Thursday, July 10, 2008

People of the Book

People of the Book: A Novel People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an amazing read. Geraldine Brooks stunned me.

I love historical fiction that teaches me about history inside of a great story, but this book exceeds expectations all around.

The book is about a five hundred year old book, and the history of the people whose lives intersected with the book. The present day protagonist is Hanna, an Australian rare book expert sent to Sarajevo to work on Sarajevo Haggadah which was saved from Serbian shelling by a Muslim librarian.

As Hanna investigates the book, the story jumps further and further into the past, where we see the book menaced in other times and places. Sarajevo in World War II, Vienna in the time of the Empire, Venice in the waning years of the inquisition, Spain during the expulsion of the Jews, and finally in Muslim Spain.

Hanna has her own journey, which is often painful. Her story has the most complete arc. The historical episodes have well drawn characters, but they come and go. Hanna's discoveries about the book lead into each of these vignettes. Since we are going backwards in time, we get background information about people and events that we've already read about. And Hanna's story is told chronologically, so we have two time streams, going in opposite directions.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Game Book Reivew: Purge the Unlcean

Purge the Unclean: Dark Heresy adventure anthology (Dark Heresy) Purge the Unclean: Dark Heresy adventure anthology by Black Industies

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is more than three well written and connected adventures for Dark Heresy. It is also a template for how to write your own Dark Heresy adventures, with tips on Action, Horror, and Investigation adventures.

The adventures are for acolytes new in their careers, and can be played after the example adventure in the core Dark Heresy rule book.

T. S. Luikhart is a fine game designer, and these are fun adventures that will have your players hopping.

The three adventures showcase Investigation, Action, and Horror. I would quibble that the Horror adventure doesn't get truly horrific until the end, but it goes all out once it gets there. The action adventure is my favorite, and I like the design hints for doing your own action adventures.

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Edit 8/21/09: Now that I've GM'd them all, I'd like to say the third adventure, Baron Hopes, required a lot of modification: