- Conn Iggulden’s Emperor: The Gates of Rome. The unpolished writing and cardboard characters put me off a little, and prevents this from being truly memorable. Still, seen as an adventure novel, it’s rather entertaining, and I will probably continue with at least one of the sequels. If I wanted to learn about the life of Julius Caesar, or get a picture of what life was like for an upper class Roman, I would probably pick something else.
- Edward Lucas’ chilling account of the political reality of Putin’s Russia, The New Cold War: Revolutions, Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West. Lucas, the Eastern European correspondent of the Economist, has covered the region for a long time and his knowledge and insight makes it a book well worth reading. He paints a worrying picture of a revanchist, nationalistic, country that has played the divide-and-rule game rather successfully, and that has its eyes on the ex-Soviet republics to its south and west. The next decade is likely to present some considerable challenges, and awareness in the West ought to be higher. I still have a chapter to go, but I whole-heartedly recommend it.