Midshipman Graham and the Battle of Abukir

Midshipman Graham and the Battle of Abukir ISBN: 9781946409232, Penmore Press LLC a historical thriller by James Boschert.

Duncan Graham, youngest son of a lesser member of Scottish landed aristocracy with few choices for a future, enters the navy as a midshipman. He is assigned to duty under command of the distinguished Commodore Sir Sydney Smith. The story follows his gradual maturation as he becomes involved in the brutal warfare that evolved as Bonaparte, following his defeat at Acre, returns to Cairo only again to leave to engage in the vicious fighting with the Turks whom their British allies were attempting to aid on the Abukir Peninsula. Unfortunately the Turkish Pasha in charge would not institute the defensive changes needed to be made with devastating results to the completely undisciplined Turks. As the main protagonist, Duncan’s part in the action is most prominent.

Discussion: Knowledgeable of the terrain and history of his subject, the author has set forth an interesting tale with surprisingly empathetic characters among the French as well as the British. The story moves rapidly among variously stupid thoughtless activity, vicious fighting, humorous moments, acts of heroism, thrilling storm navigation, and even a bit of romance. Minor proofing errors are annoying but are not sufficiently abundant to disrupt the narrative and the ending leaves many loose ends which assumedly will be answered in a sequel.

Conclusion: This volume presents an enjoyable historical novel for light reading.

4* An enjoyable historical novel for light reading.


MORT in CHINA, Comic Series, Issue 1 by Vali T. C. Morrison (Author), Sun Xing (Translator), Charlie Tian (Author) and Skyla Bai (Editor)

The authors have initiated a series that has all of the indications of becoming a charmingly amusing, yet very informative string of stories. Admittedly the opening couple of pages provide some momentary initial questions with respect to the anticipated series, but the reaction quickly dissipates as Mort begins to develop. We discover him to be a mild mannered agent for Final Destination which is an ‘afterlife soul collection agency’ that unfortunately after 500 years of work, still is considered to be only ‘2nd best’. To rectify the situation, they decide to ‘shake things up a little’ and Mort’s boss sends him to root out and correct the efficiency issues in their China branch office. Upon arrival, he quickly realises that he is totally unqualified to deal with the nuances and pitfalls of Chinese culture and his personal nightmare begins.

The Mort in China project has been initiated by ALBA, a small indie-comic studio based in Beijing and is the brain child of Vali Morrison, a much travelled English/ American war veteran and Macedonian born Katerina Morrison, both of whom are fluent in Mandarin. For this reader who still enjoys the Sunday newspaper ‘Comics’, the proposed series offers not only an amusing cartoon possibility, but a huge number of possibilities for learning more about China as well. As such, it could well prove to be immensely informative at this crucial time in our country’s history with the growing intensity of our interrelationship with this country especially with respect to the Korean situation. It projects the possibility of a most interesting and worthwhile development as we learn more about this sprawling nation and its people in a laid back manner as we follow Mort’s adventures and misadventures as he attempts to adjust.

5* For anticipated series development.