Philip Wiebkin

Job Title: 

The Fire Court

Summary: 
'The sequel to 'The Ashes of London', set in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in 1666, is built around the The Fire Court with 3 judges set up by the king to get London rebuilt, resolving land and property disputes that have have arisen due to the fire. James Marwood is financially much better off with two clerkships with two different masters, and Sam and Margaret, his servant and housekeeper. His regicide and religious father, Nathaniel,suffering from his years in prison,now afflicted with dementia, thinks he is following his dead wife, Rachel, to the Clifford's Inn, in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder? Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death… and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself. This is a great story and a very informative, compelling book, difficult to put down.

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On Dangerous Ground

Summary: 
The third in the Sean Dillon series doesn't disappoint. In 1944. just outside Delhi, a British Dakota crashes, taking lives and destroying a clandestine treaty signed by Lord Mountbatten and the Communist leader, Mao Tse-tung, an historic agreement, one set to change the course of history concerning the proposed handover by the British of Hong Kong in 1997. Sean Dillon enters the fray when a death-bed confession from a Mafia kingpin reveals the answers to the secrets about the treaty. Both British and Chinese governments would pay dearly for its destruction. With the backing of the British Government Dillon goes up against the uncompromising violence of the Mafia and, of course, the enticing dangers of a beautiful woman. The explosive climax of this book plays out in the wild scenery of the Highlands of Scotland. A great, fast, action-packed read whose roguish but deadly main character Sean Dillon, I'm beginning to like.

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Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica

Summary: 
The authors, better known as the "Men in Blazers", have for more than a decade, stood at the center of Americans' growing national obsession with soccer or as an Englishman, I would say 'football. Hundreds of thousands of fans, including myself, tune in weekly to their podcast and television broadcast to get their analysis of the previous week's matches and soccer/football news. Rog and Davo fill in all the gaps with this hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic guide to the sport that America is beginning to love. Growing up in England, I have followed football and my team for almost 50 years. This humorous and informative book on the culture of English football will only serve to educate the American fan. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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Tombland

Summary: 
I was extremely excited when C.J. Sansom returned to his famous lawyer Matthew Shardlake for book #7. In 1549, the nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old; his uncle, Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Edward's regent and protector in turbulent times. Matthew Shardlake works in the service of Henry's younger daughter, the lady Elizabeth. A gruesome murder of one of Elizabeth's distant relations, rumored to be politically motivated, draws Shardlake and his companion Nicholas to the lady's summer estate, where a second murder is committed. The kingdom erupts into rebellion, peasants are taking up arms all over the country as a result of the abuses imposed on them by the greedy lords and barons. Nicholas is imprisoned for his loyalty, and Shardlake must decide where his loyalties lie -- with his kingdom, or with his lady? A fascinating book. I learned so much about the Peasants Revolt of that time and as well as trying to solve the murder that Shardlake had been tasked by the lady Elizabeth to investigate. A wonderful read!

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Wait, What?

Summary: 
The Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education discusses the art of asking—and answering—good questions. Five questions in particular: Wait, what?; I wonder…? Couldn’t we at least…?; How can I help?; and What truly matters? Using examples from many sources, as well as his own personal life, Ryan attempts to show how these essential inquiries generate understanding, spark curiosity, initiate progress, fortify relationships, and draw our attention to the important things in life. And finally how to answer what he considers to be able answer life’s most important question: “And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?” This is a light-hearted and sometimes amusing and thought-provoking book, that could change the way you think about asking questions. As a scientist, I was trained to ask questions and consequently found this book a very interesting read. I would recommend this to anyone who is of like mind. I have always said there are no silly questions, and this brief little book adds another dimension to this idea.

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Fire and Sword

Summary: 
This third novel in the series following the careers of Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley, The Duke of Wellington, takes place in the years from 1804 to 1809. The French revolution is over and Emperor Napoleon sets his sights on the rest of Europe. Wellesley has just returned to England after many years in India. When Napoleon puts his own brother on the throne of Spain, Wellesley sees the opportunity to damage Napoleon's ambitions to rule Europe. He finally gets his chance to command a British force in Portugal and begins to inflict losses on parts of Napoleon's army. Extremely well written and meticulously researched, this book continues to build his characters. Scarrow is a great storyteller, bringing this period of history to life. I devoured this book and will be reading the fourth very shortly.

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Conclave

Summary: 
The Pope is dead!! As the Dean of Cardinals, Lomelli has the task of facilitating a Conclave. We follow his investigations into corruption, secrets, his spiritual struggles and the reflection of his own conscience as he navigates mystery upon mystery in this compelling novel. Meticulous research on the traditions and laws of Roman Catholic Conclave results in an exciting story of an election of a Pope. I was enthralled by the events described in this book and it made me wonder about actual elections that have take place over the centuries. Robert Harris is an excellent storyteller and the ending was incredible. I could not have anticipated the final chapter. Brilliant!

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (George Smiley #5, Karla #1)

Summary: 
"Control" is dead, and George has been forced out of the Circus by the younger generation. When a would-be defector surfaces with a shocking revelation that a Soviet mole, code named 'Gerald' has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence, it is clear that his treachery has already blown some of its most vital operations and its best networks. George Smiley is assigned to identify and destroy him.. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal group,Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor. Le Carré's writing, in my view is brilliant, his language and ability to convey the inner workings of the spy industry as a profession is without peer. This is a world-class entertainment and an important, enduring novel, one of the few legitimate classics to arise from the espionage genre. Even on the second reading, the experience was just as enthralling.

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The Fallen Angel (Gabriel Allon #12)

Summary: 
While Gabriel is taking refuge restoring art in the Vatican, he is summoned to St. Peter's Basilica by the Pope's private secretary Donati; the body of a woman lies beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome. The Vatican police suspect suicide, though Gabriel believes otherwise. Fearful that a public inquiry might inflict another scandal on the Church, Donati tasks Gabriel to quietly pursue the truth—with one caveat. "Don't ask too many questions." The dead woman had uncovered a dangerous secret—a secret that threatens a global criminal enterprise looting and sellingtimeless treasures of antiquity. Gabriel's investigation becomes a chess match between Gabriel and the terrorists planning the third Intifada. The climax takes place in Jerusalem on Good Friday during a visit of the Pope, with a breathtaking race between the terrorists and Gabriel and Eli to defuse a bomb that seeks to destroy the Temple Mount and all the history with it. A great read. Daniel Silva clearly has a better understanding of Middle East dynamics than most of us.

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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography

Summary: 
This book for me is a journey back in time, when I was at university in England and "Monty Pythons Flying Circus" was fresh, new and outrageous. Trying to get a spot in the many television rooms on campus each week to watch the latest episode was highlight for me and most of the students there. Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on a remarkable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theater, and film. This is a wonderfully entertaining read -- and I had to chuckle at the fact that the song he wrote for the "Life of Brian", 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life', has since become the number one song played at funerals in the UK. What an epitaph!! Hilarious.

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