I've finished several books since midnight this morning.
First, the library book Hunting Eichmann which deals with the search for, capture of, and trial of Adolph Eichmann, one of the key bureaucrats in the SS of Hitler's Germany, who was caught hiding in Argentina by Mossad agents after WWII. Well-written, full of interesting detail.
Second was Osprey Men-at-Arms #470: Roman Centurions 753 - 31 BC: Teh Kingdom and the Age of Consuls, which did a fair job of keeping me interested in the topic.
Then, Osprey Raid #2: Israel's Lightning Strike: The Raid on Entebbe 1976, very interesting read as it details much about the history of terrorists and airline hijackings.
Finally, for now, anyway, was Osprey Men-at-Arms #2: The Arab Legion which details the history of the British training of, and use of what became the Jordanian military.
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. 299 pages
This was another reread, as I've managed to get hold of the second and third books in this series and wanted to refresh my memory of the first one before embarking on them.
Amelia Peabody, a sensible Victorian spinster, inherits a comfortable fortune and sets off to see the world. In Rome she rescues another lady who has foolishly run off with her lover and then been abandoned by him and the two of them set off to Egypt together where they encounter a mummy that won't lie down and the archaeologically inclined Emerson brothers.
Great fun - nicely written (and in the first person, which always appeals to me) with engaging characters and an interesting plot. I look forward to reading more of these.
When a flock of herons wheeled overhead at the moment of Devi's birth, it seemed that her life would be touched by fate... As a child, Devi befriends a young boy whose mother has died in tragic circumstances. Over the years, Devi and Devanna become inseparable as they go to school together and learn more about the extended family that surrounds them. However things change when Devi meets Muthi, a young man who has killed a tiger and is feted as a hero. Although she is still a child and Muthi is a man, Devi vows that one day she will marry him. It is this love that will gradually drive a wedge between her and her friend Devanna, who has been taken under the wing of a local missionary. For Devi is blind to the fact that Devanna himself has fallen for her. Devanna leaves the village to study medicine, in the hope that when he returns Devi will see his worth and return his love, but then a tragedy changes the fate of all three, with far-reaching consequences for the generations to come.
At a little under 600 pages this is quite a big book. The story however is a huge, sweeping, page turner of a saga. Beginning in 1878 with the birth of Devi, the narrative follows the fortunes of her, and childhood playmate Devanna and their families through to the second world war. Charting how one tiny decision or act can change the direction of a life completely. Also how so often people's choices were (and maybe still are) limited due to family pride, tradition and social convention. I can't say I liked many of the characters in the novel, some I sympathised with more than others, Mandanna's character's are deeply flawed, that does make them interesting however.
For the first 200 or 300 pages the drama comes thick and fast, bad thing after terrible tragedy, after horrible sadness, I found a bit exhausting, I often like a rather quieter read. The bang, bang, bang of the early events in this novel are a tad unrelenting. However then things settle down - a little! the pace becomes a little less frenetic. The writing is very good, and the story overall is a wonderful breathless tale, of families, secret loves, coffee plantations and the changing India. Having read this mainly over the weekend - and would say it's a great book for holiday/down time when you can gulp it down in huge draughts.