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True Stories

The Trials of Arthur by Arthur Pendragon & CJ Stone

Now this is an interesting one that I recently received for review. The Trials of Arthur was originally published back in 2003, but has now been extensively re-written and updated (eBook version is out now, the revised paperback version is due later in 2012). It is actually not strictly a novel, but I’ve moved the goalposts slightly in order to review it since it reads so well and is also rather fascinating to boot!

It tells the story of a latter day King Arthur and his band of supporters — bikers, Druids, environmental campaigners — from all walks of life. The reason that it is not a novel is that it features, and is co-written by, the great man himself (it really is him, it says so on his passport) so it is actually a true story — a slightly odd, but true, story! I was as cynical on first picking it up as you no doubt are as you read this, but I was soon drawn in and found it was striking a number of chords with me. But even if you read it and somehow don’t find yourself delighting at the wonderful eccentricity that we Brits excel at, you certainly won’t be able to argue that the story is anything other than unique.

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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel’s widely acclaimed Wolf Hall collected the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2009, and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. It has taken me quite a while to get around to finding out what all the fuss was about, but it proved to be well worth the wait in the end, it really is a superb piece of work. It has received some degree of criticism for annoying elements in its writing style; so is it a flawed masterpiece or simply flawed?

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Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram by Gregory David RobertsGregory David Roberts was born in Australia in 1952, and following the breakup of his marriage and loss of access to his daughter he became a heroin addict, a habit which he fed by a life of crime.

Shantaram tells the story of his life on the run, and by any standards it is an epic and extraordinary tale.

After the first two manuscripts of the novel were destroyed, Roberts finally succeeded in getting the book published in 2003.

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