Currently reading … Nightschool Vol. 4

… and other things.

I’ve been enjoying Svetlana Chmakova’s Nightschool a lot, and have just got my hands on volume 4. Great storytelling. I like her characters; they have personality, not just a function, and there’s a lot of humour in their interactions. The art is very clean and sharp, too, the action easy to follow.

Among the other things:

Surrender to the Will of the Night

This is the third in Glen Cook’s Instrumentalities series. I may have to go back and reread I and II, though, because it’s been a while and I’m a bit lost. I keep translating everything back into medieval Europe and saying, Okay, the Cathars are doing this and who’s he, oh, right, one of the cardinals, and is that another Janissary agent … because all the names have vanished from my memory. I really enjoy this story, though, and once I’ve had time to immerse myself in it properly again, it’ll all come together. I particularly like the way his heroes, even mired in politics and amid war and horrors, always keep some hold on the need to do what’s right in the small things. They all have a point where they seem to say, this is what I hold to, because if I lose that, I lose myself.

Alexander of Macedon
An historical biography by Peter Green, and a very good, solid read. Not one of those historians who idolizes Alexander (who was a pretty nasty type, really), but a good, dispassionate analysis of the man’s actions and impact.

Religions of Mongolia, by Walther Heissig
Research …. This is looking at the shamanistic, pre-Buddhist religions of Mongolia and at what happened to Lamaistic Buddhism in Mongolia as well. Lots of interesting things here. I’m not sure yet where it will take me. Or Moth.

Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook, by Terry Pratchett et al. Well, I’ve read this right through a few times, but I’m not actually reading it at the moment, though on the day before Hogswatch, at least as observed in my household, I was using the recipe on page 45 to make “Mrs Whitlow’s Artery-Hardening Hogswatch Pie”, as that’s what on the menu for our annual Hogmanay supper. Hogmanay / Hogswatch is an important festival here. However, being a house full of blonde-ishes and redheads, we prefer to ignore one aspect of Scottish Hogmanay tradition, i.e., first-footing, as discriminating against those of Norse hair. (One can understand it, though. Just think, there you are in your wee croft on the Scottish coast circa 1000 A.D. and the first man through your door on New Year’s Day is blond and carrying a battle-axe. That’s really, really bad luck. (Unless it’s Mikki, of course…) That’s why you’re supposed to hope for dark-haired visitors. Connie! Come visit!) (Okay, yes, wee crofts and Hogmanay in 1000 are a bit anachronistic and the first-footer is supposed to not only be black-haired but male — we do the best we can. I know someone who used to send their black cat out to be the first in, which is really, really cheating.)


About K.V. Johansen

The author of Blackdog, The Leopard, The Lady, and Gods of Nabban, epic fantasies from Pyr, I also write for teens and children, including the "Torrie", "Warlocks of Talverdin", and "Cassandra Virus" series, and the "Pippin and Mabel" picture books, as well as a couple of short story collections and two works of adult literary criticism on the history of children's fantasy literature. I have a Master's degree in Mediaeval Studies, and read a lot of fantasy, science fiction, and history. Blog at
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