one and despite what others might rate some of them, I rate all of them GREAT!!! ... Read more

11. Sharpe's Battle
by Bernard Cornwell
Audio Cassette: Pages (1995-09-25)
list price: US$22.70 -- used & new: US$28.99
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Asin: 0001048929
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"Sharpe's Battle" takes Richard Sharpe and his Riflemen back to the spring of 1811 and one of the bitterest battles of the Peninsular War, in the narrow streets of Fuentes de Onoro. Sharpe finds himself given the responsibility for the Irish Company of the exiled King of Spain's household guard, a motley crew indeed with which to defeat the elite French brigade under Brigadier Guy Loup. Once more, Sharpe must fight against the odds to protect his honour, his career and his life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe Starts a Vendetta, Meets a Spanish Mata Hari, and Avoids Political Threats
Bernard Cornwell outdoes himself in building a powerful plot to illustrate the stubbornness of the often-scarred Captain Sharpe. In many of the most complicated stories in this series, the plot seems like an attempt to fill pages. In Sharpe's Battle, the enemies are vivid, obnoxious, dangerous, and intriguing. Sharpe continually tries to do the right thing and is punished for his efforts. For me, those elements make this war story work a lot better.

French Marshal Massena has been pulling back from his failed thrust toward Lisbon. The question now becomes whether or not Viscount Wellington can march his troops into Spain. In Sharpe's Battle, Wellington chooses to besiege Almeida so that the French troops there cannot be resupplied or relieved by Massena.

As the book opens, the captured King of Spain has ordered his personal guards unit made up of exiled Irishmen to report to Wellington to fight. The troops are led by a man whose mother was famous for her support for Irish rebels. Wellington and Major Hogan are doubtful that this "gift" is anything other than a Trojan Horse designed to create problems from within.

Sharpe is leading his men across the countryside when he spots French troops murdering civilians. Two of the men stay behind to assault a girl, and Sharpe captures them. In contrast to the rules of war, Sharpe refuses to exchange them . . . having them shot instead in front of their commanding officer, Brigadier General Guy Loup, who swears revenge on Sharpe. Loup's brigade has been using terrorist tactics to offset the partisans, and Sharpe wants Loup's head as much as Loup wants Sharpe's.

Back with the army, Sharpe is assigned to "train" the new troops under the leadership of timid Wagon Master General Runciman. Soon, the troops are deserting like rats leaving a sinking ship, but Sharpe wants more out of them. Loup senses an opportunity and decides to attach the remote camp where the royal guard is housed with massed force . . . helped by a little inside information. In the aftermath, Sharpe finds that he was become a pawn in a political game between the Spanish allies and Wellington over who will lead the combined forces into Spain.

Will Sharpe be able to escape from the claws of the factions?

The book culminates in an absolutely thrilling account of the battle of Fuentes de Onoro which featured an uncharacteristic mistake by Wellington, some remarkable soldiering, and unbelievable hand-to-hand combat within a village on a hillside.

The book ends with some remarkable ironies that will leave you thinking for some time to come.

This book features great writing and an thoroughly engaging story to test all aspects of Sharpe's mettle.

3-0 out of 5 stars Second half is excellent, but first half just limps along
Cornwell has written this series all out of order, which is okay, but his style also evolved somewhat as he went along. The later-written volumes are much cleaner and less "hammy." Which means if you read the series by internal chronology, as I've been doing, there's a certain amount of up-and-down from one volume to the next. Anyway, it's spring 1811 and Sharpe is back in Portugal commanding the badly depleted Light Company of the South EssexRegiment. Then he has to take responsibility for a battalion of exiled Irishmen who have been serving as a guard unit to the imprisoned King Ferdinand of Spain. They're all glitter and no substance and Sharpe is supposed to arrange for them to fail so Lord Wellington will have an excuse to send them packing without upsetting the Spanish. But of course, being a contrary sort of person, Sharpe decides to take them in hand and make them into an effective unit. Enter the French Loup Brigade, a specialized unit that hunts down partisans and makes broad use of terror to accomplish its ends, and its leader has a bone to pick with Sharpe regarding his summary execution of a couple of child-rapists. Add in Col. Runciman, the army's obese Wagon Master General, who knows he's no kind of soldier (his parents wanted him to become a bishop), whom Sharpe comes to like despite himself. And then there's a spy who's sleeping with the ne'er-do-well commander of the Irish battalion. All these plots and subplots come to a head in the little village of Fuentes do Onoro, where the British and Portuguese come within minutes of losing the battle to the much larger French army -- which will mean losing the entire war. All the melodrama with the Loup Brigade and Runciman takes up the first half of the book; it's not one of the author's better efforts, frankly. His account of the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, on the other hand, is gripping in its nearly cinematic detail. No one can make you see the streams of blood flowing down the hill and taste the salt from the bitten-off cartridges like Cornwell.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Ignore the picky reviews about this being patterned on the TV show.I watched the TV series, I have the DVDs, and I have read every Sharpe book I can lay my hands on either in hard copy or on my iPhone.I saw this on TV a long time ago and am reading it for the first time.Hate to lay it down.This is an excellent read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Massena and Wellington get it on with Sharpe's career on the line
Sharpe faces repercussions after he executes two French soldiers caught committing a massacre. Not that Wellington wants to cashier the legendary rifle captain, but his testy Spanish allies are looking for any excuse not to make him overall commander against Napoleon, and Sharpe's reprisal could be just the excuse they need.

Meanwhile an Irish guards unit appears. Previously they were royal guards to the Spanish king, now a prisoner of Napoleon. Their appearance now, after years of occupation, is suspicious. Are these Irish troops loyal? Why were they allowed to leave? Do they really want to fight for the Protestant King George III? Or were they sent by the French to sow discord in the British army? Wellington and his intelligence chief, Sharpe's pal Hogan, conclude the latter, and want to ease them away from the front without offending the Spanish.

Hogan hopes to demoralize them and sends the no-nonsense Sharpe to train these parade-ground troops, but Sharpe thinks they have potential if properly led, and gets to like them. Their leader, though, is wrapped around the finger of a French spy ¬ Juanita, the scheming mistress of Guy Loup. He is the brutal and ambitious French commander of the two soldiers Sharpe executed, conductor of an atrocity filled terror war against Spanish guerrillas and civilians, and Sharpe's sworn enemy.

Marshal Massena maneuvers to finish Wellington by cutting off the British line of retreat, while Wellington commits a disastrous error threatening him with annihilation. The forces meet in a series of savage clashes. As usual, great battle detail, in a bigger battle than has so far served as the backdrop of the Spanish episodes. The hand-to-hand combat is described in chilling, smell-of-death detail. Also quite good is the depiction of how a dozen types of that era's units - infantry, riflemen, grenadiers, various types of cavalry and so on - intricately support each other in combat and how they are best used against the enemy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe is the best
Any book by Cornwell is a well-written and enjoyable adventure.The Sharpe series is highly recommended. ... Read more

12. Scherzo (Doctor Who)
by Robert Shearman
Audio CD: Pages (2003-12-31)
list price: US$28.90 -- used & new: US$15.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1844350355
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Twas the night before Christmas..."
This is a fantastic story: claustrophobic, sinister, mysterious, macabre and yet poignant.

It's not easy to craft a tale that sends tingles down the spine and also tugs at the heartstrings, but Robert Sherman has succeeded in a spectacular fashion.Set on Christmas Eve in a house where time is out of sync, Shearman's script is perfectly paced.Each cliff-hanger is truly suspenseful, taking the story in a surprising new direction.

If you're even a causal fan of the Eighth Doctor and Charley audios, you simply MUST listen to this audio adventure.Not only does it deliver in its own right, but it also advances Charley's over-all story arc.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Doctor and Charley, together at last!?
"Scherzo" is best appreciated after listening to the previous two Eighth Doctor audios, "Neverland" and "Zagreus".

I can't discuss this without including *** SPOILERS FOR ZAGREUS *** so turn away now if you need to!

At the end of "Zagreus", the Doctor, incurably infected with the Universe-destroying Anti-time, exiles himself to the "Divergent Universe" (basically, a potential future that was cut off from the standard Doctor Who timeline) and thinks he's safely left Charley behind with Romana. Now, to his horror, he finds that Charley snuck back aboard the TARDIS.

Soon it's just the Doctor and Charley marooned in a blank white nothingness (the TARDIS lost). They're in a new universe, where nothing makes sense to them, and probably stuck there forever. ("Don't you understand? We. Are. Going. To. Die. Here.") The Doctor's lost it, and Charley wants to talk about their relationship. They've previously declared their love for one another, but did they really mean it? Of course Charley did, but what did the Doctor mean? ("You want to talk about /that/? Fine. Let's get it over with." As I hate the squishy "I wuv woo" companion stuff, that was about what I wanted to say.) On top of all this, there's some kind of weird evolving corpse that keeps appearing in their path, and an even weirder, also evolving, "music creature."

Astonishingly, this all works! Great script, great performances by Paul McGann and India Fisher. The Doctor is as dark as I've ever seen/heard him. His resentment of Charley is startling yet believable: he thought he was going to his death, and if she died with him, it'd negate his sacrifice. By the last episode, Doctor-companion "togetherness" is taken about as far as it can be. And now that this story exists, please, let us never have another one like it again! (Comparing this to Rose and the Tenth Doctor in the new series...ah, heck, no, you can't. "Scherzo" is infinitely superior.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jublie & Chimes at Midnight; both winners!
Note:For whatever reason there seems to be an odd bug that prevents me from putting up two different reviews for Jublie & the Chimes at Midnight so I am incorporating reviews to both episodes at once:We will start with the Chimes at Midnight:

This story (Chimes at Midnight) was voted the best Dr. Who audio years ago.There are several audios that are in my opinion better The Eye of the Scorpion (Doctor Who), The One Doctor (Doctor Who) andThe Condemned (Doctor Who) instantly come to mind but in terms of 8th doctor adventures it is hard to compete with this one.

The sheer suspense of this adventure as the Doctor and Charley find themselves trapped in an English Gentlemen's house in the early 20th century with murder, confusion and Plum Pudding and a clock whose chime brings death all about makes for a ripping yarn.

The plot is SO strong and the performances so good that it is amazing that it could be released just after the rather weak Invaders from Mars (Doctor Who).

A real Gem from the early Charley era, buy it!
Doctor Who Jubilee is one of the strangest episodes of the series you will listen to.

The Doctor and Evelyn arrive in an England that has been saved from the Daleks but appears to be in control of two different totally mad people.Will the Doctor be able to help and save the president or will Evelyn be able to help his wife to get them to where they are.Is the Dalek a prisoner or the true power.Will the Daleks finally slay the Doctor or will it be the other way around or both?And what about the Dalek song?

This story is so odd and throws so many curves that it is impossible to properly review it without giving away spoilers, so let me just say this...

Take the TV episode Dalek, mix it with Animal farm and add a confused Dalek a la Hugh the Borg and you get this story.

There is an odd comic turn to this story as well that will become apparent at the very begining as well but either way it is more than worthwhile.

... Read more

13. The King's Bishop (Reed Audio)
by Candace Robb
Audio Cassette: Pages (1996-06-01)

Isbn: 1860219969
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Owen Archer finds himself heading a deputation from York to Fountains Abbey to lobby the powerful Benedictine abbots. Owen's old comrade Ned also arrives, under suspicion of murder following the mysterious death of a page. Owen puts his trust in his friend, until two more people disappear. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The King's Bishop

I received the book in record time and it was in good condition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Skillful!
Robb has a real knack for taking an unexplained (and little known) moment from medieval history and building a mystery around it.This time around she's also managed to make two of the most frustrating characters in previous stories, the Archbishop of York and Alice Perrers (the king's mistress) much more sympathetic to the reader, while still layering both with an undercurrent of deceit and treachery.It's one thing to see these two veteran players of the system caught up in their own webs and at the mercy of others.It's another to realize that at least one of them might not have learned their lesson from it.Without moralizing heavily, Robb shows us that the idea of the political whims of the powerful impeding the pursuit of justice is not a modern concept, but has been around throughout the ages.Entertaining light reading, yes, but with just enough "mental meat" to chew on for a while after the book is done.That's the best kind of reading.And that's what this book is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fourth in the Owen Archer Series
Candace Robb has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D. in Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Literature. She divides her time between Seattle and the UK, frequently spending time in Scotland and York to research her books.

York is very close to my own home and many of the places mentioned in the Owen Archer books are still there to be seen and of course Archbishop John Thorseby is mentioned in the records of York Minster. All this adds spice for me and helps me to picture the time and events that took place. This is the fourth novel in what is proving to be a captivating series.

Owen Archer,the one-eyed former captain of a company of Welsh archers finds himself working on behalf of the king, to promote Wykeham as the new Bishop of Winchester. Owen places his old comrade Ned in charge of a company travelling to Rievaulx Abbey, north of the city of York. By doing this he hopes to dispel the rumours of Ned's involvement in a mysterious death. But is his plan about to back fire on him as days later, the murders and intrigue begin . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Very impressive
I started reading Candace Robb's Owen Archer series at the suggestion of one of my patients, beginning with her favorite The Cross Legged Knight.I was immediately entranced.The King's Bishop was my second visit to 14th Century York and the home of Lucie Wilton and Owen Archer. I was not disappointed.

Ms Robb is an historian just shy of her PhD and specializes in Medieval History.She is also a consummate storyteller.Her characters are multidimensional; their actions are plausible; and their setting is believable.As a mystery writer, she excels in complex motives.In the Cross Legged Knight, she was able to pull a Collin Dexter out of the hat by producing two possible endings.In The King's Bishop she is able to recreate the ambiance of court intrigue and the murders that arise when ambition is the ultimate measure of an individual and where everything rests on the success of plot and counter plot.

One of the things that took me a while to get used to was the ending to these tales.Not everything comes out happily ever after.The sleuth is not always able to denounce the villain at the end as one is accustomed to reading in stories of this sort.What the ending is, however, is very realistic.Even in modern times, the guilty are not always punished according to the dictates one would expect of "justice;"even justice itself is designed to support the class structure. It is precisely for this reason that we usually enjoy murder mysteries:the guilty are brought to justice, their crimes are made manifest to society, and they are punished accordingly.In Owen Archer mysteries, the guilty sometimes get away with their miserable acts just as they do in our own times.

The stories are wonderfully detailed with respect to historical accuracy, yet they do not overwhelm the reader.Ms Robb is not a pedant.She seeks to create a venue for the actions of her characters without making the reader feel as though there is a test at the end of the story!Most of the unfamiliar terms are understandable from context, although she does supply a glossary for those of us who like to have more information.She also includes a small bibliography and a short history of the period and the characters.And yes, many of the characters were real people from history.These short texts are generally at the end of the book so one needn't feel obligated to read them, but I've taken to reading them first.I enjoy a little background material before I get into the meat of the work.

Very impressive.I would recommend the book to anyone from advanced junior high to adult readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo!Another winner in the Owen Archer series!
The fourth book in the series does not disappoint.It has an intriguing story line with one of Owen's friends falling and love, and murder ensuing...
My favorite is still no. 2, The Lady Chapel, with Nun's Tale and this one right close behind.
I cannot say enough about how well the author Candace Robb writes these characters.I am not only interested in the plot and mystery of each book, but also the continuation of the lives of Owen, Lucia, Thoresby, Sir Robert, Jasper, Brother Michaelo, Riverwoman, the kids and even Lucie's Aunt.
I am now reading A Gift of Sanctuary, having just finished the Riddle of St. Leonards.These books are delicious reads truly. ... Read more

14. Embrace the Darkness (Doctor Who)
by Nicholas Briggs
Audio CD: Pages (2002-04-01)
list price: US$28.90 -- used & new: US$14.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1903654602
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15. Dazzer Plays on
by Steve May
 Audio Cassette: Pages (2002-04)

Isbn: 0754052923
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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What I really want is to score a goal for a realy team with shirts, on a real pitch with lines and flags, in a real goal with posts so the ball goes bulging into the net and everyone shouts "Yes!" But before you can score, you've got to make the team, and Danny is seriously useless.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Goal!Goal!
Danny is just a little slower than the other kids.He is big and awkward and can't always understand what's going on, but he does know he loves to play football and that he wants to make a goal!Chris would just like to get on with being the captain of his team and ignore Danny, but he just can't--the kid really has determination...Even when the other students make fun of him, Danny keeps trying and Chris is always ready to defend him.In an exciting climax everybody sees some unexpected action out of Danny--now affectionately known as "Dazzer" and this fast-moving story comes to an exciting end.McGann does a great job of voice inflection from one character to the next.The Aussi accent and sometimes strange words don't even matter because this reading is so clear and vivid.This is a great little story that leaves you with a smile. ... Read more

16. An Awfully Big Adventure
by Beryl Bainbridge
 Audio Cassette: Pages (1999-07)
list price: US$54.95 -- used & new: US$35.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0754003183
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It is 1950 and the Liverpool reporatory theatre company is rehearsing its Christmas production of Peter Pan, a story of childhood innocence and loss. Stella has been taken on as assistant stage manager and quickly becomes obsessed with Meredith, the dissolute director. But it is only when the celebrated O'Hara arrives to take the lead, that a different drama unfolds. In it, he and Stella are bound together in a past that neither dares to interpret. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Addled teen girl stirs up trouble at a theater in post-war England.

I've read half a dozen of Bainbridge's novels now.I've enjoyed them all to one degree or another, but this is the one I liked best.She touches greatness with this book;maybe because she drew on her own experiences.Wickedly...funny...I guess...although "funny" isn't really the right word.I don't think the English language has a word to describe the essential nature of Bainbridge's writing.She nudges you in the ribs throughout, only she uses a large kitchen knife to do the nudging, and she snaps it off at the hilt on the last page.Her books leave me torn between relief that the tension is finally broken and remorse that...um...the tension is finally broken.

Whatever this style of fiction is, if you like deeply ironic stories that keep giving you "Aha!So that's what she meant!" moments for days or weeks after you finish them, then you'll probably like this book.

On the other hand, this book is extremely confusing on a first read, for a couple of reasons.To describe one reason would be to reveal a spoiler, so I'll stay mum.Another reason is that characters are thrown into the story as if you already know who they are.It's a bit like tuning into a movie that's already half over.If you don't like that, you'll probably hate this book.A page-turner, in the sense of the typical easily-digested bestseller, it's not.This is genuine literature.

Incidentally, if you haven't read the book, and you think you know what the title means, let me assure you that you couldn't possibly be more wrong.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not really worth it
yes, this is a Very Good Book. it fulfills all the requirements of a Very Good Book, being tastefully short, having several flawed characters and one slightly ridiculous and sad main character. It might even be a Classic Good Book. But it isn't fun to read. It's dry, and sanctimonious, and you can't even bring yourself to be shocked at the dissapointing end, or to even care about the characters. Yes, it's very intellectual, but it isn't exciting, interesting, or even a little fun. Really very dissapointing.

4-0 out of 5 stars This has a really chilling ending and there's a lot about
Stella that I could relate to. It's a quick read and definitely worth picking up. It's a very secretive book, much like its heroine. She's a strange one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty, disturbing, and fascinating
Fair warning: Do not start reading *An Awfully Big Adventure* on a day when you've got a lot to do, because you will not be able to put this book down for even a second.This story of a 1950's theatre company centers on Stella, a 16-year-old stagehand who becomes involved, directly and indirectly, in the human drama that goes on behind the scenes of a production of *Peter Pan*.Her hopeless crush on the play's director leads her into all kinds of scandal, including an affair with another member of the company.This book is written in a witty style, and it really is hilarious, but many of the themes and events in the book are deeply disturbing, which makes for a very satisfying black comedy.If you don't enjoy dark humor, you'll probably hate this-- otherwise, you should totally read it.It's one of the most entertaining books I've read in ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
This spare little (205 pages) novel doesn't waste a word, yet signifies volumes.The highly honored Ms. Bainbridge, winner of the prestigious Whitbread Prize and short-listed (six times!) for the Booker Prize amply displays what all the fuss is about.She is that good.

The book is hard to categorize.It isn't a coming-of-age, a psychological thriller, a dazzling Peter Pan parable; it is all these things and more.

Stella raised in blue-collar, post WWII Liverpool is a troubled and troubling 15-year old who determinedly washed out of school and has been fixed up as a "student" (read gofer) at a provincial repertory company.She has no particular acting ambitions, but is certain she would be very good at it.We get a many-sided view of Stella; as she sees herself and as she is perceived by the people around her.Every scene and every word of dialogue interlocks like a jeweled timepiece.The reader is almost unaware of the ever-increasing momentum until it crashes upon you in a chilling finale.You think Ms. Bainbridge is through with you, but not quite.Just when you think you are utterly and completely emotionally drained, Ms. Bainbridge delivers a final twist, and now you know you are.I was left stunned.

An excellent example of fine prose.Highly recommended. ... Read more

17. Master Georgie
by Beryl Bainbridge
 Audio Cassette: Pages (1998-10)
list price: US$39.95
Isbn: 0754002241
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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From the author of EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, a historical novel set against the background of the Crimean War. George Hardy, Dr. Potter and Pompey Jones set out accompanied by a young woman, who is assumed to be Master Georgie's sister and are plunged into war. They survive the battle of Inkerman but always in the background is the mysterious woman.Amazon.com Review
Beryl Bainbridge seems drawn to disaster. First she tackled the unfortunateScott expedition to the South Pole in The Birthday Boys; later (butemphatically pre-DiCaprio) came the sinking of the Titanic, in Every Manfor Himself. Now, in her 3rd historical novel (and her 16thoverall), she takes on the Crimean War, and the result is a slim, grippingvolume with all of the doomed intensity of the Light Brigade's charge--but,thankfully, without the Tennysonian bombast. "Some pictures," a characterconfides, "would only cause alarm to ordinary folk." There's a warningconcealed here, and one that easily disturbed readers would do well toheed: Master Georgie is intense, disturbing, revelatory--and notalways pretty to look at.

Bainbridge's narrative circles round the enigmatic figure of George Hardy,a surgeon, amateur photographer, alcoholic, and repressed homosexual whocounters the dissipation of his prosperous Liverpool life by heading forthe Crimean Peninsula in 1854. His journey and subsequent tour of duty aretold in three very different voices: Myrtle, an orphan whose lifelongloyalty to her "Master Georgie" becomes an overriding obsession; PompeyJones, street urchin, fire-eater, photographer, and George's sometimelover; and Dr. Potter, George's scholarly brother-in-law, whose retreatfrom the war's carnage and into books takes on a tinge of madness.

United by a sudden death in a Liverpool brothel in 1846, these charactersplumb the curious workings of love, war, class, and fate. In between,Bainbridge frames an unforgettable series of tableaux morts: a dyingsoldier, one lens of his glasses "fractured into a spider's web"; adecapitated leg, toes "poking through the shreds of a cavalry boot"; twodead men "on their knees, facing one another, propped up by the pat-a-cakethrust of their hands." Glimpsed as if sidewise and then passed over inlanguage that is as understated as it is lovely, these are images that searinto the brain. Master Georgie is full of such moments, horrorspainted with an exquisite brush. --Mary Park ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars An historic novel of personal proportions
Historic fiction requires exceptional skills to capture character as well as time and place. Beryl Bainbridge's Master Georgie certainly excels in this regard, reminding me of the skills of Hilary Mantel. The plight of a Crimean War surgeon comes alive in all its gore and misery and insanity. The tale is told through the eyes of the surgeon's brother-in-law, his off and on boyfriend and photographic assistant, and Myrtle, an orphan informally adopted by the family and mother of his children. The Crimean War offers a backdrop of incompetent diplomatic and military leadership dissolving into a nightmare of gore, horror, disease, dysentery, crime, and cruelty. Bainbridge captures the disorganized international disaster with many horrible bloody details, having her characters do the best they can to survive the catastrophe. Yet, Bainbridge captures more than just history, time, place, and character for her writing is poetic and her attention to detail is superb. Early in the novel, Myrtle cleans the dog hair off of a tiger skin rug and as she pulls the white dog hairs from the brush, they float like dandelion seed up the wind-draft of the staircase and nestle on the chandelier. It is such details that make the book beautiful and horrible at the same time. The pace of the book is excellent and she moves the reader from critical chapter to chapter in the lives of the main characters. I almost think she wrote too little in this book. I would have loved to have the book twice as long. The character of Pompey Jones, the bisexual street urchin, is fascinating and I wish Bainbridge had written a novel just for this self-aware, self-assured, character to follow Master Georgie. Bainbridge actually focuses much of the novel on the character of Myrtle, and we learn as much about her amazing strength of character as we do about that of her sometime lover George Hardy. Myrtle and Pompey are both orphans, street wise, highly intelligent, and are recognized for their strengths by the Hardy family.
George Hardy is never fully explained and made visible to the viewer for his motives are somewhat hidden. As a homosexual or bisexual physician from an upper class home, it appears that his service in the Crimean is somewhat of a penance, a sacrifice, for his sexuality. He strives to be the perfect son to his father, mother, and siblings, yet the secret of his sexuality means that a critical part of him must be hidden from his family. George Hardy appears to sacrifice himself during the Crimean War due to his sexual orientation over which he has no control. In some ways this is also a study of gay guilt in the Victorian period and the mechanisms and strategies undertaken to atone for an unacceptable sexual orientation. George is contrasted with Pompey who seems much more at home with his bisexuality, recognizing it as more a part of himself and as an asset by which he can manipulate both men and women. The narrative of war is haunting, reminding me of the outstanding novels of Pat Barker about World War I. We read of handsome shirtless soldiers dying from eating unwashed cherries or horses bleeding to death while standing with bullet holes through their body. It is the third narrator, Dr. Potter, George's brother-in-law that offers unique looks at all the other characters. Potter is intellectual and foolish at the same time. He lacks practicality but his power of observation is evident. Overall the book is excellent, a post-modern masterpiece, telling a complex tale from multiple points of view but never giving the `definitive' story behind the story.

It's difficult to know quite where to begin here, in the face of such overwhelming praise from so many satisfied readers. It's not that it's badly written, just that it fails to illuminate Master Georgie's life. That after all should be its purpose, particularly where, as here, that person existed and at least one of the events described took place. The author is content to conjure up others to act as prisms, which would be a useful literary device if they illuminated the central figure, but instead we see him through a glass darkly. I may be in a minority of one, but it failed to live up to my expectations.

4-0 out of 5 stars Complex, moving, finely crafted
At first glance Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge suggests it might be quite a light book, an easy read, a period piece set in the mid-nineteenth century. This would be wrong. Master Georgie is no safe tale of country house manners, of marriages imagined by confined, embroidering young women. Beryl Bainbridge's Master Georgie is anything but a tale of such saccharine gentility.

Master Georgie is a surgeon and photographer, and the book is cast in six plates - photographic plates, not chapters. Death figures throughout. From start to finish morbidity crashes into the lives of the book's characters. We begin with Mr Moody, dead in a brothel bed, his host of minutes before in shock. Later we move to the Crimean War, where the carnage is graphic, extensive and apparently random. And even then individuals find their own personal ways of adding insult and injury to the suffering.

The book uses multiple points of view. We see things Master Georgie's way. Myrtle, an orphan he takes in, adds her perspective. The fussy geologist, Dr Potter, imprints his own version of reality. And still there are less than explained undercurrents, undeclared motives which affect them all. Thus, overall, Master Georgie is a complex and ambitious novel. Though it is set in a major war, the backdrop is never allowed to dominate. The characters experience the consequences of conflict and register their reactions, but we are never led by the nose trough the history or the geography of the setting.

But we also never really get to know these people. Myrtle, perhaps, has the strongest presence. She has a slightly jaundiced, certainly pragmatic approach to life. But even she finds the privations of wartime tough. Why the characters of Master Georgie are all so keen to offer themselves as support for the war effort is an aspect of the book that never fully revealed itself. And ultimately this was my criticism of Beryl Bainbridge's book. While the overall experience was both rewarding and not a little shocking, I found there was insufficient delineation between the characters and their differing motives. The beauty of the prose, however, more than made up for any shortcoming. The language created the mixed world of mid-nineteenth century politeness and juxtaposed this with the visceral vulgarities of soldiering and the general struggle of life. This rendered Master Georgie a complex, moving and quite beautiful book.

4-0 out of 5 stars An engrossing novel about love and war
Geroge Hardy, a surgeon and amateur photographer, discovers his father dead in the bed of another woman and hastens to bring the body home before his mother learns of it.Three people help with this task, and their lives are irrevocaly changed because of it.

The story is told through the eyes of those three people close to Master Georige.The first is Myrtle, a young orphan who is accepted and raised by the Hardy family.She immediately falls in love with Georgie, a love that will carry her from the streets of Liverpool to the battlefields of the Crimean War.Next is Pompey Jones, a young street boy who helps move the body of George's father and then discovers George's passion for young men.The last is Dr. Potter, a family friend who follows George all the way to the Battle of Inkermann, never understanding George's aversion to women or why he wants to attach himself to a unit during the awful war.Through their eyes, we watch George change from a young doctor in England dealing with his father's troublesome death to the hardened field doctor trying to save lives during a time of war.

This is a fantastic historical novel, with some of the most descriptive war scenes I've read in quite some time.Bainbridge makes you feel the confusion, fear and dread that the soldiers faced both due to battle and due to disease.At the same time, she shows how one life can effect others, either for better or for worse.A highly engrossing novel.

3-0 out of 5 stars ugh...I think I'll skip dinner.
I found this a very disturbing book of the type that you like against your own best instincts. I'm not saying it's bad, no. I'm just saying that if you want a nice, friendly, romantic (within reason) war book, look somewhere else. Children shouldn't read this, but it's good. Forgive me if I'm making no sense, but this is a very tricky book to review. ... Read more

18. Suicides in Kentucky: Suicides by Firearm in Kentucky, Death of Bill Sparkman, Dan Mcgann, Paul C. Barth, Hazel Farris, Phil Hankinson
Paperback: 36 Pages (2010-06-12)
list price: US$14.14 -- used & new: US$14.13
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Asin: 1158051956
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Purchase includes free access to book updates online and a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Chapters: Suicides by Firearm in Kentucky, Death of Bill Sparkman, Dan Mcgann, Paul C. Barth, Hazel Farris, Phil Hankinson, Cale Young Rice, Joseph Wesbecker, Wesley Neal Higdon. Excerpt: William Edwin "Bill" Sparkman, Jr. (c. 1958 September 12, 2009) was an American schoolteacher and Field Representative for the United States Census Bureau found dead in September 2009. After more than two months of investigation, his death was ultimately determined to be a suicide. Sparkman was raised in Mulberry, Florida, and was the oldest of three sons to a high school principal and a furniture company executive. Sparkman was an altar boy as a child. In high school he wrote for the local weekly newspaper, The Mulberry Press, and was the football team manager. An Eagle Scout, he worked for the Boy Scouts of America as an adult, overseeing the programs in Polk and Hillsborough counties. This work later took him to Atlanta, Georgia, then London, Kentucky in 1993. Once in Kentucky he raised his adopted son alone, joined a local Methodist Church, and for nine years worked at an elementary school as a volunteer and instructional assistant. In 2005 Sparkman began part-time work with the United States Census Bureau and studied education with Western Governors University, an online college. In 2007, after medical treatment of an ingrown toe nail, Sparkman's doctor identified a cyst which led to his diagnosis of Stage-3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He continued teaching while receiving chemotherapy treatments from November 2007 to March 2008, during which time he completed his academic coursework and was invited to speak at the commencement ceremony at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah. After graduation he pursued a position as a middle school math teacher. S... More: http://booksllc.net/?id=24487447 ... Read more

19. Actors From Merseyside: Actors From Kirkby, Actors From Liverpool, Ringo Starr, Craig Charles, Betty Marsden, Rex Harrison, Paul Mcgann
Paperback: 558 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$61.63 -- used & new: US$16.61
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Asin: 1158164238
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Chapters: Actors From Kirkby, Actors From Liverpool, Ringo Starr, Craig Charles, Betty Marsden, Rex Harrison, Paul Mcgann, Tom Baker, Leonard Rossiter, Michael Williams, Ken Dodd, David Morrissey, Jason Isaacs, Cilla Black, Kim Cattrall, Edward Askew Sothern, Gillian Kearney, Annie Russell, Frankie Vaughan, Peter Serafinowicz, Elisabeth Sladen, Alexei Sayle, Lesley Sharp, Jennifer Ellison, Ray Quinn, Cornelia Frances, Les Dennis, Tom Bell, Charles H. Workman, Margi Clarke, Malandra Burrows, Magda Szubanski, Philip Olivier, Kate Robbins, Liza Tarbuck, Arthur Askey, Geoffrey Hughes, Ian Hart, Joseph Dempsie, Alison Steadman, Derek Nimmo, Claire Sweeney, Stephen Graham, May Whitty, Antony Booth, Terry O'neill, Rita Tushingham, Doug Bradley, Faith Brown, Kenneth Cope, Katy Carmichael, Jean Alexander, Patricia Medina, Ozzie Yue, Andrew Schofield, Mark Mcgann, Gia Scala, John Gregson, Bill Dean, Peter Adamson, Tony Forsyth, Clive Swift, John Robinson, Tony Haygarth, Neil Fitzmaurice, Charles James Mathews, Graham Bickley, Kerrie Hayes, Mark Moraghan, Paul Barber, Robb Wilton, Amelia Warner, Ted Robbins, John Scott Martin, Leon Lopez, Frank Pettingell, Sue Jenkins, Tricia Penrose, Tina Malone, Megan Burns, Louis Emerick, Shaun Evans, Rupert Davies, Alicya Eyo, Cathy Tyson, Clive Hornby, Lizzie Hopley, Paul Angelis, Michael Angelis, Christine Tremarco, Kent Riley, Joe Mcgann, Sam Grey, Samuel Kane, Simon O'brien, Barry Sloane, Phina Oruche, Vickie Gates, Sunetra Sarker, David Yip, Tony Maudsley, Brian Oulton, Avril Angers, Sharon Maughan, Philip Whitchurch, Gerald Sim, David Swift, Tom Georgeson, Victor Mcguire, Stephen Mcgann, Paul Usher, Anne Rogers, Pauline Fleming, Michael Starke, Mark Womack, David Burke, Dean Sullivan, Chris Perry-Metcalf, Ravi Kapoor, Russell Boulter, Gary Bleasdale, Gladys Ambrose, Richard Bird, Jean Boht, Alexandra Fletcher, John Warburton, Cheryl Murray, Andrée Melly, Raymond Pickard, George Christopher, Ga...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=25832 ... Read more

20. Suicides by Firearm in Kentucky: Dan Mcgann, Paul C. Barth, Phil Hankinson, Joseph Wesbecker, Wesley Neal Higdon
Paperback: 24 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$14.14 -- used & new: US$14.13
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Asin: 1158587074
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Chapters: Dan Mcgann, Paul C. Barth, Phil Hankinson, Joseph Wesbecker, Wesley Neal Higdon. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 22. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: Dennis Lawrence "Dan" McGann (July 15, 1871, Shelbyville, Kentucky December 13, 1910, Louisville, Kentucky) was a professional baseball player who played first base in the Major Leagues from 1896-1908. He would play for the Boston Braves, the original Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1910, he would join the American Association team in Milwaukee. In 1898, he played one year on the original, legendary Orioles teams. McGann finished second on the team in RBIs with 106, behind Joe Kelley. This talented Baltimore club featuring hall-of-famers Wilbert Robinson, John McGraw, Hughie Jennings and Willie Keeler finished second that year and would break up soon after. McGann returned briefly to the Orioles in 1902, but by July Giants owner Andrew Freedman had purchased controlling interest in the Baltimore club and finally broke up what remained of the original club, releasing McGann Roger Bresnahan Joe McGinnity Mike Donlin and Joe Kelley among others. Playing under manager John McGraw with the New York Giants for most of six seasons seemed to bring McGann a measure of consistency. He started at first base and was even named team captain on one of the great early dynasties in baseball. During this time, he was occasionally referred to as "Cap" McGann. The Giants finished in first place two straight seasons and won one World Series, featuring all-time pitcher Christy Mathewson. Despite McGann's talent as a player, he batted over .300 four times in his career as well as stealing over 400 bases with more than 100 triples, and genuine popularity with his fans, McGann...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=11529194 ... Read more

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