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Welcome to Halfman, Halfbook for my stop on the Blog Tour for Confess Juliette van der Molen and published by buy modafinil canada reddit.

About the Book

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1692 Salem, Massachusetts – Based on the life of Dorothy Good, the youngest person accused of and imprisoned for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, Confess tells the story of the trauma surrounding this nearly forgotten child from one of the darkest chapters in early American history. A colony is plunged into turmoil filled with misunderstandings, fear, intolerance, religious fervour, and an egregious abuse of power. Over the course of the year, more than two hundred people are accused of witchcraft and thirty are found guilty. Nineteen will be sentenced to death.

Four-year-old Dorothy and her mother, Sarah Good, are arrested for witchcraft.

Dorothy will confess.

Sarah will hang.

This is Dorothy’s story…

About the Author

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Juliette van der Molen is an ex-pat poet living in Wales. She is an intersectional feminist and member of the LGBTQ+ community. Her work has appeared in The Wellington Street Review, Nightingale & Sparrow, Burning House Press and several other publications. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. Juliette is also the Poetry Editor for Mookychick Magazine. She is a spoken word performer and has had the honour of appearing in several venues in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her books include; Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection, Mother May I? and Anatomy of A Dress.

Extract: A Hex On All Your Houses

a bit of thread, black
tied tight around this
Hathorne poppet who cares
not enough to know my
name, but removes me
from the world, all the same.

a bit of thread, red
knotted over the mouths
of Ann & Mary, who bled
untruths from tongues
loosed, cries and shakes
just from my stare, enough to
this witch, unawares.

poppets, poppets
dance for me,
slide through fire,
singed with flame,
with coals for feet,
may the heat of your lies
burn within, your lips
blotted black with sin.

i call for justice,
i call for power,
i call in the name of:
the weak,
the poor,
the unwashed,
the unwanted.

i bind your cords as
these threads burn,
i still your tongues
& break your power.

this little girl,
unjustly handled,
robbed of youth—
has grown into
what you fear,
manifested power
no longer denied.

through this hex
i heal & protect.

My Review

In February 1692 a four-year-old child watched as her mother, Sarah Good, was arrested by magistrates and took her into custody. Almost four weeks later they came back to arrest the child, Dorothy. They were both charged with the same offence, witchcraft.

This was the Salem Witch trials and of the 200 or so people who were arrested 20 of them were to lose their lives. Dorothy Good was arrested after the Putnam’s made complaints against her. She was bullied and coerces into testifying against her mother. And it was this ‘confession’ that condemned her mother to the gallows. It is not known if Dorothy was killed at the same time.

This collection is the result of Juliette van der Molen hearing about these trials and Dorothy’s arrest. She then scoured the records to discover the scant details that exist about her. It is split into four sections, the first is on her incarceration and trial, the poems are charged with emotion, from the howling as her mother is taken away in Farewell, the unfounded accusations in Devil’s Issue and when they arrest her in Poppet Mine and where a square of flannel twisted into a doll is the sole source of comfort she has as she is taken away.

The second part is the sentencing and judgement where the poems take on a really dark element, in particular When The Moon Is Dark and Banished. The third section is titled Of Revelation and Precedence and is about Ann Putnam, the accuser of the Good’s and her later revelations. Criminalis Carolina is incredibly powerful. Finally, there is Voice and Remembrance, a poetic tribute the those that lost their lives because of unfounded hysteria

i could hold them,
fold them, in my heart
or let them go in the tides
these prayers
these spells
Sinking ships in maelstroms
as my soul divides

At times, Confession makes for grim reading  but van der Molen has written this collection to be a voice to the unheard and almost unknown Dorothy Good. It is also a warning against the way that mob rule and the fear of certain types of people can mean that the modern ‘witch hunt’ is still with us.

Three Favourite Poems
When The Moon Is Dark
Remember Me

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the blog tour

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4 out of 5 stars

Life growing up with virtually nothing was what they were used to. Her father was not high in the communist regime, but he had some opportunities to travel outside the country with the family and when her mother saw the things that were available in the shops in the West she stood and looked in amazement at the shelves. All that was available in most of the shops in Sofia was queues. She grew up loving her homeland as much as she hated it and when they had the opportunity to leave when Kassobova was in her late teens, they took it. She moved to New Zealand with her family and then in 2005, moved back across the world to the UK.

This book is a series of memories of her childhood there and accounts of her returning there as a visitor. The town of Sofia had bleak apartment blocks to house the workers and their families, there were nicer parts of the town with older buildings and leafy parks, but they were reserved for those in power and with the right connections. One day having visited one of the nicer parts, she turns to her mother and asks her ‘Mum, why is everything so ugly?’ Her mother could answer her, just managing to hide her tears.

She recounts memories of the accident in Chernobyl, a painful year as she lost two grandparents and then the rumours started about a nuclear accident elsewhere in the Soviet Union. People who went out to celebrate the May Day parade were rained on with radioactive pollution and some were to die later from the poisoning. She was slightly afraid of her grandfather, he was an angry man and anyone who wasn’t of the bloodline would be an enemy. Her male cousin was the favourite, as he would carry the family name onto the next generation. In 1989 all of what they had known until that point would change as perestroika swept across the Soviet Block., both her parents would stare at the telly in disbelief as the events unfolded in front of them.

Returning to her homeland in the second part of the book is a mixed bag of emotions. Just looking at the map of Sofia she finds that strange new names of streets have replaced the strange old names. She visits her old school and when she explains to the security guard they used to study there, he waves them in. Some things don’t change though, the bus that she is just about to give up waiting for arrives late, and crawls slowly up the hills. Seeing family members that she hasn’t for so long is full of emotion she offers to pay for the fuel in her uncle’s car knowing that for him it is a quarter of his pension to pay for it. Bumping into school friends and catching up with the gossip is happy and sad at the same time.

Even though she no longer lives there, the ties to her homeland are still there but stretched gossamer thin. It is not your regular travel book where someone moves through a country or a region in a planned way, rather she spends as much time with her memories of the place as she does in the towns and cities seeing what is still there. As with her other books that I have read, she has a beautiful way of writing, it is as much about emotions and feelings as it is about the sense of place. If you have never read anything about Bulgaria before this is a good place to start.

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Welcome to Halfman, Halfbook for my stop on the Blog Tour for Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow and published by buy modafinil online south africa.


About the Book

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Returning to the world of ​Little Brother​ and ​Homeland​, ​Attack Surface​ takes us five minutes into the future, to a world where everything is connected and everyone is vulnerable.

Masha Maximow has made some bad choices in life – choices that hurt people. But she’s also made some pretty decent ones. In the log file of life, however, she can’t quite work out which side of the ledger she currently stands.

Masha works for Xoth Intelligence, an InfoSec company upgrading the Slovstakian Interior Ministry’s ability to spy on its citizens’ telecommunications with state-of-the-art software (at least, as state-of-the-art as Xoth is prepared to offer in its middle-upper pricing tier).

Can you offset a day-job helping repressive regimes spy on their citizens with a nighttime hobby where you help those same citizens evade detection? Masha is about to find out.

Pacy, passionate, and as current as next week, ​Attack Surface​ is a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.


About the Author

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Cory Doctorow ​is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger – the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of many books: ​In Real Life​, a graphic novel; ​Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free,​ a book about earning a living in the Internet age; and Homeland​, the award-winning, best-selling sequel to the 2008 YA novel ​Little Brother​. Cory has been on the frontline of international debates on privacy, copyright and freedom of information for over a decade.


My Review

Masha Maximow is a smart girl who is working for Xoth Intelligence. This is an InfoSec company who can provide individual, companies, states and countries with the tool they need to monitor and spy on their staff and citizens. She is currently in the country of Slovstakian working with the Ministry of the Interior to upgrade their systems to enable them to spy on their citizens with the best software that Xoth is prepared to sell a former Soviet Bloc country.

She learnt her trade of surveillance and providing the tools of oppression by slipping through the darker shadows of the internet in the virtual battlegrounds of Iraq, and now she is highly paid and very very good at her job. Rather than chill out in a five-star hotel in the evenings, she hits the streets and finds the leaders of the public opposition to the right-wing goons in the government and teaches them every thin that she knows on how to fight back against the oppressive surveillance. Insider knowledge does help sometimes…

Then she gets caught.

He boss at Xoth considers her compromised and she is swiftly sacked. The hotel room that she stays in that night is normally rented by the hour, but she needs to lie low before leaving the country. She is woken in the middle of the night by the sound of a car crash, it was one of the Finecab automated taxi’s wrapped around a planter. She is just dozing off and hears another crash. Another cab crash, The feeds on her phone showed the usual riot and overly heavy police response and then lots of photos and videos of cabs being deliberately run into the protestors. She realised that this was the work of the company that she had been working for not long ago. She had to leave the country as soon as possible.

She ends up back home in San Francisco, but waiting for the flights means she has time to think about how she ended up in the InfoSec business and the first person that she worked for, Carrie Johnson. When she is back home she hooks up with Tanisha a friend from long ago who is involved with the Black-Brown Alliance which had its origins in the Black Lives Matter campaign. They spend a while catching up and Maximow realises that the group needs a full-time security person and offers her services. They head back to Tanisha’s flat and she falls fast asleep. She realises that she is being targeted when the alarm of her sounds. The phone is off, but there is a hacker trying to get into her phone. The log file terrifies her, so she goes to check Tanisha’s phone and realises that it has been compromised. Just how much is soon clear when she is picked up on a train and Maximow offers to go with her.

Life for both is never going to be the same again.

This world that Doctorow has imagined is set in the very near future, with most of the technologies that he is writing about either already with us or we are on the cusp of receiving them. It feels absolutely bang up to date with some of the things that are happening in the plot and subplots being very strongly influenced by current real-life events. It is set just far enough into the future to be a quite disturbing dystopia. I really liked this book, even though it is a terrifying read. If you think about the implications of a future of overly authoritarian states that he is predicting in here, then it is pretty grim.

I thought that the characters mostly felt fully fleshed out, Maximow, in particular, seems to be some flawed genius. Her two bosses at the InfoSec companies, Carrie Johnstone and Ilsa are two sides of the same coin really. Both super smart and ambitious they only have on thing in mind and that is to maintain power and influence in their company and over the population as a whole. I did find that it jumped around a bit too much between her present warp-speed life and the recounting of her previous life. Occasionally he moves away from the technical language that most will be able to follow and ventures deep into the silicon pathways. Where this book really wins though is presenting the stark future of the advent of mass and oppressive surveillance of the population at large and the choices that we have to make very soon as a society to curtail government and private sector intrusion into our private lives. This is 1984 in real life; your life. Oh, and read the two afterwords too; they should make you think.

There is a need to balance online privacy, everyday security and the ability to solve crime. But not at the cost of individuality, freedom and self-expression

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the blog tour

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3 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, two cousins live in the village of Camborne in the West Country. They lived in a terrace of three houses and had the end ones with a neighbour in between. The middle house was currently vacant, the previous occupant a retired schoolmaster, Mr Herrick, had died suddenly of a heart attack three months ago. Various people had visited with the aim of moving in, but they disapproved of them, until the arrival of a gentleman in his mid-forties.

Two weeks later a removals van pulled up followed soon after by a small yellow car. A man wearing green trousers and a scarlet sweater jumped out and let the removals men in. He notices the two women watching him, and blows a kiss and holds his heart in admiration. He appeared at their door later with the gift of chocolates.

Mr Cadmus had arrived.

Cadmus swiftly moves from being an outsider to fully embedded in village life. The comfortable life and daily routine and they had enjoyed in Camborne disappeared as Mr Cadmus wreaked havoc on the day to day life of the village. There is an armed robbery, unheard of in this village and in Barnstaple one day there is an earthquake. Not everything is as it seems with Mr Cadmus though and the two ladies have their suspicions about him. Then the deaths began…

I have read several of Ackroyd’s non-fiction books, but up until now none of his fiction, so I was delighted to receive this. I thought it was quite captivating at first, the plot line was intriguing and he manages to frame the village as being a nice place to live on the surface, but if you scratch the surface there are lots of things going on. I felt that the characters of the two cousins were not fully formed, they both had a back story of mutual secrets that they had no desire to see revealed, but the arrival of Mr Cadmus adds another level of tension to their relationship. I liked this, it is full of surreal moments and dark humour. However, even though the first half of this was really good, but it lost me a little in the second part.

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September was a strange month, my youngest two went back to school for the first time in five months, and a week later there was a positive COVID case in my sons class so he was off for two weeks. My company then said that they would prefer me to work at home, so my work commute was a few steps from the kitchen to the office. Didn’t get to read quite as much as I wanted to but it was a very good reading month with two five star books. First some stats after reaching three-quarters of the way through the year.

So far I have read 147 books and a total of 36792 pages. 102 of the authors were male and the remaining 45 were female (31%). I have read 69 review books, 31 library books and 47 of my own.

Top five publishers are:

Eland – 10 Books

Faber – 9 books

Elliott & Thompson – 6 books

Little Toller- 6 books

Canongate – 6 books


Top five genres are:

Travel – 32 books

Poetry – 19 books

Natural History – 17 books

Memoir – 12

Fiction – 11

So onto this months reading. Haus Publishing was kind enough to send me a copy of DH Lawrence in Italy by Richard Owen. He was a fascinating character and he adored being in Italy. I have never read any of Lawrence’s fiction, but having read this I want to read his book on Sardina.

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One of the shortlisted books on the Wainwright Prize was the beautifully written Dark, Salt, Clear by Lamorna Ash. It is all about her time spent living in Cornwall and out on the fishing boats with the locals. Well worth reading just for the prose.

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I read three books on environmental concerns, the first Losing Eden is about the science behind how we react to the natural world and how it can help heal us. The second two were concerning the current subject of rewilding. Both had a certain amount of overlap and were advocating the various ways of doing this. All worth reading.

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Isabelle at Fly on the Wall Press kindly sent me a copy of these short stories by Graeme Hall. Set in Macau, these are slightly surreal and unreal stories of the place and people there. I was also sent the new Peter Ackroyd from Canongate, Mr Cadmus. I thought that the first half of this was really good, but it lost me a little in the second part.

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Ther is a new publisher out there called buy modafinil duck. Their first book is by  David Banning and it is called Boundary Songs. This is the account of his journey around the Lake District national park as he recounts what he sees as he walks and cycles. It is a very good start and I am looking forward to seeing what they publish next.

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I was offered The Gospel of the Eels by the publisher and accepted a copy. It is a family memoir with ells basically. I thought it was good, but not exceptional. Dancing with Bees is very good, Brigit Strawbridge Howard tells of the bees that she finds in her garden and around her North Dorset Home.

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My two poetry books could not have been any more different, the first, How to Make Curry Goat by Louise McStravick is a poetic response to her mixed-heritage, working-class identity. Tongues of Fire by Seán Hewitt is very different; its dedication to life, hope and renewal as seen through the natural world.

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People who decide to head off around the world without going anywhere near a plane are a special breed. Elspeth Beard is one of those and Lone Rider is her account of a 35,000-mile journey taken on her trusty BMW motorbike in the early 1980s. A really good travel book and if you like motorcycle travel, then Read Bearback by Pat Garrod too.

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Now for my books of the month and there are two of them this month. The first is Unofficial Britain by Gareth Rees. This is about the things that are on the fringes of society, industrial estates and electricity pylons, motorway service stations of roundabouts and flyovers. Places that most people don’t notice, but still have the capacity to collect stories. The second is about a man that I had never heard of until I picked up this book, Bruce Wannell. He was a great traveller and orientalist and this is a collection of tribute from those that knew him.

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5 out of 5 stars

If you were to consider a trip from Geneva to the Khyber Pass these days you would need a lot of planning, visas and even if you were trying to do it on a budget, a reasonable wad of cash. Back in 1953 Nicolas Bouvier and his friend, the artist Thierry Vernet decided to do this very journey in a convertible Fiat Topolino. They had no idea how long it would take and they only had enough money for four months travelling.

This limited budget would come to define the trip and the rich experiences that they gained from it. Rather than charge across the landscape, glimpsing sights and the people as they drove past they were forced to go slowly, stop and take time to earn more for the next stage of the journey and move slowly on again. The lack of funds meant that they have to find the cheapest possible places to stay and eat, this brings them into regular contact with people that if they had been sightseeing on a bigger budget they would have missed completely. It gives them a much better insight into the character of a city

In some of the places that they stopped they were there for a considerable length of time, arriving in Tabriz they were quizzed by a police colonel who gained permission from the local general to stay as long as they like. With their passes stamped, they could rent rooms; they were to be in Tabriz for some time. The Armenians told them many bad things about the Turkish families at the other end of the village, so they thought they would pay the head a visit just to see if any of it was true. He was an interesting character who it turns out had lived in France for a few years and he filled them in about the history of the place. They made friends with the postmaster too, collecting the letters would involve a chat and several cups of tea, but he never lost one and it was a lifeline to the outside world.

You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you – or unmaking you.

They were to stay in the village for around six months before trying to leave. They had tried to leave earlier, but couldn’t make it through the water and were pulled behind a peasant and his horse, but they did eventually make it away and onto the next stage of their journey, through Mianeh and onto Tehran. The attempts at modernisation were a bit half-hearted and seemingly carried out without anything resembling a plan. But there were plane trees on some of the avenues that offered cool shade over cafes where you could spend the rest of your life. What really struck them was the blue that was used to colour everything. Its intensity in the sun lifted their hearts.

They left Tehran for Isfahan with heavy hearts and were driving along tarmacked roads that were pitted with potholes, making it a slightly perilous journey. They arrived at the place they were staying tired from the journey and weary from Tehran. They were their briefly and then onto the next town, Shiraz, but what they really wanted to do was leave Iran. They were asked to wait at the customs post until the superior officer arrived. The register was duly signed, and now they needed a push from the soldiers to get going again into Pakistan.

They reached Quetta and found a whitewashed hotel to stay in. They drank whisky on the roof terrace and listened to Mulberries drop onto the courtyard below. Just reaching here was enough. One rebuilt engine later and they were ready to move on to the final part of their journey.

After all, one travels in order for things to happen and change; otherwise, you might as well stay at home.

I had read Bouvier’s collection So it Goes, about his travels in the Aran Isles and Xian late last year but not read this even though I had had a copy for a while now. I now wish that I had read it earlier, as it is an absolutely superb travel book. Even though it was written a decade after they began their journey, it still feels of the moment. They take everything as it comes, rough and smooth, savouring the good experiences and taking the lessons from the failures and setbacks. The book is liberally scattered with the art and sketches from Vernet, they are full of energy and bring and extra dimension to the text. It is the sort of journey that I could imagine that Patrick Leigh Fermor would have continued with after his great trudge had he had the opportunity. Very highly recommended.

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Hi Everyone. As the nights are rapidly drawing in I am looking forward o getting stuck into these in October.


Finishing Off (Still!)

Vickery’s Folk Flora: An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants – Roy Vickery

Lotharingia: A Personal History Of Europe’s Lost Country – Simon Winder

A Time Of Birds: Reflections on Cycling Across Europe – Helen Moat

Slow Train to Guantanamo – Peter Millar

Corvus: A Life with Birds – Esther Woolfson

Modern Nature – Derek Jarman


Blog Tours

Attack Surface – Cory Doctorow

Confess – Julia Van Der Molen

Days of Falling Flesh and Rising Moons – Steve Denehan


Review Copies

Thank you to the publishers that have sent me these review copies:

American Dirt – Jeanie Cummins

The Maths Of Life And Death – Kit Yates

Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico – Ronald Wright

A Time Of Birds: Reflections on Cycling Across Europe – Helen Moat

A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Who We Are – Flynn Coleman

Signs of Life: To the Ends of the Earth with a Doctor – Stephen Fabes

A Bird a Day – Dominic Couzens

The Age of Static: How TV Explains Modern Britain – Phil Harrison

Material: Making and the Art of Transformation – Nick Kary

Bringing Back the Beaver: The Story of One Man’s Quest to Rewild Britain’s Waterways – Derek Gow

Rotherweird – Andrew Caldecot

Wyntertide – Andrew Caldecot

Featherhood – Charlie Gilmour

Attack Surface – Cory Doctorow


Library Books

Complete change around from last month as for the first time in a very long time I have had to renew my library books. These are the next books due back fairly soon now:

Modern Nature – Derek Jarman

Inglorious – Mark Avery

Nightingales In November – Mike Dilger

Nine Pints – Rose George

Buzz – Thor Hanson


Challenge Books

As well as a dusty shelf challenge that I am running on Good Reads, I am joining in with #20BooksOfSummer run by Cathy at buy modafinil from canada.

From Rome to San Marino – Oliver Knox

Hokkaido Highway Blues – Will Ferguson

A Dragon Apparent – Norman Lewis

In Search of Conrad – Gavin Young


Own Books

See challenge books!



Rapture – Carol Ann Duffy

Mancunian Ways – Isabelle Kenyon (Editor)


Science Fiction

Didn’t read any last month (yet again!!!) so this is still on the list:

One Way – S.J. Morden

Attack Surface – Cory Doctrow

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4 out of 5 stars

Living between two cultures is not always easy, but it is something that British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus has had to live with, but it is not the only divide he has to manage, he is also deaf so he has to live in his quiet world and interact with the loud world. He has expressed these multifaceted identities in the poems in the book.

There are poems about his father, memories from his childhood and his later dementia. The collection is named after the pub that he sat outside while his father was inside drinking. Some of the poems show just how furious he can be, there is a furious rebuttal of Ted Hughes poems, Deaf School, with the original prose redacted and his response, After Reading ‘Deaf School’ by the Mississippi River and the poem that is a tribute to three women murdered in Haiti, For Jesula Gelin, Vanessa Previl and Monique Vincent.

What language
Would we speak
Without ears?

Nowadays, instead of violence,
I write until everything goes

This is quite a powerful collection, he is justifiable angry, but does not let it become a whinge, rather his energy is directed to raising awareness and making things equal. I liked the addition of sign language amongst the poems too. There are many ways of communicating what we want to say and this collection is another way of doing just that.

Three Favourite Poems
Jamaican British
My Mother Remembers
Happy Birthday Moon

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5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Up until I picked this book up I had never heard of Bruce Wannell. He was a great traveller but has written no travel books. His knowledge of Indo-Persian and Islamic civilization was encyclopaedic and he left no written works on that either. He was an excellent musician and linguist too, he could speak fluently in French, Italian, English or German as well as conversing in Turkish and Greek. His first love though was the cultures of the middle east, speaking Iranian and Afghan Persian so he could absorb as much of their cultures as possible. He could also talk in Arabic, Pushtu, Urdu, Swahili. No wonder he was described as the greatest Orientalist of his generation.

He seems to know everyone too; he would arrive in London to visit friends and within the hour, Afghan musicians would be arriving at their door to play music for the household. Almost everywhere he went he seemed to know someone. His home in the UK was a tiny attic room in York, filled with books and the things that he treasured, but he was most at home in the mountains of Afghanistan and Iran. He had a deep understanding of their culture and he was not among them to prove a point, just to share their way of life. He could mix with the lowliest villager and the most powerful sheikhs and they all respected him

Everyone knew Bruce Wannell, but at the same time I feel as though none of us knew him at all

This book is a series of wonderful and generous tributes from his friends and people that came to know him over his life. It seems that he had the time and kind words for everyone that he met. He would occasionally get himself in trouble, every now and again he could ruffle feathers, but he was a charming man who could almost talk his way out of any situation. He had almost no money and yet still managed to eat and travel. He had an eye for things that gave him pleasure, whether they were ceramics, fine Persian clothes or the tastiest food, he always somehow acquired them. Music was something that gave him enormous pleasure, he would find a home with a piano and persuade the owner to let him play it and then invite people to come and listen. At the various concerts that he arranged there would be anonymous men from the civil service in their suits, William Dalrymple would take one look at them and could tell they were spooks. Was he a spy? Dalrymple implies that he was as he never really got to the bottom of what Wannell was doing in Peshawar or why he had to leave their in a hurry.

Reading this, I now feel that I know him so much better, but this is just the briefest of introductions. There are not many of his type left in the world now and his absence has left a huge gap in the lives of those that could call him their friend. 

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