Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hardcore book review

I'm a history buff, I have honestly forgotten more about history than most people will ever learn. Due to this I tend to read solely historical books, the classics, and anything military based. When I do venture into the realm of fiction it usually has to be either a fictional account of a factual event eg: Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt. Or at the very least based around a point in history. The only absolute requirement I have in regards to fiction is this: They must be absolute ball crushing face planting hardcore ass stompers. Bring on the 3 best hardcore series I've read...

Antihero - Saxon Sagas

This series is written by my favorite author, Bernard Cornwell. This guy has come up with some absolute badasstical characters; Derfel Cadarn from his Warlord trilogy. Thomas of Hookton from his grail quest chronicles, and Nathaniel Starbuck, from his American civil war Starbuck chronicles, and the most famous one Richard Sharpe (played by Sean 'mother Fuckin' Bean, the manifest man ever to grow a half days worth of stubble and headbutt an UrakHai to death before tea bagging it) but non of them even match up to Uhtred.

Uhtred Uhtredson/Ragnarson/ap Babenburg is a Saxon lords son, kidnapped by the Viking Ragnar who killed his entire family and burnt his home down. Uhtred beat the shit outta everyone with his teen angst alone whilst serving as a slave and was duley adopted by Ragnar in a case of seriously fucked up medieval Stockholm Syndrome and became a honourary Viking just for being hard as fuck aged 10. He then spent the next few years doing loads of Viking father and son bonding activities like pillaging villages, burning churches, and murdering innocent people.
Uhtred decided he liked Viking life, and his new family, and that he'd be very happy... Ragnar and all of Uhtred's Viking friends were burned alive about 2 hours later by another feuding family.

Now Uhtred got abit pissed off about this. That's 2 families slaughtered, and he just wasn't happy. So he runs full blast Usain Bolt style down to his uncle near Wales, kills a bunch of sheep shaggers to prove to his uncle how badass and loyal he is, in return his uncle tries to have him assassinated.
Uhtred is seeing a pattern emerging here so he hops down to Wessex to help a guy called Alfred... The Great. The only monarch in English history to be called Great, why? Because he bitch slapped the Vikings, history's most hardcore bearded pirating, murdering rapists; I mean seriously,The Viking idea of Heaven was Valhalla; where they fight battles all day, and feast and rape big tittied hotties all night. If you can send these guys packing, that makes you pretty fucking great in my book... But this is Bernard Cornwell's book, and its about Uhtred, and Uhtred quickly decided he's way more of a toughguy than Alfred, and proves it by fucking up everything in his way, and then by shitting all over Alfred and his lords at every possible opportunity. This understandably makes him unpopular, but I reckon he actually like making enemies, as it gives him more people to punch in the dick and piss and give them a dirty Sanchez while they are unconscious

This is Alfred the Great; known for ridding England from the wrath of the Northmen...
Uhtred thinks he's a pussy.

Over the course of 6 books (to date) he kills too many people to count, goes pirating without permission, burns churches, slags off Christianity** to anyone that will listen Christopher Hitchins style, gets married, divorced and remarried, abuses all his partners, ignores his fathering responsibilities, unless it's showing off how awesome he is to his kids, saves everyone's ass from Vikings, kills afew Viking and Saxon heroes, wins battles and gets given no credit, and then makes a big fuss over it all and throws a paddy... This guys is an angry person without having his manly glory stole. I can't wait for the next book, I'm sure he'll get pissed and break some noses.

** Christianity was the followed religion in Anglo-Saxon England in the later half of the 6th Century. Uhtred worships the old gods; Woden (Odin) and Thunor (Thor) these deities love war, and swing Hammers. Uhtred reguarly calls this faith whimpish, even exlaiming at one point to Nun whom had just been defiled "This wouldn't of happened if you were a Nun. My Gods swing Hammers, your god was nailed to a cross... shall I explain more?"- Just like Hitchens... No mercy!

The Bolitho Novels

Written by Alexander Kent, Richard Bolitho is a fictional Royal Navy hero. The 2 dozen books chronicling his and his adopted nephew's life are set in the good old days, when stockings were manly and men were real men, Britannia ruled the waves, and firing a canon point blank into a Frenchmen's face was totally acceptable and encouraged... If only I could go back.

The novels cover Richard Bolitho's navel asskicking carer from the tender age of 12 when he was an English midshipman and was expected to command men upto 3 times his age in killing Frenchies, Spaniards, and other people that didn't understand Britannia ruled the damn waves. It finishedfor Richard when he became an admiral some 40years later and got killed during a totally epic sea battle. His nephew Adam then became the main character. Taking up the mantle of standing straight, dressed in your best, and staying level headed as fuck, whilst splinters of wood bursting out with the force of a 60 pound ball of iron moving at 200mph, fired from 10yards away, and causing blood and guts, arms and legs and eyeballs and teeth to fly throughout the air splattering anyone not already eviscerated with there best friend.

"Well done lads, that's another lot of dead Frenchies, Double tot of Rum all round!"

The Bolitho novels are majorly hardcore in the fact that Alexander Kent would make you get really attached to a character, like Bolitho's Boatswain (basically his commen as muck sailor bodyguard) and then without second thought and no warning just kill them. "the fire fight with French frigate was a short one, Richard looked around for Stockdale only to be told he'd saved him by jumping confront of a Frenchman blade."... Stockdale is a massive character for 5 books, and he's gone, just like that. That's a real ballsy move from an author.

Bolitho is one of my literary hero's, not just because he deep fries and eats Frogs, Dons, Yanks, Barbary pirates and anyone else that isn't flying a unionjack and washes them down with brown rum grogg; But because his name is Richard, and that is just fucking awesome.

A Song of Ice and Fire

For the heathens and newbies amongst you, this is the correct Literary name of a tv series which is massively popular right now called Game of Thrones. It's written by George RR Martin and it is
 the shit.

The Lord of the rings has nothing on this series, and I love The Lord of the rings. In the first few chapters of the first book alone you deal with mythical undead creatures tearing people up, court intrige, murder, conspiracy, executions with a two handed broad sword, child murder, incest on 2 counts, marital rape, a very interllegent, bitter,sarcastic, hedonistic dwarf (who is awesome), lots of duels to the death and more characters, names, information about a made up world, and folklore than any person could digest.
George RR Martin does not hold your hand in this series. Your favorite character is not safe from getting brutally murdered at any second (I've had my favorite characters viciously killed off without any warning 3 times) and every single character is balls to the wall hardcore. Even a 10year old girl in this book makes me question my manhood. *Rip off quote alert* this 10 year old girl gets given a sword and is given some advice off her brother... "First Lesson. Stick them with the pointy end." she leaned this lesson, and practiced on the faces of a couple dozen people.
The best part is how near all the characters have colliding goals, and because you feel so deeply for them you are at a loss; if X gets away with Y that means A gets painfully killed by B... It's a dilemma.

The other hardcore fact is George RR Martin has created an entire universe full to the brim of history, people, economies, class structure etc... Tolkien's middle earth is about the size of Wales, where Martin's Westeros is more like Asia Minor.

The true testiment to the hardcoreness of this series is one of the characters, Eddard Stark (who is executed at the end of the first book... oh by the way, there are Spoilers in this review) is a beast, he is incorruptable, and swings a huge two handed sword that lops heads off as if it was a hot huge two handed sword being swung down on butter. The reason I am picking him out as a testiment to badassery is bacause of who they decided to cast for his part in the TV adaptation.

Sean "Mother Fucking" Bean

I do believe that sums up the Hardcore Badassticalness. If anyone ever tells you that books are poo, boring, and for nerds; or that that TV or Cinema is way better, just do me a favour. Take them to a Library, Find anyone of the books mentioned above, Sit the person down, produce the book... And beat them to death with it.

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