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  • gilwilson 10:35 PM on June 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: pilots, torture, world war II,   

    “Code Name Verity” By Elizabeth Wein 

    23955143Code Name Verity
    By: Elizabeth Wein
    Narrated by: Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell
    Series: Code Name Verity, Book 1
    Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
    Release date: 06-06-12
    Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

    Dive into the world of WWII female pilots in this fictionalized tale brought together by many stories from the spies and pilots. Verity is captured and tortured by the SS and forced to tell the secrets of the allies. Verity, however reveals no secrets yet tells the truth the whole time. Dive into the world of WWII female pilots in this fictionalized tale brought together by many stories from the spies and pilots. Verity is captured and tortured by the SS and forced to tell the secrets of the allies. Verity, however reveals no secrets yet tells the truth the whole time.

    Great audiobook listening with great vocal delivery makes this an historical novel that will put you in the action.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in Verity’s own words, as she writes her account for her captors.

    ©2012 Elizabeth Gatland (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

  • gilwilson 3:34 PM on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andrew scott, , , , , , , world war II, ,   

    Audiobook Review: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More” 

    henry sugar

    Audiobook Review: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More”
    by Roald Dahl
    read by Andrew Scott
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 7 hours

    Penguin Audio has recently released the works of Roald Dahl, the man who brought us “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and I have the pleasure of getting all these audiobooks for review. I immediately jumped in with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” and really didn’t know which book to listen to next. It was great reliving my childhood and being entertained as an adult with these fantastically funny and whimsical stories.

    I decided to just randomly choose my next Roald Dahl audio choice and this is the one I came up with. This audiobook came as a complete surprise. The stories in this collection are much different from the Roald Dahl stories I was used to. This collection is a combination of fiction and non-fiction stories each one was unique and while most were poignant they each revealed a little bit of humanity as the story progressed and unfolded. Not knowing any of the stories beforehand made for a very pleasant surprise as the end of each story was reached. Sometimes there was that bit of tear in my eye and sometimes there was a hopefulness for all of humanity.

    This is definitely a collection to grab for the older fans of Roald Dahl. A couple of the stories are autobiographical in nature and as the listener you will discover a little more about the man that told such great children’s stories. The narrator in this collection did a superb job in presenting each story and giving each story their own unique ambiance through his vocal presentation.


    Next, I will briefly summarize each story to give you a hint as to what you can expect.


    “The Boy Who Talked with Animals”

    This story is told from the point of view of someone on vacation in Jamaica. One night a huge sea turtle is being brought on the shore by some fishermen. All the people on the beach are enthralled by the massive beast and many talk about the ways the turtle could bring in money, some of the enterprising vacationers offer money for the turtle. All offers are turned down because the hotel owner has already paid for the turtle to make turtle soup. The vacationers are then talking about how great dinner will be. A young boy steps in and calls everyone horrible and cruel. The boy loves animals and even talks with them according to his parents. The boy’s father pays off the fishermen and the hotel manager and the turtle is set free. But that is not the end of the story. The next day the boy is missing and only when the fishermen return from sea can the story find a very heartwarming ending.


    “The Hitch-hiker”

    I found this story very intriguing. The beginning is not clear where the story will go but by the end it is quite humorous. The story is told from the point of view of a man who has a brand new BMW 3.3 LI. He is enjoying a drive down the highway and stops to pick up a “rat-like” hitch-hiker with long fingers. They begin talking and eventually talk about the car and the hitch-hiker talks the man into pushing the car to it’s limits. They get the speed up faster and faster until a police officer on a motorcycle comes up from behind. The driver is given a ticket and even threatens the driver with prison time. After receiving the ticket the driver becomes quiet. The hitch-hiker then tries to cheer him up by making him guess his profession. Once the driver starts to guess the story becomes funny and even with a little twist to the end of the tale.


    “The Mildenhall Treasure”

    This story is the first non-fiction in the collection and tells of a plowman who is plowing a field in England during WWII for a local farmer. The plowman, Gordon Butcher, hits a hard spot in the field and the plow becomes disconnected from the tractor. Wanting to get the field plowed before the snow hits he rushes back to try and clear the plow. What he discovers is a large metal plate. The area is well known for it’s buried Roman Treasures. When he tells the farmer, the farmer proceeds to uncover the treasure which is a collection of silver dinnerware, later discovered to be worth millions. The farmer moves all of the treasure to his home where he cleans the silver and keeps it for himself. The catch is that the United Kingdom has a law that buried treasures must be reported and become property of the country, (compensating the discoverer, of course). The farmer hides the treasure and keeps it to himself until a visiting historian sees one of the silver spoons accidentally left out. This may be a bit of a spoiler but the treasure now sits in the national museum, but the events that lead to getting the treasure in the proper hands make this story intriguing.


    “The Swan”

    Break out the tissue for this one. Peter Watson loves nature and birds, when bullies Ernie and Raymond set off to kill some rabbits with the new gun Ernie received for his birthday, they run into Peter. Peter has always been the target of the two bullies and this day just became his worse day ever. Holding Peter at gunpoint the bullies tie him to the middle of a railroad track. They tie him down between the rails so that he narrowly escapes death as the train rolls by and Peter barely fits under the passing train. They then march Peter to a nature sanctuary and shoot a swan. This brings Peter to tears to see such a beautiful creature shut down. The bullies send him over to retrieve the swan. This is when Peter discovers the unhatched eggs. To further Peter’s humiliation, Ernie says he can bring the swan to life and cuts off the wings and straps them to Peter. The events that follow present a little hope to anyone being bullied.


    “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

    Henry Sugar is an extremely wealthy man who loves gambling. While visiting with a doctor friend he discovers a medical report about a man who could see without using his eyes. This man studied with a Yogi until he developed the ability. Henry Sugar sees this as a way to guarantee winning at numerous casinos. The catch is the process of learning this ability requires strict mind and body training. The training, while successful, changes Henry in many ways and soon he looks at life from a different viewpoint.


    “Lucky Break”

    This is a non-fictional account which discusses the events in his life that led to Roald Dahl becoming a writer, including a meeting with a famous writer, who helped to launch his career. The story is about Dahl’s school and all the teachers, up until after the publication of his first story.


    “A Piece of Cake”

    This final story is another non-fiction story which is autobiographical in nature. This one covers Dahl’s time as a fighter pilot in World War II, and details how Dahl was injured and eventually forced to leave the Mediterranean arena. The original version of the story was written for C. S. Forester so that he could get the gist of Dahl’s story and rewrite it in his own words. However, Forester was so impressed by the story (Dahl at the time did not believe himself to be anything approaching an accomplished writer) that he sent it straight off to his agent who had it published (as “Shot Down Over Libya”) in the Saturday Evening Post, thereby kick-starting Dahl’s writing career.


    A great collection of some of Roald Dahl’s lesser known works, that will give you a little more insight of the famous children’s author.


  • gilwilson 8:39 PM on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fascism, , , ken follett, , , pearl harbor, , the century trilogy, winter of the world, world war II,   

    Audiobook Review: “Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy” by Ken Follett 


    “Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy”
    by Ken Follett
    read by John Lee
    Published by Penguin Audio
    total playing time 31.5 hours

    Lately, I have found myself venturing into the unknown. That’s really not as ominous as it sounds, the unknown is what I am using to describe genres of books and audiobooks that I haven’t normally found interesting, therefore have skipped over. This time I decided it was time to dive into some historical fiction. Dive in I did, I took on a 31.5 hour Ken Follett novel about the events leading up to, during and immediately after World War II. I’m not sure what got into me to tackle such a large audiobook in a genre I would not normally give much attention, but here I am, grateful that I did.

    To make matters worse, I jumped into this audiobook knowing it was part two of a trilogy. “The Century Trilogy,” by Follett, follows five interrelated families throughout the 20th Century. I figured that since this was historical fiction and many of the events are well known, I wouldn’t have a problem jumping in. I was right, but at the same time I now want to go back and listen to or read the first book, “Fall of Giants.” So if you are wondering if you can just jump on in the middle, the answer is yes, but it will leave you wanting more. So until the third book is released the first one can be at the ready.

    One of the aspects of this audiobook that kept me listening was the narrator, John Lee. Lee’s voice is a unique voice that when needed was able to bend and stretch around the voices of the many characters and accents which brought this book to life. Being a bit of a nerd, I immediately recognized Lee’s voice as that of Cogliostro from the “Spawn” animated series, and being a huge fan of the “Spawn” comic books I just couldn’t not listen to Cogliostro talk about World War II. The nerd in me made me listen at first, but the excellent vocal control of the many characters kept me involved in the book.

    This story follows five interrelated families located around the world; Buffalo, NY, Washington, D.C, Germany, England and the U.S.S.R. as Adolph Hitler and his fascist regime rises to power and leads the war in Europe. The book also takes us to the Pacific Theatre of the war with first the bombing of Pearl Harbor to some great sea battles in the Pacific and eventually to the development and deployment of the Atomic bombs in Japan.

    Through the lives of the families involved, the listener/reader learns of the many atrocities of the Nazis, including Aktion T-4 where the mentally handicapped were executed because they were a burden on the state. Also thrown in are some stories involving espionage, helping prisoners of war escape and even a few love stories thrown in. Basically, it’s a real life look at what happens to individuals during war time.

    Ken Follett’s prose created a story that kept me glued to this audiobook for the full 31.5 hours. I have to admit, there were my weak moments within the first few hours where I was tempted to stop listening but the events and relationships between the characters just sucked me end and before I knew it the war was nearly over and the world was beginning to recover. The nice thing about the ending is that the development of the characters and relationships led to what will be, I’m sure, a big part of the next book in the trilogy, race relations, civil rights and more.

  • gilwilson 9:43 PM on June 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Hawkes, , , , Ben Diskin, , concentration camps, , , incident at vichy, , , Jon Matthews, , , , , , , Robert Lesser, Shahar Sorek, socialism, world war II,   

    “Incident at Vichy” by Arthur Miller from “The Arthur Miller Collection” Published by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “Incident at Vichy”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection” Published by L.A. Theatre Works
    starring: Ben Diskin, Arye Gross, Jamie Hanes, Andrew Hawkes, Gregory Itzin, Robert Lesser, Jon Matthews, Lawrence Pressman, Raphael Sbarge, Armin Shimerman and Shahar Sorek.
    70 minutes

    “Incident at Vichy” has got to be one of the most intense one-act plays ever. In just over one hour Arthur Miller manages to tell a story that begins with hope but ends with hopelessness. Knowing world history this is one of those plays that while the world knows the general outcome, of the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis, but this play explores the how. Looking back from our 21st century viewpoint it is really hard to see how Germany got by with what was done to the Jews and how they managed to gather all those listed as inferior and put them in Death Camps. This play demonstrates how human nature, guilt, fear, and enabled the Nazis to perpetrate the Holocaust with so little resistance.

    This one-act play takes place in a police station where a group of detainees are waiting for inspection by German officers. The detainees are all trying to deny the actual reason they were brought in (because the are suspected of being Jews) and try to tell themselves that it is a routine document check. But when some bring up that their noses were measured, and they all realize that most of them are Jews, then the fear of the real reason begins. Each one has story to tell and most of the stories are about escaping German occupied France to Vichy where they think they would be safe.

    At one point one of the detainees tells of rumors of the Death Camps and the furnaces. Some of the more able-bodied remaining detainees attempt an escape but it is thwarted by the French major who is an injured veteran of the German / French part of the war, and is now forced to assist the Germans. Each one is pulled into the interrogation room some leave to go back to work some are not seen again.

    The final scene in this play is when the last detainee is trying to convince the major to let him go and the discussion over whose life is more valuable begins.

    The play is an enlightening glimpse into the darker side of human nature and is by no means one that will lift your spirits, however,the cast in this performance are perfect in their character representations. Another great production from L.A. Theater Works.

  • gilwilson 10:20 PM on May 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , world war II, ,   

    “Zombies vs. Nazis; A Lost History of the Walking Dead” by Scott Kenemore 

    “Zombies vs. Nazis; A Lost History of the Walking Dead”
    by Scott Kenemore
    published by Skyhorse Publishing
    259 pages

    Sometimes you just have to read a zombie book for fun. I know, that’s kind of hard to do with zombies being the flesh-eating creatures wanting to eat brains, but if you ever pick up a zombie book by Scott Kenemore you’ll see what I mean by a fun zombie book. Scott is the same author that brought to the zombie literary world; “The Zen of Zombie,” “Z.E.O,” “The Art of Zombie Warfare,” and his novel “Zombie, Ohio.” He always takes the fun approach to zombies and sometimes applies them to possible practical uses.

    Scott Kenemore is a fan of all things zombie and throws in as much of his knowledge as can fit into each book. This time around he breaks out some lost communications between the leaders of the Third Reich and some scientists sent to Haiti to find the secret to making zombies so that the Fatherland could send armies of zombies to trample the allied forces and lead to the Rise of the Third Reich as THE world power.

    The book is written as if they are communications from three scientists sent to Haiti to find the secrets of zombie making. The communications are reports from each member 2 of which are under the guise of lepidopterists, in search of the Haitian Monarch Butterfly and a third disguised as a member of the clergy. One of the scientists begins his excursion falling from the heat and complaining non-stop even threatening the “Obergruppenfuhrer” with punishment from his influential family to get him back to the Fatherland. This scientist is Franz Baedecker, and his communiques are some of the funniest in the book.

    Baedecker soon changes his tune and goes native. Baedecker even sends messages to not tell the other two where he is and that he is seeking further information by entrenching himself with the voodoo practitioners to learn more.

    Gunter Knecht, under the guise of a clergy, places himself among the other clergy sent to convert the heathens to Christianity, Judaism or Muslim by the other clergy on the island. Knecht is taken in by Father Gill (a drunken Irish priest) and shown a zombie making ceremony, but before the ceremony begins, is abducted and tied in a cave in a compromising position as a warning.

    The three eventually find zombies, battle zombies and even make zombies, but problems and in-fighting prevents the three from bringing the secrets back to Hitler, thus allowing the Allies to win the war.

    “Zombies vs. Nazis” is a hilarious book that will keep you giggling at the exploits of what seems to be the Nazi equivalent of the Three Stooges.

  • gilwilson 12:51 PM on April 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , james farantino, julie harris, , , performance, , , world war II,   

    “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller from the “Arthur Miller Collection” by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “All My Sons”
    by Arthur Miller
    included in the “Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by: James Farentino, Arye Gross, Julie Harris, Mitchell Hebert, Naomi Jacobson, Barbara Klein, Paul Morella, Michaeleen O’Neil, Nathan Taylor and Jerry Whiddon.
    Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
    Approx. 2 Hours.

    I’m continuing my run through this collection of 10 plays by Arthur Miller that is “The Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre works and this next play is “All My Sons.”  I’m going to include this in one of the depressing plays from Arthur Miller, the entire premise is sad, and in fact this one really reminded me of a classic Greek Tragedy, in that a character committed an act that haunts him until his tragic end.  This time around the act is to allow faulty aircraft parts to go out during war and end up killing pilots.

    Before we talk about the story I have to talk about the production itself.  L.A. Theatre Works produces plays in audio format and every one I have heard, so far, has been a joy to hear.  Not necessarily due to the subject matter, as this play proves, but in the production itself.   Each performance is recorded with a live cast and with all the elements combined the listener feels as though they are placed smack-dab in the middle of the audience.  Being a student of theatre I was leery at the idea of theatrical performances in audio format.  The reason being, theatre is a visual art.  But the excellent production in all of LATW’s releases have taken the visual part out of the equation and mad these fully enjoyable in audio only format.  In all my previous listenings, LATW has pulled this off perfectly.

    With that said there was one minor scene in this story that just didn’t work right for me.  I’m not sure if it was because I was missing something visually or what but it just didn’t feel right.  It’s the scene where Kate’s brother, George comes back to confront Joe about the criminal act that put George & Kate’s father in prison while Joe went free.  When he arrives he was very angry, then suddenly in the scene he was congenial and ready to go out to dinner, only to immediately go back to being angry and storming off.  The mood changes in this scene seemed forced and just didn’t make sense at the moment.  However the scene is needed and later on in the performance all goes back to being perfectly performed and produced that that scene is forgiven.   By no means let that keep you from listening to this otherwise stellar performance of “All My Sons.”

    Another aspect of all the productions of LATW is the casting.  Each time I hear one of these performances I love knowing the actors names.  In this performance Arye Gross portrays Chris the son who is the center of the play, and he owns the part.  His portrayal is spot on and superb.  Sure, he’s got the support of James Farantino and Julie Harris, but Gross just makes the character come to life in his performance.

    In August 1946 Joe Keller, a self-made businesmann,  who once manufactured parts for the war effort, is contemplating a tree that has been taken down by a recent storm.  The tree was planted in memory of his son, Larry, who died in the war.   His son, Chris, is visiting and has invited Larry’s girlfriend to the homestead to ask her to marry him.   The problem with all of this is that Kate, Joe’s wife and Chris’s mother, believes Larry is still alive and will coming back.

    Ann’s father is in prison for selling faulty engine blocks for p-40 aircraft that ended up killing the pilots that flew with them.  He claims that he alerted Joe to the problem but Joe had the parts sent out anyway so he wouldn’t lose the government contract.  Joe says he was sick the day that Steve, Ann’s father, called and did not know.  A neighbor reveals that everyone on the block thinks Joe is guilty.

    Kate says Joe cannot be guilty because that would mean he killed their son and all those other boys.   In a play where family secrets are kept tight and the final outcome could destroy everyone, Arthur Miller has written a depressing yet eye-opening play.  The idea of business matters over safety is a lesson that is apropos even today.

    • Tanya/ dog eared copy 1:37 PM on April 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I just posted my own review of this same production on my own blog a couple of days ago and I find interesting that we both mentioned the scene with George as being problematic and; that we both referred to Greek Tragedy! However, whereas you saw that scene as an anomaly in an otherwise excellent production, I was less impressed with the overall performance. I found the unrelenting fervor a bit wearing.


      • gilwilson 2:40 PM on April 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Just went over to your blog and read…yeah you weren’t too happy overall.
        I thought the play was very strong otherwise, Arye Gross seemed to carry this performance for me. And yes that scene….ugh…It just didn’t quite make sense as it happened, but later in the play I understood what happened, but (and this is coming from an audio professional) i think the problem with this may have been an editing problem. I think there should have been longer silences or bigger gaps between the emotional changes. I would love to see this performed live and try to figure out what is missing in that scene.

        While I don’t full agree, i do like your “ham-fisted” description of the scene…just the term ham-fisted, i guess.

        When I read this play in college my comparison back then was to a Greek Tragedy as are most of Arthur Miller’s plays. He definitely wrote some tragic plays…death of a salesman was also a good Greek Tragedy type play. (btw, since you have the same collection I have, you’ll be listening to that one soon, I’m guessing, Stacy Keach rules that performance.)

        I also see you are listening to “We’re Alive” I loved that series…how’s that one going for you?


  • gilwilson 10:38 PM on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , apartheid, , boxing, bryce cortenay, racism, south africa, world war II   

    “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay 

    “The Power of One”
    by Bryce Courtenay
    read by Humphrey Bower
    Published by Bolinda Publishing (2006)
    approx 21 hours

    I think I have just listened to one of the most fun and inspirational books of all time.   I’ve always been a slight fan of boxing, okay rather used to be a fan of boxing, mainly a fan of Muhammed Ali.  Tyson intrigued me but later in his career he turned out to be pretty much a thug and I lost interest in the sport altogether.  What does this have to do with this book?  Well this is the story of PK, a young white boy growing up in South Africa, during the 30s and 40s and ends up having the goal of becoming the World Welter-weight champion.

    The book is written beautifully in first person and the author even does a few tricks with the storytelling that allows the reader/listener to hear the book from PK’s point of view with the view changing as he ages.  When he is young all the older characters are exagerated and larger than life and as he matures, his views of the adults becomes more introspective.

    He first goes through the ridicule of being an English boy (a rooinek, Afrikaans for redneck).  Only being 5 years old the book opens when he is at a boarding school.  He was sent away to this school after his mother was sent to a “nervous hospital.”

    PK gets his name from this boarding school, in that he is called by the other children and staff, pisskop (Afrikaans for “piss head”) because he wets the bed.  The opening of the book finds PK being tortured in the school’s showers for wetting his bed, by the Judge, an older kid and bully, and the jury, the Judge’s followers.  That christmas PK goes home to his nanny a tribeswoman who was first his wet nurse then his nanny.  She calls in the tribal chief (a witchdoctor) to cure him of his night water.   The chief cures him and in turn gives PK a chicken as a pet and calls him Grandpa Chook.   PK trains the chicken and the chicken becomes inseparable from PK.  When he goes back to school, the chicken earns his keep by eating cockroaches in the school’s kitchen.

    The Judge begins this new term showing off his home made tattoo of a swastika.  The Judge as well as the school support Adolph Hitler in this world war.  PK is the only rooinek and becomes the subject of all their torment.   The Judge makes PK march, hold up an iron bar for hours on end and various other tortures as a prisoner of war.  PK eases this by lowering his “camouflage”  and telling the Judge he can help him pass his classes.  PK being smarter than most of the other boys does the Judge’s homework and gets less torture.  But when the term ends and the Judge passes, PK gets the worst torture ever.   In one of the saddest scenes of the book PK gets the worst humiliation and loses Grandpa Chook.

    At the end of the year, traumatized from his experiences, PK is informed that he will not be returning to the farm, rather, he will be going to the East Transvaal town of Barberton, where his grandfather lives after the outbreak of Newcastle disease on his previous home.

    On the train to Barberton, PK befriends Hoppie Groenewald, a guard. Groenewald shares his love of boxing with PK. After seeing him win a boxing match, PK is mesmerised with the sport and vows to become the welterweight champion of the world. However, the next day Hoppie departs to fight in a war, and Hoppie’s friend Hetty dies on the train PK is travelling on.   “First with your head and then with your heart.” So says Hoppie Groenewald, boxing champion, to a seven-year-old boy who dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world. For the young PK, it is a piece of advice he will carry with him throughout his life.

    When PK arrives in Barberton, he realizes both his academic and physical potential. He excels in his grades and fights the children of the school.   He trains with the local Prison Boxing team and proves his ability and becomes a frequent winner, never losing a match.  PK encounters numerous friends in Barberton, including a professor of music, Prof. Karl von Vollesteen who is placed in prison as a prisoner of war (being German in an anti-nazi town), and a  black prisoner, Geel Piet, who coaches him in boxing. They form alliances, and each believe that all humans have equal rights. Along with the librarian, Mrs. Boxall, they establish the ‘Sandwich Fund’, which helps to supply the families of people in the Barberton prison.

    Over the course of his childhood and young adulthood, PK builds confidence in his boxing. He also learns that racism is the primary force of evil and builds compassion and empathy for the mistreated blacks of apartheid South Africa. PK meets Geel Piet while spending time with Doc in prison, who teaches PK several new boxing techniques, furthering his talent.   The black prisoners  believe PK is a chief, the “Onoshobishobi Ingelosi” or “Tadpole Angel.”   One night PK discovers Geel Piet has been murdered in the boxing gym by the warder and soon that warder dies of a disease the resembles the injuries inflicted upon Geel Piet.

    Book Two of the novel describes PK’s experiences at the Prince of Wales school. He quickly partners up with the son of a Jewish multimillionaire, Morrie Levy. PK and Morrie take the school by storm – PK’s boxing talent reforms the pathetic Prince of Wales boxing team, and Morrie becomes PK’s manager. Soon the two boys have a lucrative gambling business set up, as well as all kinds of other “scams” which bring in enough money for PK to begin boxing lessons with South Africa’s top coach, Solly Goldman. PK becomes a stranger to failure, excelling at boxing, rugby, and academics.  PK’s victory over a distinguished black boxer, who happens to be the son of his Nanny, this furthers the belief that he is the “Tadpole Angel.”  However, he must face Doc’s death towards the end of his school career as well as the disappointment of not winning a Rhodes scholarship to attend Oxford University.

    Book Three traces PK’s life in Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) where he takes on a dangerous job as a “grizzly man” in the mines in order to build up his body for his boxing, and to earn enough money to pay his way through three years at Oxford. He forms a close friendship with a Russian miner, named Rasputin, who eventually saves PK during a mining catastrophe, dying in the process. PK recovers but, before leaving the mines, he discovers that he has been working for his old nemesis, Jaapie Botha, previously known as “the Judge”. PK fights Jaapie and fights for justice.

    This book points out the unfairness in the world from a child’s point of view developing into a voyage of hope for mankind.  Share this one with your family.  I would highly recommend this to anyone over the age of 10.  Also, the reader, Humphry Bower does a superb job of creating the atmosphere of this book through his voice.

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