I did enjoy Heidi, What Katy Did and Little Women which were recommended reading for little girls at that time, but apart from Heidi who had ‘spirit’ and Jo in Little Women who showed independence, I thought the characters were a bit soppy.
I didn’t read Mallory Towers, but preferred Jennings’ school adventures. My reading heart was captured by Violet Needham’s Stormy Petrel series and then I discovered The Prisoner of Zenda…
I graduated to The Saint series by Leslie Charteris, the Angélique series which I thought were rather daring, Baronness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, wartime adventures like Ill met by Moonlight and Ice Cold in Alex, the James Bond series and I absolutely adored Modesty Blaise.
More contemporary choices include John le Carré, Tom Clancy, JD Robb and the peerless William Boyd’s Restless. Historical whodunnits like Lindsey Davis’ Falco and Flavia series, Rory Clements’ Shakespeare investigations, Steven Saylor’s Gordianus, C J Sansom’s Shardlake are firm favourites.
I’ve left out the other genres I read – I’m a huge fan of Georgette Heyer’s Regencies and any amount of other historical and science fiction like Asimov and Heinlein – but there just isn’t space here.
But why thriller and adventure fiction? Escape, excitement, different worlds, different experiences that I could enjoy while I was going through the business or ‘normal’ life. Given my penchant for reading about uniformed forces of law and order/imperial agents/secret orders and derring-do in general, is it any wonder I put on a uniform myself and did all sorts of interesting things as a consequence?
Well, I think you can see where the Roma Nova adventure thrillers may have come from…
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