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The centurion
The centurion
by Leonard Wibberley
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from $1.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Roman Britain to Judea, November 26, 2004
This review is from: The centurion (Hardcover)
Longinus is the traditional name of the Roman centurion at the Crucifixion. Wibberley's historical novel makes Longinus a weary veteran captured by Britons in youth. Longinus escapes, brings the legions to kill the Britons, and Ruafocus, his British father-in-law, becomes his servant. The delicate relationship between the men culminates in Longinus asking Jesus to heal Ruafocus. It is a very moving, delicately structed novel, with a wonderful feeling for the dawn of Christianity in the Roman world.


No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting
No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting
by Anne L. Macdonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.85
78 used & new from $1.51

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheep to Sheer Pleasure, November 3, 2004
A non-knitter, I find this book a continuous pleasure. Macdonald's humor and serious interest knit well together. She looks at different aspects of women's work during peace and war. Men and boys who knit are discussed too, but the emphasis is on women knitting.


Midnight Mass
Midnight Mass
by F. Paul Wilson
Edition: Hardcover
87 used & new from $0.01

10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Muddled Mess, July 13, 2004
This review is from: Midnight Mass (Hardcover)
The first chapter, printed at the end of _The Haunted Air_, is crisp vintage Wilson. On the strength of that, I bought the hardcover! The mildly offensive "Author's Note" sets the tone for a novel that seems to be awkwardly and unwisely resurrected from the author's back files. In Stephen King's words, "Sometimes dead is better."
Every imaginable cliche and stereotype appear. A rabbi wavers between stage Yiddish and standard English. A whiskey priest is, of course, Irish American, and infatuated with a religious sister. His late 20s niece, cutely and improbably baptized Lacey, calls him "Unk." Adorable. Lacey is a remarkably boring militant feminist lesbian atheist with lots of corny Celtic tattoos and bulging biceps. Her "anarchist" hero is, of all people, Madelyn Murray O'Hair! The religious Sister of Mercy (a la Leonard Cohen?) is Carole, and her best buddy is a stage Irish Sister Bernadette, with an accent to make Barry Fitzgerald vomit. Even the vampires seem as wooden as if already impaled.
In _The Tomb_ and other "Adversary" novels, Wilson shows regrettable ignorant and juvenile religious prejudice. Sheer story-telling ability makes the reader forgive this. Not here! He has 5 year old altar boys, and adolescent fantasies of an empty Pepsi can used for a chalice -- no one in New Jersey could find a drinking glass or coffee mug? Not even the woman who bakes bread and heats up stew?
At a guess, this was written in the early 1970s, rejected for everything from bad writing to tasteless bigotry, and finally published based on later success. Wilson is now a fine writer, and this book is terribly unfair to his present skill. Don't read this, but do buy the "Repairman Jack" and most of his other excellent novels!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2011 1:06 AM PDT


Gateways (Repairman Jack Novels)
Gateways (Repairman Jack Novels)
by F. Paul Wilson
Edition: Hardcover
64 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gates of Hell, July 13, 2004
Warning: You should first read Wilson's brilliant short story "The Barrens." The novel will impress without that background, but with it there are greater depths and the mention of nexus points are more ominous.
Jack reluctantly encounters his family when his father, recently relocated to a Florida retirement community, is in a terrible car accident. After supercilious years of looking down on his father as an innocent unacquainted with "real" life, Jack discovers a ruthless, extremely self-disciplined, and honorable man. This Korean War veteran and Marine sniper is his father -- and unrealized role model.
The Everglades are wonderfully evoked here, with touches of Zora Neale Hurston's lush description. The novel picks up the pathos of the "clan" of nexus-deformed persons trapped by their "home." Carl, the only one to escape to near-normal life, is touching and charming.
Anya is a great creation, and her dog Oyv is perfect. Apparently she'll turn up in the future -- but could Wilson bring back Oyv too?


The Haunted Air : Repairman Jack (Repairman Jack) (Repairman Jack Novels)
The Haunted Air : Repairman Jack (Repairman Jack) (Repairman Jack Novels)
by F. Paul Wilson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
108 used & new from $0.01

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Repairing Queens, July 13, 2004
Wilson's series is always engaging, with his New Jersey born Jack the rebel repairer. This one is outstanding, and moves from both his standard Manhattan and suburban settings to the borough of Queens. Lyle and Charlie Kenton are very attactive additions to the series; I hope to see more of them!
There are weaknesses. Wilson isn't entirely comfortable with the Kenton brothers, and his ghastly version of Detroit black street language is a distracting nuisance. Lyle, the very upwardly mobile, articulate, and sharply intelligent con artist, is more realistic. Gia from Iowa remains as boring as her unbearably cutesy daughter, but the reader can skip past her.
Otherwise it's a lively, exciting, well-developed novel, with flashes of acid humor. The settings are very well-handled, and the pacing is breathless. Grab a copy for the beach or subway!
Now when will Dr. Wilson set a story in the Bronx? We have Edgar Allan Poe's cottage and Woodlawn Cemetery, so well written of in Peter Beagle's _A Fine and Private Place_, to tempt him!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2011 6:19 AM PDT


City of Angels (Shannon Saga, Book 1)
City of Angels (Shannon Saga, Book 1)
by James Scott Bell
Edition: Paperback
130 used & new from $0.01

10 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fallen Angel, April 6, 2004
Usually Bethany House books are gentle, mildly inspirational novels. Alas, Ms. Peterson and Mr. Bell decide to ruin a nice little costume murder mystery, on the lines of the Goldy Bear series, by injecting a great deal of illogical religious bigotry that actually interferes with the story. The flashbacks to evil nuns and similar nonsense are sheer bad writing.
By the way, it is impossible to have a character whose real name is Kathleen Shannon. She might as well be called Kathleen Mississippi! Shannon is the name of a river, and related to a Celtic deity. It has never been a family name, though it has sometimes been taken as an alias. Nor can her father be Harry T. Shannon! Henry and its diminuative Harry are not and never have been popular in Ireland, due to the actions of Henry VII of England against the Irish.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2014 5:40 AM PDT


101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary
101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary
by Sister Patricia Proctor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.43
64 used & new from $0.49

20 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Something to hold on to...", October 31, 2003
The "inspirational" stories range from the gooily sentimental and self-centered to the embarassingly erroneous. One writer claims Mother Seton had a devotion to the "Miraculous" Medal, though she died in 1821 and Our Lady of the Medal appeared in 1830! Many writers are very unfamiliar with Catholicism in general, and at least one talks of a discredited apparition of Our Lady. There are some good things in the Appendices. Otherwise, it reads like "Touched by an Angel" meets "Highway to Heaven." I recommend instead Maisie Ward's _The Splendor of the Rosary_, written at the end of WW II. There a shell-shocked non-Catholic describes the rosary as "something to hold on to...," as Caryll Houselander prays "lying flat on the floor with the house rocking and black smoke all around."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2007 12:14 PM PST


Conspiracy Theory: A Gregor Demarkian Novel
Conspiracy Theory: A Gregor Demarkian Novel
by Jane Haddam
Edition: Hardcover
75 used & new from $0.01

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philadelphia Story, September 5, 2003
Long before a 19th novel, Conan Doyle was ready to kill Sherlock Holmes. Agatha Christie wearied of Hercule Poirot. _Somebody Else's Music_ suggested Haddam was ready to move on to different series characters; her other series ran only to a few good mysteries.
Haddam has a good plot, based on contemporary social and economic problems. The story line is strong, and appropriately unnerving. Unfortunately, the characters drift. Father Tibor swears mildly, but too often. Bennis is almost invisible, other characters are completely off stage. Gregor and John Henry Newman Jackman can't carry the action alone, and the reader misses the rich mixture of well-developed characters. The names could be changed easily, and the book presented as a non-series thriller.
It's a good mystery, but not up to her outstanding standards. On the other hand, I do look forward to her next venture. She's a fine writer, and it should be exciting to meet her new characters.


Hanging by a Thread (Needlecraft Mystery)
Hanging by a Thread (Needlecraft Mystery)
by Monica Ferris
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
191 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crewel Jewel, May 19, 2003
The 6th Crewel World mystery is in the best Agatha Christie mood: the slightly ditsy Betsy Devonshire is asked to clear up a mystery deeply shadowing several lives. Is a murderer escaping justice, or is an innocent man suffering calumny? Although the plot is slight, it's engaging as a believable example of the currents in small town life. The reader wants Betsy to discover the truth and relieve the grief of various characters. Ferris has diversified the Excelsior population; none of the characters or interests are fully developed yet, but they're promising! It's always enjoyable to see needlework treated as a serious interest of sensible people...


Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920
Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920
by James M. O'Toole
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $1.33

12 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Survival of Bigotry, April 25, 2003
The large, extremely intelligent, and admirable Healy family is treated badly by an author who doubts the sincerity of vocations and religion in general. Far from "passing for white," the Healy brothers suffered double persecution; by birth they were despised as both Irish and African, and by religion they were despised as Catholic in a virulantly anti-Catholic America. They were illegitimate according to American laws, though they were legitimate in a Europe that accepted the interracial marriage of their parents. Patrick Healy became a Jesuit not to "pass for white," but out of love. He became President of Georgetown University. James and Sherwood Healy became secular priests, and James died Bishop of Portland, Maine. This author is as narrow-minded as 19th c. "Know Nothing" Nativists in his attitude towards truly good people.


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