Napoleon Concerto: A Novel in Three Movements, Mark Mellon, Treble Heart Books, $13.50, 344 pages, ISBN: 9781936127085, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
Here is a book that will appeal to the history buff as well as those who like to read the alternate history genre. There are stories of Germany winning World War II, the South wining the Civil war, or aliens landing to make a change in Earth’s history. This one takes the Napoleonic Wars and makes it a thrilling read.
The year is 1806 Napoleon sits on the throne of France and he is seeking a way to bring England to its knees and rid the mortal enemy that has caused him great concern. Add in Wolfe O’Sheridane, an Irish expatriate now living in Paris; Robert Fulton, the American inventor of the steamship; and, a cast of historical figures on both sides of the English Channel to create a thrilling adventure.
O’Sheridane has Fulton draw up plans for a steam powered warship and convinces Napoleon, with the aid of Josephine, to build the armor clad ship armed with a steam powered ram in order to fight the English fleet.
The experimental ship succeeds and the adventure continues with plans to defeat the English navy and conquer England. There are spies, death attempts, palace intrigue, and surprises as Wolfe and Napoleon move their plans forward to achieve their goals.
Mellon has written a novel that shows the military mind of Napoleon at work, the ingenuity of Fulton and the wrath of an Irishman wanting to see his country freed. Put this on the shelf next to Harry Turtledove, after you have enjoyed it.
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE: A Contrivance of Horror, Thomas Ligotti, Hippocampus Press, $25, 248 pages, ISBN: 9780982429693, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
For those of you who only know of Ligotti as a horror writer, this will be an interesting excursion into the real world discussion of what really scares us.
In this look at philosophy - especially pessimistic philosophers, neuroscience, and sociology, Ligotti uses these fields to explain why supernatural fiction has the appeal it has to its readers.
Although this is a non-fiction work, it may be the scariest book Ligotti has ever written. I admit to having some problems reading this one. It’s a volume that exudes pessimism and makes you ask if our waking hours are the real nightmares of life.