April 27th, 2006

Book review: Rite of Conquest

Today's book review is Rite of Conquest by Judith Tarr.

This is the story of the Norman Conquest, with the twist of real magic.  I don't know the history very well, but I did know where the story had to end up.  Perhaps because of my ignorance of the subtleties of history, and perhaps because of Tarr's license, I actually got a more surprising plot than I expected.  The magical elements are well imagined and well told, and the characters are interesting and sympathetic.  Tarr's prose flows well.  Yet I had trouble getting into the story -- I think mainly because it's broken into a lot of short chapters.  I've been distracted by enough other things that I haven't actually been reading except at bedtime, and the short chapters mean I'd only read a chapter or two most days; with over 50 chapters, it took a lot of days.  That kept me from getting into the flow of the book as well as I should have -- but it does say that the book wasn't so engaging that it pushed itself into my attention more forcefully.

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So, a solid book, but maybe not quite as good as many of Tarr's.  (Or maybe it's just me.)  8 out of 10.

Trip to Kickapoo Park

I decided to spend the afternoon at Kickapoo State Park, since it was much too nice to stay inside.  I went exploring in the area of the park south of I-74, places I pretty much hadn't been.  And I took the camera, decked out with the 500mm lens and the 1.4x teleconverter, because I was really hoping to get pictures of birds, and they just won't let me get close.  For the most part I was feeling more like just enjoying the walk than aggressively taking pictures, but I still came back with 140 or so shots, and I'm going to present a bunch of them here.

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