It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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TiganaTigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twenty years ago the Palm was conquered by two sorcerer kings.  During the conquests the affluent province of Tigana was thought to be an easy fight.  Brandin, the King of Ygrath, sent his son to lead the army against Tigana to gain experience.  But the armies of Tigana won that battle and killed the King’s son.  In a fury Brandin crushed the province and magically removed its name.  Now only people who were born there can hear the word “Tigana” spoken. The rest of the land only remembers a subjugated backwater called Lower Corte. 

Alessan, the youngest son of the ruler of Tigana, was sent away before the battles.  The rest of the family was killed but Alessan survived and has been plotting revenge. 

This is a very complex story.  It starts out as a typical fantasy novel.  There are good guys and bad guys.  As the story evolves though you find that the good guys aren’t always so pure and a bad guy can be motivated by great love.

I read this book with a lot of foreboding.  There were several people from Tigana who appeared to be on a collision course with each other.  They were all after the same goal but coming at it from different directions that would bring them in conflict with each other.  Each of them had to come to terms with the idea that after 20 years, was their goal still relevant?  Did they really want to kill the king when they had an opportunity?   Was it worth the price?

The ending was heartbreaking.  I’m sure it isn’t a spoiler to say that they win in the end and Tigana is remembered, but at what cost?  Nothing is black or white in this book.  It takes a while for the story to get going but if you stick with it the story stays with you.

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering MyselfFinding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich Roll

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On the eve of his 40th birthday Rich Roll seemed to have his life together.  He was a recovering alcoholic who had been sober for many years.  He was an entertainment lawyerHe had a loving family.  But, as he walked up the stairs to go to bed that night, he found himself having to pause to catch his breath.  He decided that he was going to get back in shape and within 2 years he was doing the Ultraman – a three day triathlon that circles the Big Island of Hawaii.

I first heard of Rich Roll on the No Meat Athlete podcast.  He mentioned that he did a podcast too so I looked it up.  I’ve really enjoyed listening to his show which features long format interviews with people involved in health and wellness.  He is vegan and an endurance athlete but he interviews people from my different disciplines and viewpoints.

Because I’ve been listening to his interviews, a lot of the information in the book was familiar to me but it is a fascinating story of how diet and exercise can transform your life.

The Ides of AprilThe Ides of April by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flavia Albia is an established private investigator in Rome.  When one of the people who hired her dies mysteriously, she starts to notice that there’s “a lot of that going around.” Healthy people are getting jostled on the street and then dying a few hours later. 

I’ve loved this author’s Marcus Didius Falco series.  Albia is the daughter and Falco and works in the same area of ancient Rome.  This mystery is based on a real crime spree at the time where the murderer was never found.

In this book it is fairly obvious who the murderer is but the fun is in the details.  You see how life goes for an independent woman in Roman society.