Tides of War: Where the Magic Began

I generally start a novel with apprehension. Will it reward the time and effort I am expending on it? Will the things to like about it outweigh the imperfections? Will the ending disappoint?

And there is nearly always a moment, if  the magic works, when the novel achieves escape velocity and I know I am going to like it more than I fault it (even if the ending disappoints,  a separate problem). I don’t always notice when that moment comes, but in the case of “Tides of War” I did.  It was on Page 117, when Goya appears as a character, painting Wellington’s portrait and thinking his own thoughts. Continue reading


Tides of War: Will This Dog Hunt?

I’ve started “Tides of War” by Stella Tillyard, which I found lying around the office, a forlorn-looking review copy. (But the first forlorn-looking review copy I ever came across enriched with a glowing blurb from the awesome Simon Schama.)  “An epic novel about love and war, set in Regency England and Spain during the Peninsular War (1812-15) by the acclaimed historian and best-selling author of ‘Aristocrats.'” How could you not pick this up?

I’m on Page 106 of 368, and it seems worth it to say something about it now, while it is still alive and in flux in my mind. Continue reading