Saturday, April 7, 2012

Citizen Grouch recommends

Ok Grouch fans, it is time for one of my occasional book/movie reviews.  Yay!  

Those rich plutocrats out there (you know who you are, you one percenters, one and all) who have cable may have been watching a series called 'Game of Thrones" based on a book series by George R.R. Martin called the Song of Fire and Ice series.  By the way, all savvy novelists these days write book series, taking the story line out multiple books in order to keep their reading public buying the next book in line in order to see if some day the story will be wrapped up.  Anyway, this review is not about the Game of Thrones nor is it about the Song of Fire and Ice series so if that is what brought you here, sorry. 

Actually the book review part of this is about a book series, and it is a series by George R. R. Martin and it is quite good but the author being very savvy has stretched it over nine books!  It is the Camulod series and it describes life in post-Rome Britain and the rise of Arthur.  Camulod is what we know as Camelot and it begins as what today would be seen as a survivalist's retreat in the wilderness to defend against the collapse of society.  How cool is that?   It is a pretty realistic description of the politics and society of the Romans in Britain who have 'gone native' and allied with the Celts in order to defend against the marauding Picts, Scots, Danes, and other foreign tourists.  The one constant through book 6 has been Merlyn, the grandson of the co-founder founder of the retreat (a Roman CSM) and now the guardian of young Arthur, the...wait a minute, I can't tell any more  because it will spoil the story line! Let me just say that the story logically explains everything in the Camelot legend without resorting to magic.  The Lady in the Lake, the sword, Merlyn's 'magic powers' the round's all there and well done.  Fortunately for me the county library has had books 1 through 6.  As a small government guy I have to say that public libraries are one of the small number of services that should be funded for the public without hesitation.  A library is the depository of the world's knowledge and history and all at a person's beck and call just for a small portion of your property tax. This service is worth more than every penny it gets from us.

The movie review is for a kind-of related topic.  The movie?  The Eagle, a recent release that we saw on DVD last night.  We got the DVD from (wait for it) The Library!   Story line is about a young officer sent to a remote Roman fort in Britain (tie in to the book review) whose father was ordered to march the IX legion north, past Hadrian's wall into Indian territory.  They didn't come back and nothing was heard from them again.  Much like at a job when someone resigns to go work somewhere else and is blamed for everything that goes wrong after he's left, the father is blamed for the loss of the legion and the eagle standard (oh, so that's where the title comes from!).  The newly minted 2LT is determined to show his men that he has the right stuff.  The NCOs at the mess mutter that he is a loser and they're all going to die.  Once again I can't reveal any more but it is a pretty darn good movie with beautiful scenes of the Scottish highlands (and Hungary for some reason), drama, manly men with muscles, blood, mud, and redemption.   I rather enjoyed it!

See the links for more on both the books and the movie:

Be careful and don't read too far into this person's blog because he reveals the whole series!

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