Most everyone else does Top Ten lists at the end of a year. So I’ll do the same.
Except mine’s a Top Five. Exactly the same, just five less.
And at the start of the the next year.
Which is where we’re at now.
Right…From the books I read in 2013 (so hold your horses with the “they weren’t published in 2013!”), these are the books that I enjoyed the most. That means, I look back at reading them with fondness, respect, enjoyment, thoughts of ‘must read that again sometime soon’ and all that goes with a book that makes a big impression on me – apart from it falling off the shelf on me foot, that is.
They’re in alphabetical order – except the one I really do have to single out as Speesh Book of the Year™. It really was that good.
Dark City Blue – Luke Preston
Luke Preston is, like his lead character Tom Bishop, a force of nature. Check him out on Twitter, for a start. If you’re not roughed up in one way or another by him, Dark City Blue – or the follow up Out of Exile, which I’ve got, though not read yet but have seen enough to know it’s gonna be equally high-octane, and then some – check your pulse, you may be dead.
This was the only book to also make it into my Top Five of the first half of the year.
Fatherland – Robert Harris
If you’ve read, or even read the backs of (great) books by David Downing, Philip Kerr and all those, all great books/authors – then know that this is where it all comes from. Not in plot, as they don’t deal with an alternative future after, or from, the Second World War, but in style, and tone certainly. And, I knew I was right to also spy the influence of the great Len Deighton in there as well. Absolutely one of the best books you’ll ever read. An ending that’s as affecting as the whole is original.
The Excalibur Codex – James Douglas
I read this in the late summer, I think. I remember the weather here in Denmark was still pretty reasonable anyway. The section where they’re driving over the border into Scotland and up towards Edinburgh, as I have many times, really worked its magic on me. Isn’t that what a book is supposed to do? Not just what’s on the page, what you were doing, who you were with, the sights, smells, touches and tastes all create the memory. Finest kind.
The Norman Conquest – Marc Morris
Every home should have a copy.
Absolutely indispensable, informative other words beginning with i, and unputdownable generally. A non-fiction page-turner, damn right. A game-changer in the field, yes, certainly. If all non-fiction books were as well put together, argued and written as this, well, it’d be people like Marc Morris who’d be…well, you know what I’m getting at.
So, Speesh Book of the Year™
Tearing open the gold envelope, and it’s:
No doubts about it.
An incredible way to follow Sworn Sword and The Splintered Kingdom in a trilogy (?), no running out of steam, quite the opposite. It felt like, in the second half of the book, that both the character of Tancred and the author James Aitcheson, had been set free from the chains of history (I know, I know) and set off with fresh gusto and inspiration and all that sort of stuff. Glorious and full of real promise for the future of the character and the series. I have no idea if there will be more, or if James is stopping here, we’ll have to see. But the potential is there for a series at least as long as Bernard Cornwell’s … and twice as good.
And this one actually did come out in 2013, so that’s a win-win!
The other books I read in 2013 you can see here.