Q is for Quick

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Q

I’m not quick. But I am quicker than I was. I didn’t run at all until 2012. I started with the Couch to 5K program and have run on and off since then. I’m getting back into a routine now though, since it’s starting to warm up so I can run outside and I joined a gym, so if it’s raining I can do the treadmill.

I ran a 5K this morning. My time was 32:06, which is slightly quicker than I did the same course last year. I was happy. I think I could have gone a little quicker but there’s a couple of spots where it bottlenecks, especially the last few yards, and there’s just nowhere to go.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads.

P is for Promise

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P

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan is the perfect book for today. P for Promise, Politics, Powder and Power.

Promise of blood

Title: Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)

Author: Brian McClellan

Read by: Christian Rodska

Category: Fantasy

Audio published: April 6, 2013 by Hachette Audio

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Audible | Amazon | Book Depository

The Age of Kings is dead…and I have killed it.

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king….

Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

It’s been a while since I’ve read an epic fantasy, which probably means I enjoyed this more than I would have if I had been on a constant binge of magic and quests. I also listened to it on audio, but the 19 hours flew by. I loved it! We have standard mages who control the elements, the knacked who have a small, specific magic, and the marked, included powder mages whose magic revolves around black power, a kind of middle class.

Tamas has staged a French Revolution style coup – down with the King and nobles and send them all to the guillotine and the peasants can be “free.” Only now he’s got a country to run and a traitor in his Council. And maybe a god serving as his chef.

It’s a big story, a world to get lost in. There are heroes, but not the too good kind, they are ones with their own darknesses, weaknesses, belief systems. There are bad guys, lots of them actually on different levels. There are the kind of mob guys, the enemy army, an ancient sorceress who has her own goals. None are pure evil. There’s a lot going on but and it’s hard to really summarize all the different angles. It’s non-stop action and I like that there wasn’t a romance screwing up the plot. It’s a city in the midst of transition, but McClellan keeps the story focused on the individuals.

Christian Rodska was the reader and to me he had Tamas’s voice. He did the other characters well and the narration, but Tamas is the one I felt he became. The story itself is told from several points of view, but it’s always clear whose version of the story we’re experiencing.

Definitely one I would recommend to fantasy lovers. The Crimson Campaign comes out next month. I’m looking forward to it. This one the first in the trilogy and while the end wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, I do need to know what happens next.

I have to say I’m glad I’ve been getting a bit out of my mystery rut. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore mysteries, but a change in pace occasionally lets me enjoy them more and I remember how much I like fantasy and romance.

O is for Old Hildebrand

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O

“Old Hildebrand” is a fairy tale from the Grimm Brothers, told in their Household Tales.

A peasant’s wife and the neighborhood priest fancied each other. At the priest’s urging the wife faked an illness for several days, but on Sunday she insisted her husband go to hear the sermon. The priest preached that whoever had an ill family member could go to the Cuckoo’s Mountain in Italy, and get laurel leaves that would cure the ill person. The peasant, Hildebrand took the advice and left to get them. He wasn’t gone two minutes before the priest came to the home.

Not far into his journey, Hildebrand met a kinsman, an egg merchant. When the merchant heard Hildebrand’s tale, he informed Hildebrand that the priest just wanted to spend time alone with Hildebrand’s wife. He took Hildebrand back tot he house, hidden in his egg basket.

At the house, the priest and Hildebrand’s wife were having a marvelous old time. The story tells us that the wife had slaughtered most of the farm animals and made pancakes and the priest had his fiddle, but I imagine there were plenty of other activities going on.

The kinsman knocked at the door and asked to be allowed to spend the night, as his basket was too heavy for him to carry all the way back to his own home before dark. The wife complains a bit but lets him in anyway. The parson and the wife began to sing about how they had tricked her husband, then the merchant sang. Finally, Hildebrand sang out from hiding place that it was enough. He jumped out of the basked and started beating the priest, who quickly left.

I read the story here. D. L. Ashliman includes a note: “The story’s humor is enhanced by its presentation in a very pronounced Austrian dialect, which identifies the priest as a Roman Catholic, who should be practicing celibacy. A longstanding joke in Catholic Germany and Austria states, ‘There is no reason for priests to marry as long as peasants have wives.’”

There’s a lot of singing in fairy tales. Often it’s magical in some way, but here it’s a bit like a penny opera.

It is an amusing story. You can picture the wife and priest plotting together, then having a grand time, only to be caught by the husband. As far as Grimm stories go, it’s pretty bloodless though. The priest gets punched around a little, but that’s really the only punishment.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.