Book review 13) Dangerous women

Dangerous Women 2013-1st ed. cover.jpg

Hi,
when I was on winter vacation I finished another book. This one as you can see higher is called Dangerous women.

Book: Dangerous women

Author(editors): George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Genre: Science fiction/Fantasy

Pages: 784


This is book that was edited by the two people above. Otherwise it is written by 20 people who contributed with their short stories. While all stories revolve around different time and different people they have one thing in common, they are about how women are dangerous.

The book was great. I can pick about 1 or 2 stories that were kind of weird and I did not really understand them but otherwise, good job.

For example 1st story is about young woman who is trying to escape because there is lot of money promised for her head. 3 men catch up with her in streets of empty village, the poor guys end up horribly.

Other story is about women that has Alzheimer and her son wants to put her in old folks home, that one was quite impressive. One speaks about queen in exile or post-apocalyptic world where most women can not have children due to some virus.

My most favorite one was by George R. R. Martin.. he also wrote Song of Ice and Fire which is my favorite series and this short story was about Dance with Dragons, war that happened way before SoIaF did (130 years or so). The one that I will share with you is different one though, it is called Shadows for Silence in Forest of Hell (translated by me).

It tells story of a widow that takes care of her children and owns inn that is very important place for anybody moving around that area. She lives in Forest of Hell which is a place that is full of shadows, everybody seems to become shadow when they die. These shadows are scary but harmless if you do not break one of three rules:

Do not run
Do not make a fire
Do not spill blood

If you provoke them you will probably die. Once they touch you, your flesh dries and dies. Only thing that works against them is silver and silver has HUGE value. If it is not late you can even cure the wounds using silver dust.

This inn is of course protected by silver because the shadows are everywhere. At the same time Silence (the widow) does not have much money and she is in debt to one guy from outside of this creepy place. To feed her children and keep guests save she catches thiefs and criminals and then through the person that she is in debt with she brings them to justice earning part of the money for their head.

Once such a group of well-known criminals comes into her inn. She lets them eat there but mixes potion that will make them weaker into their meal. (The Forest is a good place for such people to live in since there are not many authorities) In the night she tracks them down and with the help of one of her older daughters she takes them all down without catching attention of any shadow, though it is quite close. When they move the bodies, mostly suffocated people, they clash with a group that steals these bodies which is basically fatal for Silence as she knows that she is basically out of money. With trick she gets them back but one of the enemies scratches softly the neck of her daughter which makes the shadows crazy. In the end the daughter almost dies and she needs amputation of arm and leg.. Silence is also able to get rid of the person that was blackmailing her.

Amazing, I loved the plot.

The only thing that I found a bit annoying was that there were two stories with basically the same setting, the one with Alzheimer and one with old women taking care of their mum who has dementia.. but hey, you can not have all stories bringing completely new stuff!

Dragallur

The picture source: By Uploaded by TAnthony, from Amazon.com. Digital scan of book cover; copyright maintained by publisher or artist, as applicable., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41143558

 

 

 

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Book review 11) Secret diary of chinese empress

Výsledek obrázku

Czech edition of the book

Hi,
today in my week plan I finished this book above. It is called the Secret diary of chinese empress though I guess that this book does not even exist in english version.


Book: Secret diary of chinese empress

Author: Johannes Fabricius

Genre: Diary, historical

Pages: 231

Rating: 8.7/10


This book is simply diary of empress Cixi who lived from 1835 to 1908.[1]

Cixi was borned in lower class in China. She was lucky enough to be selected as a concubine for new emperor Xian Feng. Her friend was selected too and soon she was getting lot of attention from emperor.

After a while she was heavy with child and it was clear that emperor will die soon enough since he spent most of his time in brothels and opium dens. He was weak and sick.

After he died she and his wife took the role of regents before her son was 17 years old. That was huge turning point in her reign. She now got most power because her co-regent was not so strong. Of course problems soon appeared. Western fleets and armies took China by attack. With much better technology and tactics they soon overhelmed China that had to agree upon their terms.

There was huge amount of intrique before she was able to get rid of all her enemies which were for example Xian Feng’s brothers.

About 40 years later, again the court had to escape Forbidden City because of what is called Boxer Rebellion, event that was action against various western countries to stop their “expansion” in China. Boxer Rebellion stopped as a fiasco because again, western technology was far better than Chinese.

The painting by Katharine Carl of Cixi.

Cixi died at the age of 72 years and she was called the Old Buddha.


This book was great really. From her diary you do not get much of what is happening in the world. This I think nicely shows that she really did not care and even hated everything that was not traditional. Basically it was her who started the last unnecesarry war that had to lead to her defeat. In the book, though of course she does not say it, she lives very opulently. Rebuilding palaces when Chinese treasury is almost empty. At the same time, she was quite good in what she was doing, like it or not, she reigned for 47 years.

If you can find this book, read it. Quite good to get the idea of how it looked like in China before the WWI.

Dragallur

[1]I guess that the author, Johaness Fabricius only put the book together and made first transletion.