“Shadow of the Raven”

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 23 I finished reading a historical novel written by a fellow blogger Millie Thom. She has many great achievements in her life (read HERE) but I had no idea if her book was one of them.



However, I love historical novels for more than 70 years and not long ago published on this blog a post “BERNARD CORNWELL” about a former English teacher who due to stupid American immigration laws became a very well-known writer of historical novels.

I remember that I read with great pleasure his novels (The Saxon Stories) about the 9th century reign of Alfred the Great (king of Wessex), his opposition to Danes and his efforts to unite England..

When I read “About” on the Millie Thom’s blog I noticed that she was also an English teacher. After bringing up six children and retiring Millie started to write. She mentioned in “About” that protagonists of her first published book “Shadow of the Raven” were Alfred, son of king of Wessex and Eadwulf, son of king of Mercia.

It was very interesting. Two English teachers wrote books about the same era and the same people.


I have to confess, that when I started to read “Shadow of the Raven” I did not expect much. I love Bernard Cornwell’s style and consider him a great modern writer of historical novels.

However, after I read several chapters of the book it became clear to me that the book is very well written and that Millie’s research of the era was very good.

What is this book about?

Here are two sentences from a synopsis that Millie sent to me:

“An adventure tale of Viking raids, ill-fated thralls, noble kings and their sons, and friendship and love . . .

But, above all else, a tale of unforgivable betrayal and the ever-present desire for revenge.”

Yes, this book is about all the above and it is very entertaining like many other historical novels.

I read “Shadow of the Raven” very fast with great interest.

It pictures many interesting people and their relationships. It describes battles and ordinary life in different countries (England, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway).

I also think that it allows to answer the following questions:

why do we have wars between countries and between ethnic and religious groups?

why for many years foreign policy of my country does not bring positive results?

at what conditions are possible equal rights for men and women?

how important are ties within families?

is it easy to make a person a murderer and a rapist?

what motivates people?

can friendship and love overcome all difficulties?

I highly recommend my followers and guests to read “Shadow of the Raven” (you can find it on Amazon).


Dangerous paintings (part 3)

This is the last part of my review of the article “Dangerous paintings” written (in Russian) by Pauline Larina.

In the part 1 Larina wrote about dangerous paintings in America (SEE HERE) and in the part 2 about such paintings in Russia (HERE).

Naturally, she wrote about dangerous paintings in Europe too.

She states, that a mass-produced print of the painting “The Crying Boy” by Italian painter Bruno Amadio, also known as Giovanni Bragolin burned many houses in the North of England in the 1980s.

According to Pauline, the artist’s son was a model for the painting. However, a boy did not cry and the artist started to burn matches near his face.

Then the boy shouted: “I want you to burn!”. Very soon the boy died from pneumonia and there was a fire in the artist’s house. The artist and almost all his paintings burned in the fire.

I want to add here that my brief research on the internet tells a different but still very interesting story. You can read it HERE.

Pauline Larina also mentions “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet. She says that soon after he finished the painting there was a fire in his studio. Later there were fires in other places where there was this painting: a cabaret on Montmartre, in the house of a French collector of art, in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Finally, Pauline Larina tells that some paintings carefully studied by experts. Chemists explore the paint and canvas, physics – the impact of sunlight on the image, etc.

Some professionals in Russia came to conclusion that one icon in the Hermitage distributed mighty energy around itself, making a human brain to vibrate at high frequency.

Similar conclusions about energy from paintings came from researchers in the Pinakothek in Munich, in the Louvre, in other galleries.

Larina says that if some painting makes you uncomfortable you should urgently walk away from it.



Art of Abbey Altson.

Abbey Altson was a man who was building his world.

He was born in England, then in early 1880’s he went to Melbourne, Australia to study painting. After several years there he won a Gold Medal for his painting and returned to England.

In London he became a successful painter of portraits and genre pictures.

“He is best remembered today for his exercises in late classical painting, taking his lead from Lord Leighton, Alma Tadema, Waterhouse and Godward. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Society of British Artists. In the 1920’s and 30’s he visited India regularly, executing commissions for Prince Ranjit Sinji. Towards the end of his life he settled in America, where he died in 1949.”

You can see Abbey Altson’s paintings HERE.

However, bear in mind that below Altson’s paintings there are also paintings of other artists. Click on each painting to see the artist’s name.

Bernard Cornwell.

Several years ago I read a book written by Bernard Cornwell about a british soldier Sharpe. It was the second book in the series and I liked it very much. I always liked historical fiction and I felt like I am young again.

As usually in such cases, I went to internet and read about the author.

You can repeat this step by clicking on the line below.


Then I remembered that I read before his book “Stonehenge” and enjoyed it very much. All theories about Stonehenge fascinated me for years. Surely, we visited Stonehenge during our trip to England and this visit stays in my memory (sunny day, huge stones, modern buses, sheep, tourists from all over the world).

Next step was reading every book about Sharpe and Lord Wellington. Not all of them are equally well-written but I would recommend to read all of them.

You can find about the Sharpe books HERE.

But the Sharpe series is only one of many.


I read many of them with great pleasure but one of them stays separately in my memory. It is “Agincourt” (Azincourt in French). Please read the book. You’ll be glad you did.

I ask my readers who read books by Bernard Cornwell to comment on this post. Thank you.