A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil

 

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

Troy: Fall of Kings - David Gemmell I was disappointed with how this series progressed, and the finale only continued the trend. The only thing that kept me going was the inevitability of the what-a-great-guy Hektor's death (and even that was unsatisfying - I was all ready to help Achilles drag his remains around the camp a few times...). The Troy story is a toughie - so often interpreted and so interwoven into out cultural background and myth-making - but Gemmell had taken on a similar material before and told a great yarn. Here, the constant rationalisations and modernist reworkings really started to get to me. I got bored of several of the central characters, and wanted to read more about some of the Achaeans - particularly Achilles. The predictability of the plot started to become a problem because of this (not normally a problem: Gemmell's character-driven narration has never relied heavily on sudden plot movement). For example: I was happy when Banokles finally bought it, as opposed to a Druss or a Bison for example (yes, we all know the archetype, but normally, it works...). And the bizarre incompetence of the Achaeans was unjustifiable and ridiculous: the Nadir were far better presented, and that was in Gemmell's first novel. I write all this as a long-time fan of Gemmell's work (I have all of his books, and he is the only author whose work I would buy on release without question, just on the strength of the name). I don't know what happened here, and I don't think it was the co-authorship that was the problem, since the trend had already been established in the previous book

Currently reading

Lyrical and Critical Essays
Albert Camus
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
Harold Bloom
The Rebel (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Albert Camus