Friday, October 26, 2018

All the Paths of Shadow

All the Paths of Shadow - Frank Tuttle


The king’s orders were clear enough. “Move the tower’s shadow,” he bellowed. “I refuse to deliver my commencement speech from the dark.”

As the newly appointed mage to the Crown of Tirlin, Meralda Ovis has no choice but to undertake King Yvin’s ill-conceived task. Tirlin’s first female mage, and the youngest person to ever don the robes of office, Meralda is determined to prove once and for all that she deserves the title.

The Tower, though, holds ancient secrets all its own. Secrets that will soon spell destruction for all of Tirlin—unless Meralda can unravel a monstrous curse laid by a legendary villain seven centuries before she was born.

A delightful light fantasy. Meralda is the youngest person ever appointed to be the royal mage. We meet her familiar, Mug a house plant, and her mentors (or should I say meddlers). Even the tower makes for an excellent character in its own right. The interactions between the characters are pithy and funny.

I enjoyed the setting, even if the details were laid on pretty thick at times. Meralda lives in a frothy mix of earth, standard fantasy, and the early part of the twentieth century. I'm always a sucker for an airship.


Good Reads

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


We went to Half Moon Bay last weekend for a few days away from the hustle and bustle. We relaxed and enjoyed the days away. I enjoyed these late Nasturtiums blooming next to the bridge over Pilarcitos Creek on Main Street.

We had a chance to eat at Sushi Main Street. It replaced the yarn store since the last time we visited. Loved the food even if the furniture was a bit odd. Driftwood pieced together and finished. Not uncomfortable, but heavy and bulky.

Our old favorite, Half Moon Bay Bakery, is still going strong and we had cookies for dessert, me with my Mexican Wedding Cookies and Chris with her Walnetto.

Looking forward to visiting again.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fire in Jamestown

Jamestown, Tuolumne Co., Oct. 3rd, 1855 Editors Alta:—

Yesterday afternoon, about 5 1/2 o'clock, a fire broke out in this town which consumed about 25 buildings, mostly stores. It commenced in a stable used by Mr. Butterfield, a merchant of this place The buildings in the portion of the town consumed being all frame ones, the flames spread with great rapidity. About the time the fire get good headway the wind completely died away, and bad an effect in a great measure of stopping the fire from going up the street. But the main check was given to the fire by the able and efficient manner in which the operatives of our Hook and Ladder Co were used. Below you have the names of the principal sufferers :

B F. Butterfield. $10,000; Col.Wm. Donavan, $15,000; Chat Heffernan, 10.000; Drs.. J. W. and M T. Dodrre, 4,000; Leland A Rayner, 1,500; B. Keebin, 5.000; Masonic Lodge, 3,000; Zuttnan. 2,000; Peter Mitchell, (colored) 3,000; Mrs. Meyers, 800; Am Carlio. 2,500; W. Luberg, 500, and some others whose losses are small.

Yours, &c. MORRISON & CRIM, Agents Pacific Express Co.

-- Daily Alta California, Volume 6, Number 246, 6 October 1855

In antebellum California, fire was the greatest danger. Films and TV show us gun fights and outlaws, but San Francisco experienced seven great fires between 1849 and 1852. Each destroyed hundreds of buildings. The largest in 1851 burned three-quarters of the city. Millions of dollars pouring in from the Gold Rush provided the funds to rebuild.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Bill Baynes is a local author who does excellent work building and maintaining a writer's community. I heard about his new book at the California Writer's Club meeting and jumped at the chance to review it.

Tokyo, 1945. A Japanese boy too old for his years, a survivor of the American firebombing, dares to cross the wasteland where he saw thousands burn to death, and approach the occupying forces to get food for his family. A young Navy lieutenant, proud of the Allied victory but appalled by the devastation he sees across the city, cares enough to help. As post-war pressures mount between the two cultures, he becomes entangled in the lives of the boy, his infant sister and his beautiful mother.

It's an adult historical fiction that moves a good clip. Excellent portrayal of the ruins left by the incendiary bombing and the hardships of the people who had to negotiate losing the war. A young American naval officer entangles himself in the lives of three survivors trying to find his own humanity.

A quick read, I didn't put it down (well, after I wrestled it away from my wife).

It's a compelling story, but I found the emotions muted for such a life and death story. I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the early parts of the occupation. 

Sold at Amazon and wherever fine books are sold.

A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons Marie Brennen You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than...