Found myself over at West End the other day and dropped into one of my favorite secondhand bookstores, Bent Books. All of the books I get to review each year, all of the freebies the publishers send out to me, if I don't want to keep them they end up at Bent Books. West End being the sort of community is, this place runs to more interesting stock than old, dogeared copies of Alistair MacLean. Although it has plenty of the Big Mac as well.
There's a pretty reasonable collection of pre-loved SF and fantasy titles which I like to check in on every now and then, and browsing the shelves on my last visit I came across Patrick Tilley's Amtrak Wars. These things have been hanging around since I was a kid. I remember them taking up real estate in the book section at Cribbe and Foote, Ipswich's finest and only department store. I think that Tilley and Stephen Donaldson basically owned that section.
Having built up a hundred dollars credit at BB and seeing as how they had not just the first in the series but another three or four besides (somebody cleaning out their collection, I suppose) it seemed the time had come to finally dip into this story world. Can't recall who were the fans around these parts – Orin? GuruBob? – but I do remember this series coming up in discussions before. I'll have a read and maybe write up a little review a couple of weeks from now.
I picked up the second book, Bushido, as a hedge against future projects. Reading Jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan history, and helping Anna with her school project about the Tokugawa Shogunate has given me a couple of ideas for some stories I might write a few years down the track. In the meantime I'll be adding books like this to my shelf for research purposes