Anthony Horowitz at the Cottesloe Theatre 23rd June 2010

Thanks to a Twitter tip off from Walker Books UK (@WalkerBooksUK) I discovered that author Anthony Horowitz was going to be interviewed on the Royal National Theatre’s Cottesloe stage. The set was rather a mess and it took a second or two to work out that it was the stage set for Spring Storm an early Tennessee Williams play which is on at the moment.

My eldest son is a great fan of Anthony Horowitz and is building up a collection, currently working his way through the Alex Rider stories. There weren’t that many tickets left when I booked but I got one for my son and we invited his friend Ollie along too.

Treats were in store. Emma Forbes was the interviewer on this occasion and ¬†we were treated to a great interview. Subjects ranged from Anthony Horowitz’s early life to his latest book. There were lots of laughs and at the end the audience got to ask questions.

Some of the things we learned…

  • Many of the characters in the books are taken from Anthony Horowitz’s life.
  • Anyone who has upset Mr H will probably meet a sticky end – on paper at least.
  • His father was a rather mysterious man who died when Horowitz was 23.
  • His mother used to tell him horror stories from the age of about six.
  • All the locations in the books are researched by visiting them, with the exception of the Moon.
  • He went to Rugby public school.

We were treated to a reading from Scorpio Rising the next in the Alex Rider series. A rather disturbing passage which will make your skin crawl, but no spoilers here.

There was a book signing afterwards and my son swore that he would never again wash the T-shirt he was wearing because he’d rubbed shoulders with Anthony Horowitz when I took their picture.

Thanks again to Walker Books not only for the tip but for having published approximately half the books my children read!

I’ll be on the look out for more author events like this one.

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

If you’re a Bourne fan, as I am, then you’ll likely be more familiar with the films than the books. There are so many differences that you can safely watch the films without more than a hint of annoyance about some of the decisions.

Essentially the plot of the three films is taken from this book. I reckon a quick flick through was done, a few notes made and the film scripts written. Good though they are the books have more depth and an awful lot of plot and excitement.

Robert Ludlum’s novels tend to fall into a similar routine of exposition followed by action and The Bourne Identity is no exception. That said this is a very good story and I really enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed it more than the films because we actually discover that Jason Bourne actually has friends and find a true companion in Marie.

Exciting, fast paced, gripping and a good read.

Shibumi by Trevanian

Trevanian was the pseudonym of Dr Rodney William Whitaker who worked in the communications sector having obtained a string of academic qualifications. He wrote under various names and was a published playwright as well as writer. In a lot of his fiction there is a subtle, or sometimes less hidden, message about the ‘masses’ and those who watch over them. Beware the subtexts!

The story concerns retired assassin Nicolai Hel who is reluctantly drawn into a war between terrorists and the US government. During the story we discover his background and motivations as well as the love of caving. The story reaches a bloody climax but not before we have been treated to some specialised assassination techniques and a few sexual tricks too.

Excellent story and definitely should be a film! A good one with a decent director that is.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

This is the first of the James Bond books and we quickly get a sense of his real character. Ian Fleming’s writing style is very descriptive and clear which makes this book, and his others, very compelling.

The relationship between Bond and his controller ‘M’ is very different to the one we are so used to seeing in the films as we get a sense of a more paternalistic relationship. We encounter a Bond who rationalises more than we ever see in the movies. As a result I’m now more sympathetic the character Timothy Dalton played in his time as James Bond.

Well worth reading as you get a real insight into the character and motivation of James Bond as well as an exciting story with some action and romance tied in there.