Wednesday, 11 July 2001

The Fortune of War

Listening to:

Beethoven, string quartet, op. 59, no. 3 (Razumovsky).

Holiday reading:

Way back in January, I started to write a series of Holiday reading book reviews to bring myself up-to-date with the books I read while away in New Zealand and Australia. I let it all lapse a bit, but let me now tell you all about The fortune of war, by Patrick O’Brian. This is the sixth in the series, and another good one. It features our heroes getting interned by the Americans because Britain is at war with the US in the War of 1812. (This is not a war many people seem to know much about, except possibly for the Canadians who know it was when the US tried to do the dirty on them and failed. There is a war-game recently out for it; I haven’t played it.)

It’s an interesting history lesson to learn that the US didn’t press-gang crews for its ships, while this was something Britain did as a matter of course. There’s quite a bit of "spy-thriller" type intrigue in this novel because the two main characters are on land for so much of the time, but there are also naval battles framing the central "internment" section. They are all based on actual battles apparently, and read very well. You can’t help but guess which way the battles are going to go, given the dramatic requirements of the story, and this is a mark against. An enjoyable read all told.

I’m writing this web-log entry at home because things were so busy at work that I just ran out of time in which to fit in the ’log. I really dislike the way in which I can’t remap the caps lock key under Windows so that it is a control key, and also how I have lost my Emcas meta key. (This latter is more a function of the SSH software I’m using to connect to the Computer Lab.) Such geeky travails.