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Showing posts from October, 2016

HIST & MYTH: Revisiting Ireland's Great Houses

Post 184. Written by Ben Kesp

I recently watched an excellent documentary titled "Tales of Irish Castles" presented by actor Simon Delaney. Not only does the documentary present a detailed and great account on the history and evolution of Irish castles but also presents an insightful account of Ireland's rich, vibrant and lets face it, very complex history from the 12th to the early 20th century. Once the most castellated country in Europe, Ireland is left with thousands of castles and stately homes which symbolise its past and heritage. It got me thinking of a post I wrote a few years back on Ireland's Great Houses and I wanted to share with you. 
Ireland's Great Houses Originally written in 2013

In the 18th and 19th century, it is estimated that over 4,000 magnificent country houses stood strongly on the Irish landscape. Sadly today stands only a small percentage of this number that are currently in use. Scattered around the country side, lies the ruins of many o…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 183. 
Guest Talk by MikeH

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affairby Joël Dicker
There are books that have the power to seduce us as readers, to make us delve into their pages and The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair is no exception. I found it so easy to read that I consumed it in around three weeks! This novel by the young Swiss author Joël Dicker about a blocked writer and suspected killer has become a best-seller since it hit the shelves. The book has been published in more than 45 countries and translated into over 30 languages. 

Joël Dicker was born on 16 June 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland, where he pursued most of his studies. From an early age, Joël has had a passion for writing. At age 20, he made his first attempts as a fiction writer with a short story called Le Tigre (The Tiger) which won him the International Prize for Young French-speaking Authors. Then at the age of 24, he produces Les Derniers Jours de Nos Pères (The Final Days of our Fathers), a novel that tell…

HIST & MYTH: One City - Two Cathedrals: Part I Christ Church

Post 182. 
Guest Post by MikeH 
Dublin city has a rich heritage and culture, with plenty of historical attractions to discover and explore Ireland’s colourful past. As the capital of Ireland, Dublin’s history is central to its culture and customs with various historical attractions which allow visitors to learn about the city’s rich history. Dublinia is one example, a living history museum focusing on the Viking and medieval history of the city. A must-see in order to witness the magnificence of the architecture is Dublin’s two famous Cathedrals, Christ Church and Saint Patricks, both located only a short walking distance from each other. 
In August, I had the great opportunity to visit these magnificent temples during a short stay in Ireland. I was truly impressed by Christ Church, its splendid interior richly decorated, the medieval crypt, and its unusual memorials but especially by its rich cultural significance. 
Describing in one post the magnificence or all the history around Chr…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 181. 
Guest Talk by MikeH
Call from an Angelby Guillame Musso

Call from an Angel” was recommended by a good friend of mine back in 2013, and it represented my first literary encounter with the French author Guillaume Musso. Born in 1974 in Antibes, Guillaume Musso has become one of France’s favourite authors. His novels blend intensity, suspense and love perfectly and have been translated into several languages. Musso began his career in writing as a student. At the age of 19 and fascinated by United States, he lived for a short period in New York and New Jersey where he stayed and worked with people from different cultural backgrounds. His fascination and passion for the U.S is clearly reflected in his work as most of his stories are related or take place in the country. 

After being in a car accident, Musso began to write a story about a child’s near death experience: “Afterwards”, published in January 2004. This incredible encounter with his readers was closely followed by the…

LITERATURE: Forest Dwellers

Post 180. Written by Ben Kesp  Copyright © 2016 Ben Kesp

The darkened grey rain clouds hang like a veil over the forest canopy. The illuminated path cuts through the oak and ash, created from the intruding grey light from the silver hue overhead. His silhouette appears, striking a figure into the visible light. His is not of this world. Oblivious to the barrage of rain drops falling hard and heavy, striking every patch of ground, he moves forward, determined and focused. His mission, no one is sure. Through the darkness of the thick trees, eyes monitor his every movement. They watch this new stranger in their land. They fear the unknown, but curiosity drives them to watch, inquisitive of his purpose. He strides the forest path before them, eyes focused ahead. Upon reaching the end of his destination, he disappears as he appeared on the other side. This is his third appearance in the cycle of the sun. 
The wisest of the forest dwellers, a powerful sorceress, believes he is not…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 179. Written by Ben Kesp 

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I was given The Shadow of the Wind as a gift and I eagerly dived into its pages to discover 1940s Barcelona and the mystery behind the disappearance of all, except one book belonging to author Julian Carax. Carlos Zafón’s artistic style of writing is poetically beautiful and the silken words flow effortlessly over the pages. 

Ten year old Daniel Sempere selects a book from the Cemetery of Lost Books, a haven for lost and out of print books, but what he does not realise at the time is the book titled The Shadow of the Wind, is the last book left by its author Julian Carax. The book captures Daniel’s curiosity and shortly after, he discovers a man by the name of Laín Coubert, who wishes to destroy the book. Over the next ten years, Daniel begins an investigation to discover what happened to the unheard of author Julian Carax and who is the strange man with the disfigured face that wishes to destroy all of the …

LITERATURE: Blog's 4th Birthday

Post 178. Written by Ben Kesp

When I first sat down on the 12th of October 2012 to begin this blog, I would not have imagined how it would have developed to what it is today. The blog is and I think ever will be evolving all the time. Over the years it has seen many new pages, lost pages and added more but the core of what this blog is about never changed. It was and still is as a platform to share with you my love of writing and to build a collection of interests concerning ancient history and mythology. 
I was into my second month on the island of Malta when the moment hit me to use the time to catch up on what I had been missing out on. It was time to focus on something I truly loved doing, however with life circumstances, work and studies, my creativity suffered and was boxed away in a compartment within me lying dormant. 
The first monthly serial at the time on my Storyboard was Friday, which has since gone on to have two more novelettes added to its series now called the Dr…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 177. 

Guest Talk by MikeH
The Barefoot Queen by Ildelfonso Falcones 
The Barefoot Queen is another historical thriller by Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones, which brings to life a little-told story: the saga of the Spanish gypsies in 18th-century Bourbon Spain, their culture, and their persecution. Romance, friendship, betrayal, music, dance, smuggling, cruelty and savagery – are all themes present in this historical thriller. 

The busy tale begins with the arrival of Caridad in Seville, Spain. She is an African slave from Cuba liberated but stranded on board the ship following the death of her master. She’s rescued after weeks of abuse at the hands of various brutal white men by a man named Melchor, patriarch of the Vega clan of gypsies. Most of the action involves this odd couple, plus Melchor’s daughter, Ana, and granddaughter, Milagros Carmona
This group are separated by the mass roundup of gypsies in 1749: Ana, like thousands of others, is jailed and endures years of torment…