Posted by jukkahoo
Today we drink American beer. Anchor Brewing's 2012 Christmas Ale is a very smoky, spicy and wonderfully malty dark ale. Really wintery affair that suites this time of the year more than merrier. It has a sweetly bitter taste that follows up nicely. Good for xmas table and pretty much everywhere. Couple of these should get the evening going on smashingly.
I like K. J. Parker a lot, even though I never finished the first book (Colours in the Steel of the Fencer trilogy) of her/his (those who are in the know, have their lips sealed) I started. I blame the font, which really gets on my nerves in the copy (Orbit) I have. Still, I wanted to like Parker and after I read The Company, I knew s/he was going to be one of those authors I would read everything from now on.
Parker's The Hammer is the real deal. It has some similarities with The Company (an island of industrious free-minded individuals), but I don't think the location is the same. The feel of the two books is still very much the same: rough living, hard working, proper engineering. In The Company pretty much everything that can go wrong, goes. Veterans in look for some peace and quiet and prosperity are dealt really sucky cards and the experiment goes pearshaped. In The Hammer the noble family that rules the island manages to fuck up everything so royally, that their comeuppance is almost deserved one. But only almost, as nobody really deserves what they get.
Very much in the vein Parker writes: strong, problematic main character; really well-thought secondary chars; interesting problems to overcome; added engineering; superior adversary; and lots of history, geography and politics that are not explained, only hinted. I would really like to see a proper map of the world these stories take place, with some historical notes attached.
The Hammer is not without it's problems, but the language Parker uses is just so strong and stark, that I find it impossible to let go. I see more than a hint of Gemmell here, only even more pessimistic so. The eventual fall of the protagonist is always there, Parker does not write comfort fantasy, thems are some cynical fantasy as its best. Recommended with a caution.
Tracker (2010) is a New Zealand historical (set in 1903) thriller of a chase of a murderer. Keremea (Temuera Morrison), a Maori gets wrongly accused of killing a British soldier. Van Diemen (Ray WInstone), a recent immigrant Boer gets involved and he sets out go catch the alledged killer. The game is afoot. Catch and release ensues.
This was a really nice little film. Filmed on location in NZ, the look of the land is bare and untouched. Two main actors are terrific, Morrison is suave and open freeminded spirit, while Winstone is a gruff, stoic and determined Boer, a master tracker and commando leader from the 2nd Boer War. Neither of these man love the British, more likely they both hate them, passionately even. The relative low budget of the production shows occasionally, but doesn't take anything away from the strenght of the story and the brilliant display of acting prowess these two men portray. Strong stuff.