Books From A to Z – The Kabbalist

The Kabbalist – Yoram Katz

In 1270, the Book of Zohar, a foundational book of Kabbalah, is published amidst a controversy. Is it an ancient text or an elaborate forgery? When Crusaders’ Acre falls to the Sultan in 1291, a remarkable chain of events brings two ancient scrolls into the possession of Yaakov Ben Shlomo, a Jewish refugee. In Revolutionary France, 1798, before a young cavalry officer sails with General Bonaparte to the Middle East, he is assigned a secret mission by his father. In 2006, when Superintendent Yossi Luria of Haifa Police is assigned to handle a homicide of a monk, he is not yet aware that this case is going to change his life and career. Four years later, a young Frenchwoman steps into the office of Luria, by now a disillusioned private detective. Jean de Charney has found a 200-year old letter in the basement of her family’s Normandy estate and has come to Israel to pursue an intriguing family mystery. The two quickly find out that the ancient mystery is still claiming lives in the 21st century. Their quest leads them through twists and turns, and acquaints them with the mystical doctrine of Kabbalah. What they discover affects their personal lives as well as puts commonly accepted truths in a completely new perspective. “The Kabbalist” is set against a rich historical tapestry, spanning 2,000 years in old and new Israel – a birthplace of religious and mystical doctrines, and the arena for numerous events which have shaped civilization. “The Kabbalist” puts the history and meaning of Kabbalah in a new, astonishing perspective, much like “The Da Vinci Code” did to Christianity. (via Goodreads)

My Take: Kabbalist

My interest in this book had more to do with history of the Templar Knights, which I find fascinating. And the bonus was also reading a version of the history of the Chosen People, the Jews. The author has cleverly juxtaposed two narratives; the rich tapestry of history dating back to the Roman Occupation of Palestine and the story of Yossi Luria and Jean de Charney set in the very recent past. However, whilst the historical narrative kept me engrossed, I found the storyline of the adventures of Yossi and Jean quite boring and just good for practicing speed reading. To much effort on the part of the author to ape ‘The Da Vinci Code.’  Read only if you are  history buff.



We’re taking part in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

Books From A To Z – Excather

Today I’m reviewing Excather by Gregory J Downs

Decades ago on Christmas Eve, one young boy in a tattered coat did the impossible deed, drawing the king’s sword from iron and stone. Proclaimed the chosen one, he plunged the world into conflict.

Now an aging man, Arthur, son of Uther, sits on the throne, all his enemies crushed beneath his feet. With the enchanted blade Excalibur at his side, he is invincible, and immune to the dark arts of those who would try to topple his dynasty.

But unbeknownst to the world, Arthur is going mad. A conniving wizard is pulling his strings. As the chaos mounts, the coastlands begin to whisper of another chosen one: a raven-haired boy bearing a black sword, a rival to Arthur, Excalibur, and all they stand for.

The truth may yet tear the world apart. (via Goodreads)

My Take: Excather

This book is in fact a sequel to the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. As the blurb mentions, King Arthur is already an aging man when this story begins. Whilst the original legend ends with King Arthur defeating the renegade knight, Sir Mordred,  with timely assistance from the exiled Sir Lancelot, in the sequel we have the King and the renegade joining forces to defeat the conniving wizard, who has replaced Merlin the Magician. Initially, I found the storyline to be gripping, with lots of wizards and witches cast spells and making magic  but eventually I got bored. And gave up reading the book, which anyway is too long and goes on and on.





We’re taking part in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. Corinne is also doing the challenge on Everyday Gyaan.

Books From A To Z – Drinkwater

Drinkwater: A Sobering Tale About A Medieval Knight by Otto Scamfer

This epic adventure begins in England in the twelfth century. It covers several traumatic months in the life of Winston Tabor, a young nobleman, who is well known in his village for being an irresponsible drunkard. When his father is murdered and he is framed for the crime, Winston’s world is turned upside down. His life becomes a whirlwind of action and adventure as he seeks to prove his innocence and avenge the murder of his father. To fulfill his goal, he duels with swordsmen, battles on horseback, and earns the honor of knighthood. At the same time he must find a way to come to grips with his unrelenting desire for ale, which has controlled him for most of his life. Last of all, he is compelled to prove to a beautiful young peasant girl, who comes to own his heart, that he is worthy of her love. Will he succeed in his quest, or will he die with his last breath reeking of ale? (via Goodreads)

My Take:

Being a fan of medieval history, I started this book in the hope that I would enhance my knowledge of the subject. However, after reading the book, the only thing that I added to my knowledge of medieval history was that ‘drinkwater’ was the word used to describe a teetotaler or someone on the wagon.  Otherwise, it was quite a run of the mill adventure story, set in the twelfth century.  Could well have been set in any other century. Good and entertaining reading, when bored.


We’re taking part in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. Corinne is also doing the challenge on Everyday Gyaan.

Books From A To Z – Calliope

Calliope by Vincent Capone

Calliope is the western adventure of a U.S. marshal’s hunt to bring down one of the last legendary outlaws in Arizona Territory before his own life is destroyed.

The year — 1886. The Wild West is in its last years and law and order are beginning to take hold. The Apache Wars have ended. Geronimo has surrendered. The cattle drives through Dodge City have stopped. Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and Wild Bill Hickok are dead.

Arizona Territory — the famed town of Tombstone is dying. Silver mines are flooding. The surrounding towns are disappearing. Into this country rides Billy McKaller, a 24-year-old outlaw with a deadly past, a lightning-quick hand, and a gang of followers determined to survive the tightening noose of the law.

Hot on their trail — the unwavering marshal Joe Calliope, veteran sheriff Wyatt Lareson, and his fiery young deputy, Dewnan Kender.

Outlaws throughout the territory flock to McKaller’s gang, ready for one final fight to the death. The three lawmen begin to gather a posse from the remnants of Tombstone’s population.

Amid the impending confrontation, Lareson and Kender begin to unearth the stories of Calliope’s past, a past tied much closer to the young outlaw McKaller than either of them could imagine… (via Goodreads)

My views: Calliope

Growing up, Westerns were amongst my favorite genre of books. And believe me, we would read a book a day, so that we could get value for money at the circulating library. So I have read a lot a Westerns; Louis L’Amour, J. T. Esdon, Sudden, to name a few. After reading the blurb, I thought Calliope would be a good read and I was not disappointed.  One of the few Westerns where the good guys and the bad guys actually miss when shooting,  unlike other novels where the hero who is a  fast at  drawing his gun puts his bullet in the shirt pocket of the villain.


We’re taking part in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. Corinne is undertaking the Challenge on Everyday Gyaan too.

Books From A to Z – The Bank Manager And The Bum

The Bank Manager and the Bum by Darren Sant

When branch manager Giles Macintosh arrives to open up one morning and finds an injured bum and his battered dog lying in the doorway of the bank, he little suspects what lies in store for them all.

Giles does the decent thing and calls for help, then puts the incident out of his mind. However, having been witness to things he cannot explain, he feels drawn to the man and tries to track him down … only to find he has vanished.

But who is the enigmatic, homeless Frank? Why are two very nasty men trying to find him? Why has a prostitute been abducted? And what does the future hold for Giles’s seriously ill son, Jake?

Darren Sant skilfully weaves the various strands to create a compelling story that is as unflinching as it is heart-warming.

As the story unfolds, the tension increases and the true nature of Frank’s amazing secret begins to be revealed. The stakes are high as the criminal and the supernatural come together for a final, inevitable showdown. (via Goodreads)

My views: The Bank Manager and The Bum

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, which is a mix of supernatural and mundane. Set in the recent past, against the backdrop of globilsation,  the author has skillfully woven together various strands to construct a very moving story. Both Giles and Frank, one a bank manager and the other a bum, are essentially decent human beings trying to do what they believe is right by their respective families.  If the supernatural is of interest to you,  this book is definitely worth reading


We’re taking part in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.