May 8th, 2010

ireland

May Books 3) Blood Upon The Rose: Easter 1916, by Gerry Hunt

I was very interested to hear about this treatment of the 1916 Rising as a graphic novel, combining as it does two of my interests. I am afraid I was disappointed with the result. My political sympathies are in any case closer to the dispassionate analysis of Charles Townshend, but I don't think this books will change anyone's mind about the Rising - it may perhaps confuse them with detail (one rather small map is provided at the very end), but the reader is basically assumed to be familiar with the big picture of the story. Compared, say, with Pekar and Roberson's Macedonia, let alone the brilliant work of Joe Sacco, Hunt doesn't really probe very far into the human side of the conflict - British soldiers are anonymous snarls, the civilians who mock and disobey the rebels merely rabble; only the rebels themselves are given full hagiographical treatment, including curiously iconic depiction of their faces taken from the classic photographs. The central narrative is framed by Grace Gifford's wedding to Joseph Plunkett the night before his execution, but we find out little about him and nothing about her (which is a little ironic considering her later very successful career as a cartoonist). An interesting experiment, but not a completely successful one.
tardis

May Books 4-5) The Murder Game and The Final Sanction, by Steve Lyons

I was prompted to get hold of these by the author's remark, in the extras track of last month's Big Finish audio The Architects of History, that he had used the alien shark-like Selachians in a couple of Second Doctor novels some time back. They were easy enough to acquire second-hand, and I read them on my travels over the last week.

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Both books feature Lyons' characterisation of the jittery Second Doctor, thoroughly loyal to his companions but prone to wail in terror at odd moments; I'm coming to the end of my rewatch of the Second Doctor stories, and am impressed by how well Lyons has actually captured him, compared with most of the other books (including particularly the novelisations). The Second Doctor is a hero slightly against his own first instincts. It's very entertaining.