Solid Adventure Story. This is yet another of the scifi-creature/ adventure stories that are so common, and yet Thacker blends several elements here that aren’t always as common to create a tale that seems like it would satisfy long time readers – while leaving new readers with only (seemingly) minimal effort to get caught up after the fact here. Indeed, it reads more like Book 2 of a series than Book 14, but I say this as someone who owns several prior books in this series… but has only read this one. For all I know, a few of the characters come from books further back in the series – and yet the main thrust of this particular narrative, of Harvey Bennett having to stop his evil scientist brother’s most recent plan, seems like a near-immediate follow-up to presumably book 13 from this series? (Of course, this also means that for those who can *never know any details of any prior books no matter what*… you’re going to want to read the series in order. From what I’ve seen here, you’re going to like doing that anyway.) Overall truly a solid work of its type, one that invites readers to both go back and catch up on what they’ve missed to this point (if anything) and to come back to see what happens next. Very much recommended.
Remarkable History Of Wheat As Agent Of Change. This is one that I could make a case for either 4 or 5 stars for, and because of the doubt I ultimately sided with 5. The reason here is that while there is indeed considerable time spent on how American wheat of the Civil War/ Reconstruction era (and later) destabilized Europe and eventually led to the late 19th/ 20th/ 21st century histories we know and are actively living, there is also quite a bit establishing the history of wheat being a similar disruptor throughout all of recorded human history. Thus, while the description of the book paints it mostly as a tale of the past 150 ish years, it is actually a tale of the entirety of human existence and instead of the lasting points being about the more recent history, the lasting points (at least for this reader) are more about the overall history. Which was the crux of my internal debate. In other words, no matter the focus or points retained, this is a truly remarkable history of a particular commodity that gives a more complete understanding of major world events, particularly over the last 150 ish years. Very much recommended.