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Old 05-21-2011, 02:56 PM   #9468
ATDrake
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Yesterday, finished my 100th never-read-before full-length book for the Read 100 Books in 2011 Challenge*, which I personally kind of think should be "Read 111 Books in 2011" for numerical symmetry purposes.

It was Barbara Hambly's The Shirt on His Back, 10th in her excellent Benjamin January historical sleuth series normally set in antebellum New Orleans, which takes the ex-slave turned musician/surgeon out of his usual surroundings and into the disputed fur-trapping territory of British North America, which basically means proto-Canada. Awesome!

The new books since Hambly got picked up by Severn House seem to be aimed at filling in the blanks for some of the side characters. In Dead and Buried, we got a look into Hannibal Sefton's past; in The Shirt on His Back, we get a tiny glimpse into what made police lieutenant Abishag Shaw leave the mountains of Kentucky for the swamps of New Orleans. Apparently an upcoming book will deal with January's Paris years and Ayasha.

As usual, a very good whodunnit which was complicated to figure out, but all made sense in the end, plus interesting depictions of fur-trapper life and relationships with the natives (and reasonably accurate, given my own readings on the subject from a Canadian History course I'd taken previously). And they get native-style names! Although I do miss the author's notes on the history that Hambly sometimes puts in the back (and didn't this time).

Highly recommended if you like well-done historicals, though it does help to have read the previous ones, since certain details are dropped that kind of spoiler you for at least what went on in Dead and Buried (also highly recommended). But aside from that, the actual case can be followed fairly well standalone, if you don't mind knowing how some of the personal developments in previous books got resolved before you actually read them yourself.

Now on to pick my 101th book.

* My list of stuff read thus far is here, for the morbidly curious. Novellas, graphic novels, short story collections, and re-reads are included, but not counted towards the whole.

Or maybe I should say "Waugh!", like everyone else in the book seems to do.
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