Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Spring 1593. England is a powder keg of rumour and fear. Plague rages, famine is rife, the ageing Queen's couriers scheme: Elizabeth's Golden Age is truly tarnished. Meanwhile Spain watches and waits - and plots.Into this turmoil a small cart clatters through the streets of London, carrying a deadly load. It is the first in a wave of horrific bombing attacks on the Dutch immigrant community that will change John Shakespeare's life for ever.Driven on by cold rage, Shakespeare's investigations will take him from magnificent royal horseraces to the opulent chambers of Black Luce's brothel, from the theatrical underworld of Marlowe and Kyd to the pain-wracked torture cells of priest-hunter Richard Topcliffe, and from the elegant offices of master tactician Robert Cecil to the splintering timbers of an explosive encounter at sea. As Shakespeare delves ever deeper, he uncovers intricate layers of mystery and deception that threaten the heart not only of the realm, but of all that he holds dear.
Frizer looked across at Robert Poley and grinned foolishly. ‘He came at me.’‘Boar’s balls, Mr Frizer, give me the dagger,’ Poley said angrily.Frizer held out the dagger. All the living eyes in the room followed the tentative movement of the blood-red blade. A sliver of brain hung like a grey-pink rat’s tail from its tip. Poley took the weapon and wiped it on the dead poet’s white hose. Suddenly, he struck out with the hilt and caught Frizer a hard blow on the side of his head. Frizer lurched backwards. Poley pushed him to the floor and jumped on him, knees on chest, hitting his head again, harder, pounding him until Nick Skeres tried to pull him away.
Poley stood back, shook off Skeres’s hands and brushed down his doublet with sharp irritation. He was not a tall man, but he was strongly-built and the veins in his muscled forearms and temples bulged out and pulsed. He kicked Frizer in the ribs. ‘You were only supposed to gag him and apply the fingerscrew, you dung-witted dawcock. Not kill him.’
The afternoon sunlight of late May slanted in through the single, west-facing window. The presence of the men and the body made the room feel smaller than it really was. It was cleanly furnished; a well-turned settle made of fine-grained elm, a day-bed where the body now lay, a table of polished walnut with benches either side and half-drunk jugs of ale atop it. The floorboards were scuffed from the dust off the men’s shoes; there was, too, a lot of blood and a few splashes of ale on the wood between the table and the day-bed.
‘And you…’ Poley turned to Skeres. ‘You were supposed to hold him. He was out of his mind with drink and you couldn’t keep a grip.’ Ingram Frizer pulled himself painfully to his feet. He was doubled over, clutching his side where Poley’s boot had connected.
Poley handed him the dagger. ‘Here, take it. And listen well: it was his dagger – Marlowe’s dagger. He came at you, pummelled your head with it. You fought back. In the struggle, the blade pierced his eye. You were defending yourself – it was an accident.’
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
February 1907, Block Island. Residents of this tiny Rhode Island community awaken to a scene of tragedy: During a midnight blizzard, a New York–bound steamer carrying 157 passengers has been destroyed at sea. Volunteers rush to the beach to organize a search-and-rescue effort—but for most of the passengers, hope is already lost. A century later, residents of the island are busy preparing for the summer season and debating the merits of a proposed wind farm near the beach. No one expects that those long-forgotten passengers may have something to say about the project, but the restless spirits are furious that their final resting place may be disturbed—and turn to Anza to help them protect it. If spirit-world preservationists aren’t enough, Anza also has to face the uncomfortable possibility that her five-year-old son, Henry, has inherited her gift. And then there’s that handsome fisherman whose charms are proving difficult to ignore.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
We watched the DVD last night of Part 1 of the Harry Potter movie to get Steve back up to speed on what was going on. We had discussed going to the movie either tonight or Tuesday ... right now I'm pushing for Tuesday.
We didn't sleep well last night. It was just hot and we leave the windows/french door open so there were mosquitoes for some reason. Steve had to get up early for the gun match for Big Sky State Games. I took the boys for a walk and then a cold shower (ah, felt soooo good) and then went back to bed.
The day is shot. I'm thinking having a relaxing rest of the day and going to bed at a decent time will be best. And on Tuesdays they have price breaks on the popcorn and pop -- if they're still going to do that on this first week of Pottermania.
My only goal for the day is to work on the newsletter. I'm so behind on it.
So... stay cool, stay hydrated and see ya tomorrow.
PK the Bookeemonster
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
There’s no police training stronger than a cop’s instinct. Faith Mitchell’s mother isn’t answering her phone. Her front door is open. There’s a bloodstain above the knob. Her infant daughter is hidden in a shed behind the house. All that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations taught Faith Mitchell goes out the window when she charges into her mother’s house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room. She sees a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn’t see is her mother. . . . “You know what we’re here for. Hand it over, and we’ll let her go.” When the hostage situation turns deadly, Faith is left with too many questions, not enough answers. To find her mother, she’ll need the help of her partner, Will Trent, and they’ll both need the help of trauma doctor Sara Linton. But Faith isn’t just a cop anymore—she’s a witness. She’s also a suspect. The thin blue line hides police corruption, bribery, even murder. Faith will have to go up against the people she respects the most in order to find her mother and bring the truth to light—or bury it forever.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
This was the first class of its kind, and its novelty—or perhaps its mystery—made it the most talked-about ever offered at tiny Jasper College. As mandated by the school president, there were nine students in the classroom. They were the best of the best in the undergrad literature program at Jasper. Now, on the first night of the semester, they waited anxiously for their professor to emerge on the screen.
The class was LIT 424: Unraveling a Literary Mystery. It had been offered at night because this was the only viable time, the only hour when the warden would allow the murderer free to teach. He would teach, if you believed the rumors, from a padded cell. Others said he would be in front of a greenscreen, with special effects to replicate a lectern before him—an illusion of a classroom. The rest claimed he would simply be shackled to his chair in an orange jumpsuit because state law prohibited anything else. They had to remember what this man had done, these people said. They had to remember who he was.
The room was warm with the closeness of bodies. The chalkboard seemed to glisten, even though the Vermont night outside was bitterly cold. The quads were mostly silent, save for the protesters who stood the stipulated two hundred yards from Culver Hall, where the night class would be held. The class met in the basement of Culver for this reason: the powers-that-be at Jasper did not want the protesters to be able to see what was happening on that TV screen.
The few students who were out at that cold hour witnessed the nervous candlelight of the protest vigil from a distance, through the copse of beech and oak that dotted the woodsy campus. A light snow fell, flakes rushing upward in the January wind like motes of dust. Not far away, Lake Champlain purred in the wind. It was as if, one freshman said as he looked down at the scene from a high dormitory window, someone were about to be executed.
Just beyond the protesters, in a building that was dark save for a few bottom-floor lights, a pair of state policemen sat in a room the size of a broom closet, drinking coffee and watching their own blank feed on a tiny screen.
Unraveling a Literary Mystery—this too had been contested. The president of the college chose the title because it sounded to him fitting for what the professor had in mind. But in fact the president did not know exactly what the class would entail. He could not know; the murderer had only hinted at a "literary game" his students would play in the class. About his syllabus he had spoken to no one.
It was this inability to even guess at what was about to happen that silenced the classroom now. In the weeks before the semester had begun, when they went home to their families on Christmas break, the students who had registered for LIT 424 had time to think. To weigh their decision to take this strange course. They wondered if something could go wrong in that lecture hall, if their professor could somehow . . . it sounded crazy, yes. Most of them did not say it aloud, or if they did, they spoke only to their roommates or their closest friends. Slight whispers, torn away by the wind, carried off into nothingness.
If he could somehow get out.
This was what they were thinking in those final seconds. Some of them talked about their other classes that semester, flipped through textbooks and highlighted paragraphs in trembling arcs of yellow. But mostly they sat, saying nothing. They stared at the dead television screen. They wondered, and they waited.
Finally the television went to a deeper black, and everyone sat up straight. Then the box began to hum, an electrical, nodish oohing, a kind of flatline that moved left to right across the room. Their professor—the MacArthur-winning genius, once a shining star at nearby Dumant University and the closest thing to celebrity a professor of literature could possibly be, the same man who had viciously murdered two graduate students twelve years before—was ready to appear.
Then the blackness dissolved and the noise died away and the professor's face came to them on the screen. They had seen pictures of him, many of them preserved in yellowed newsprint. There were images of the man in a dark suit (at his trial), or with his wrists shackled and smiling wolfishly (moments after the verdict), or with his hair swept back, wearing a tweed jacket and a bow tie (his faculty photograph at Dumant in 1980).
Those photographs did not prepare the students for the man on the screen. This man's face was harder, its lines deeper. He was in fact wearing a simple orange jumpsuit, the number that identified him barely hidden beneath the bottom edge of the screen. The V of his collar dipped low to reveal the curved edge of a faded tattoo just over his heart. Although the students did not yet know this, the tattoo was of the thumb-shaped edge of a jigsaw puzzle piece.
The professor's eyes seemed to pulse. Sharp, flinty eyes that betrayed a kind of dangerous intelligence. The second the students saw him there was a feeling not of surprise, not of cold shock, but rather of This, then. This is who he is. One girl sitting toward the back whispered, "God, I didn't know he was so . . ." And then another girl, a friend sitting close by, finished, "Sexy." The two students laughed, but quietly. Quietly.
Now the professor sat forward. In the background the students could see his two prison guards, could make out everything but their faces—the legs of their dark slacks, the flash of their belt buckles, and the leathery batons they carried in holsters. One of them stood with legs spread wide and the other was more rigid, but otherwise they mirrored each other. The professor himself was not behind a pane of glass; the camera that was trained on him was not shielded in any way. He simply sat at a small table, his uncuffed hands before him, his breathing slow and natural. His face bore the slightest hint of a smile.
"Hello," he said softly. "My name is Richard Aldiss, and I will be your professor for Unraveling a Literary Mystery. Speak so I can hear you."
"Hello, Professor," someone said.
"We're here," said another.
Aldiss leaned toward a microphone that must have been just out of the camera's view. He nodded and said, "Very good. I can hear you and you can hear me. I can see you and you can see me. Now, let us begin."
Friday, July 8, 2011
Fifteen years earlier. Jasper College is buzzing with the news that famed literature professor Richard Aldiss will be teaching a special night class called Unraveling a Literary Mystery—from a video feed in his prison cell. In 1982, Aldiss was convicted of the murders of two female grad students; the women were killed with axe blows and their bodies decorated with the novels of notoriously reclusive author Paul Fallows. Even the most obsessive Fallows scholars have never seen him. He is like a ghost. Aldiss entreats the students of his night class to solve the Fallows riddle once and for all. The author’s two published novels, The Coil and The Golden Silence, are considered maps to finding Fallows’s true identity. And the only way in is to master them through a game called the Procedure. You may not know when the game has begun, but when you receive an invitation to play, it is an invitation to join the elite ranks of Fallows scholars. Failure, in these circles, is a fate worse than death. Soon, members of the night class will be invited to play along . . . Present day. Harvard professor Alex Shipley made her name as a member of Aldiss’s night class. She not only exposed the truth of Paul Fallows’s identity, but in the process uncovered information that acquitted Aldiss of the heinous 1982 crimes. But when one of her fellow night class alums is murdered— the body chopped up with an axe and surrounded by Fallows novels—can she use what she knows about Fallows and the Procedure to stop a killer before each of her former classmates is picked off, one by one?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
and, carved into the stone at the corpse's feet, the word Sparta . . . The Overseer of Marcus Crassus's estate has been murdered, apparently by two slaves bent on joining Spartacus's revolt. The wealthy, powerful Crassus vows to honor an ancient law and have his ninety-nine remaining slaves slaughtered in three days. Gordianus the Finder is summoned from Rome by a mysterious client to find out the truth about the murder before the three days are up.
It was published in 1992 and has 336 pages. This is a library book.
PK the Bookeemonster
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencesFor abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1Georgia: Button Gwinnett Lyman Hall George Walton
Column 2North Carolina: William Hooper Joseph Hewes John PennSouth Carolina: Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward, Jr. Thomas Lynch, Jr. Arthur Middleton
Column 3Massachusetts:John HancockMaryland:Samuel ChaseWilliam PacaThomas StoneCharles Carroll of CarrolltonVirginia:George WytheRichard Henry LeeThomas JeffersonBenjamin HarrisonThomas Nelson, Jr.Francis Lightfoot LeeCarter Braxton
Column 4Pennsylvania: Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George RossDelaware: Caesar Rodney George Read Thomas McKean
Column 5New York: William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis MorrisNew Jersey: Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark
Column 6New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett William WhippleMassachusetts: Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge GerryRhode Island: Stephen Hopkins William ElleryConnecticut: Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver WolcottNew Hampshire: Matthew Thornton