Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fiction: Secrets of the Dead by Tom Harper

Secrets of the Dead is a thriller and a a time slip novel.  There are two stories running in tandem, sometimes reflecting each other.  In present day Kosovo, EULEX employee Abby is having a weekend away with her boyfriend, but something happens that turns her world upside down. She discovers a conspiracy and needs to get to the bottom of it to see justice done.  Gaius, in the fourth century Roman Empire is called to Emperor Constantine's presence and tasked to solve a murder.  But Gaius has his own ghosts. Regardless, he pursues the mystery of the murder, despite knowing that he faces deep peril.

For the most part, the reader gets alternate chapters of the modern day and the Roman Empire.  It's an absorbing story, with plenty of twists and turns.  In particular, Harper is very adept at leaving a chapter on a cliff hanger.  Being rather impatient to find out what was going to happen, occasionally I skipped a chapter to find out the resolution of whatever situation the major character way in!  But for the most part, I stayed with the author's set path and galloped my way through this exciting story of the effects of our ancient and very recent past.

Tom Harper's website

An interview with Tom Harper in York's Press

Sunday, September 25, 2011

North Eastern Railway Tile Maps

This tile map is from Middlesbrough station, but there's also one at York station which I see on a work day, as I pass by destined for the bus-stop outside the station.  The maps are wonderful to look at, and you can see all the now-defunct stations in the area. 

The maps date from about 1903 when the Northern Eastern Railway was at its height.  The maps were placed at various NER stations, but not all survive to the present day - for further information go the NER website.