Saturday, December 18, 2010

Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King

This book reminded me of The Simpson's movie for about 20 pages. The book itself is 1065 pages. It is a fast read regardless of the size.

In short, a small mid-western town is suddenly trapped by a dome. As the dome drops, people and animals are cut into pieces landing on either side of the dome. No one can figure out where the dome came from, what it's made of or how to get rid of it.

The town trapped inside is run by a megalomaniac used car dealer who has been "saved by Jesus". Big Jim is a character that is so well written that I loathed him from the beginning and I couldn't wait for him to be killed. He is bent on taking over the town and ruling a la Pol Pot although he envisions himself an altruistic leader called by God.

Our hero is a retired veteran of the Iraq war but is the town short-order cook. He has just had an altercation with the son of the man running the town and he is NOT well liked by the powers that be in town. He is, in fact, on his way out of town when the dome appears. His former military contacts come in handy in dealing with the dome situation. It doesn't help him any with his relationship with Big Jim and his son Junior.

In just a few short days, the peaceful town is changed into a strange and stressed place where people are being murdered, committing suicide, and murdering and then committing suicide. Some people tend to loose their humanity and others become even more humane and caring of their neighbors.

This was a fascinating study of people under duress. There are many layers and so many people that it is a fun and fast read. The final scenario is weird, tense, and a final relief when the final word is read.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Outlander

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

The novel begins with a 19 year old woman on the run. She is being chased by men and dogs. She has just killed her husband and his brothers are hunting her. The year is 1903 and it is the northern Rockies in Canada.

This book is full of suspense and adventure. The widow is mentally disoriented because she hears voices and sees ghosts. The language of the book supports a feeling of disorientation in the reader. Sometimes it's unclear for awhile if the experience of the widow is happening, being imagined or being remembered.

I was a little surprised by the ending. I had thought that it would go a different direction entirely. I enjoy being surprised because, frankly it doesn't happen all that often. The ending became clear in the last 8 pages of the book. This was a great first novel. I would definitely consider reading another novel by this author.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fall of Giants

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

This is another great historical fiction novel by this author. It is the first of the Century Trilogy and I look forward to the next two books. The trilogy will follow 5 families in their lives through hardship and success, peace and war.

It's a big book (almost a thousand pages) but it didn't take too long to read because it was so engaging. It begins in 1911 and ends in 1924. As promised, five families are highlighted in Wales, England, Germany, America and Russia. There are people of great privilege and great poverty. There are a few actual persons of history who have cameos in the book. The author tried to quote them from actual speeches or letters and tried to place them in situations that they were actually in, or may have been (meaning he didn't put them in a situation that they never would have been in real life).

It covers World War I in great detail and I found it fascinating to have famous battles and scenes re-enacted in a way that I better understood and grasped the circumstances.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and/or anyone interested in the period of World War I.