Nemesis is an appropriate word for today’s N, since it proved a really difficult initial letter for books I enjoyed and recommend to you… if you like my choice of genres, that is!

The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.

  • review/featured
  • spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
  • middle grade (childrens) choice
  • series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
  • ‘notable’ reads
  • ‘outstanding’ books
  • my books!

Featured Book : Nemesis (Marcus Didius Falco #20) by Lindsey Davis

Nemesis Falco 20

Nemesis marks the end of the Falco saga, and as such, is a sad book. As it happens, the author decided to make sure he retired properly, and didn’t get bumped off, or stopped working for other dubious reasons. He does appear in cameos in his daughter’s series Flavia Albia (also featured in this A 2 Z).

Falco works as an informer, which in Ancient Rome is pretty much the same as a private eye. And just as looked down upon. In Nemesis, he unravels some misdeeds which involve the wrong-doing of the Emperor’s house spy, who has been a thorn in Falco’s side for years.

Unlike most of the Falco books, this one does not have a lighter side. Most of them are fun, even with their serious murders to investigate. Here the methods that Falco along with his ex-vigile buddy are forced to use sicken them, and sicken us, too. It’s a sad end to the series, but justifiably so. Falco has had enough of the underside of Rome, and he deserves to retire.

Needless to say… don’t start with this one. And in twenty years time, when you’ve rationed yourself to one a year (like me), don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Nemesis starts sadly, and carries a feeling of doom and inevitability through it like a cloud.  For all that, it is one of the best Falco stories.

from my review (Nov 18)

Spacetime Challenge

If it was difficult to find a featured book, it was almost impossible to find an N book I enjoyed for my space opera and time travel reading challenge. I only had two scifi novels on my list (even unread) neither of which are space-based. Here are two with better claims.

No World of their Own. A search on one of my favourite authors, Poul Anderson, revealed just two N titles in 180 books (I stopped looking when the translations started). This one appealed, even if it’s borderline (the link is to Goodreads). The other didn’t. I might search this one out, although it was published in 1955, so it could be tricky, unless I find an online version. Three astronauts return from a faster-than-light trip to find the world has changed…. It’s marginal on my criteria for the challenge, but hey, I make the rules.

Near: Near + Far by Cat Rambo definitely qualifies. This is a collection of short stories featuring stories in the near future, i.e. Earth-based, and Far, which are often space-based. It works as a double sided book: Near starts at one end, and Far at the other. I gave it five stars, but I didn’t remember much more about it until I looked at the review 🙂 I did remember another short story, which isn’t an N, but I added it to a later list!

Middle Grade Choice

Nightspark by Michael Mann, I reviewed recently and it was published in February. It’s a sequel to Ghostcloud, which is also excellent. For people who have trouble remembering characters between books, it’s worth reading soon after. Kids will love it. I mean, who wouldn’t love a boy who’s a halfghost, his friends (ghosts and human), a steampunkish world with airships and cheese, and danger from a Cruella de Vil type of baddie.

The Night They Nicked St Nick by Carl Ashmore. Despite having many Carl Ashmore books on my list from my early days as an MG author, this is the only one I’ve read. It is a preposterous idea, someone kidnapping the big man himself, but… hilarious. I must reread it!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to everybody – except power hungry business tycoons with no sense of humour.

from my review of TNTNSN (dec 12)

Series Choice

Look no further than the three books of The Ninja Librarian, by Rebecca M. Douglass. The Ninja Librarian, Return to Skunk Corners, and the Problem with Peggy are delightful books written in a light-hearted way but with deeper implications. And like my books, they were written for friends, and classed as MG because they more or less fit the genre. Good clean fun for everyone, especially if you enjoy tales of dusty small towns in the middle of nowhere.

Notable books

Having complained I had trouble finding titles, I can’t let you go without two that really need a mention… and just about the only other Ns on my list!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I love this. I also enjoyed the film. It just goes to show that the nub of the story needn’t be original, it’s how you write it that makes the difference. The perspectives, the relationships and the destiny in this are wonderful. If sad.

Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway #10) by Elly Griffiths. I think we’ve had at least a day without an Elly Griffiths book appearing, but at least she’s got an N in her repertoire (and a Z, in case you’re wondering). Crime and archaeology in the Norfolk area (this strays into Cambridgeshire occasionally!)

Note to self: Write a book with an N title.

That’s all for today, so come back tomorrow for more. I’m hoping to meet more people who like the same kinds of book, so feel free to recommend something you’ve read beginning with the letter of the day!

Nemesis | #A2ZChallenge23
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8 thoughts on “Nemesis | #A2ZChallenge23

  • 17 April, 2023 at 7:05 am

    Wow, haven’t heard of the Falco series but a PI in ancient Rome sounds awesome!! And the ninja librarian is a great title, live it. Thank you for sharing them.

  • 17 April, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for turning me on to Elly Griffiths, and I did sample the Falco series but found I prefers Rosemary Rowe;s Libertus series set in Britannia. Funny with that first title – Nemesis was the name of one of our first cats!

  • 17 April, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    The setting for the Night Hawks sounds right up my alley.

  • 17 April, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    I have always been intrigued with the idea of a P.I. in ancient Rome. But life as a rare blood courier and author eats up so much of time. I think I will try to see if Falco is in audio book format. I am having fun writing my series of books on a former O.S.S. agent working a prop man in post WWII Hollywood.

  • 19 April, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out for the Ninja Librarian and Skunk Corners!

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