Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress Of The Game – Tilly Bagshawe

Mistress Of The GameTitle : Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress Of The Game

Author : Tilly Bagshawe

ISBN-10 : 006210456X

ISBN-13 : 978-0062104564

Paperback : 448 pages

The Plot :

Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress Of The Game is a sequel to Sidney Sheldon’s Master Of The Game by Tilly Bagshawe. It continues to story of Blackwell family 2 generations later. In Master of the Game we saw Kate Blackwell at her ninetieth birthday. At that point she had two granddaughters, twins, Alexandria and Eve. This book is all about the conflict between them carried out by their children.

The story starts with Lexi Templeton, the great granddaughter of Kate Blackwell, on her wedding day, troubled by thoughts of a threatening letter she received. It then goes back to two years after the previous book ended. At ninety two, Kate Blackwell has died and the granddaughters Alexandria and Eve are both pregnant. Eve is the ruthless of the twins, married to Keith and accustomed to life hiding behind a veil after her husband ruined her cosmetic surgery in order to make sure that she never leaves him. She has become resentful and has plans to take revenge and take over the wealthy family business, Kruger – Brent industries. Alexandria, the kinder of the twins is married to Peter and has a son, Robert, who Kate Blackwell wanted to take hand over the family business to.

Soon Alexandria, gives birth to Lexi and dies in child birth. Her husband is overcome with depression and distances himself from his children. Eve gives birth to Max. The two of them have very different upbringings. Lexi is taught to be nice and kind to people and is loved by everyone. Max on the other hand is always taught to be ruthless and hate everyone in his way to taking over the family business. In a freak accident Lexi loses her hearing, gaining sympathy from all. Max on the other hand is starved for affection and approval from his mother and executes a plan to kill his father to please her.

Now the three great grandchildren of Kate Blackwell all own equal shares of the company. Robert is uninterested in the company and readily signs over his shares to his sister Lexi. Here starts a convoluted battle for the family business between Lexi and Max.

I loved this book for its break neck pace and nail biting finish. It is full of plots and plans that members of a family hatch against each other to gain complete ownership of the family business. The story is amazing with vivid characterization and overall makes for an amazing read. Highly recommended read!


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Digital Fortress – Dan Brown

Digital FortressTitle : Digital Fortress

Author : Dan Brown

ISBN-10 : 0312335164

ISBN-13 : 978-0312335168

Paperback : 512 pages

The Plot :

Dan Brown’s ‘Digital Fortress’ follows, Susan Fletcher, as she helps to protect the secrets of United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA is an ultra-secret, multibillion dollar agency that is one of the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. Heading it is Trevor Strathmore.

The story starts when NSA’s code breaking supercomputer, TRANSLTR, comes across a new complex code that it is not able to crack, called Digital Fortress. This means that someone has built a code that can surpass the TRANSLTR and this could have some serious repercussions. The head of the NSA, Trevor Strathmore, turns to his best cryptologist, Susan Fletcher to break the code. She tries her best to do everything she can and on the way discovers that the code was developed by Ensei Tankado, who was a disgruntled former employee of the NSA. Tankado believed that the NSA was intruding into peoples’ privacy in the name of providing security.

Tankado makes an elaborate plan with the help of his partner ‘NDAKOTA’ to auction off the algorithm of Digital Fortress, online. This would help the buyer to surpass the NSA’s security mechanisms and could become an issue of national security. Tankado has made provisions for the code to be released on the internet for free if he is killed, giving everyone access to it. He does die but of natural causes and Strathmore asks David Becker, Susan’s fiancé, to travel to Seville and recover a ring that Tankado was wearing when he died. The ring is suspected to have the code that unlocks Digital Fortress. However, Becker soon discovers that Tankado gave the ring away immediately before his death. Each person he questions in the search for the ring is murdered by Hulohot, a mysterious assassin. Meanwhile, telephone calls between “North Dakota” and Numataka, the chairman of a large computer company in Tokyo, reveal that North Dakota hired Hulohot to kill Tankado in order to gain access to the passcode on his ring and speed up the release of the algorithm.

At the NSA, Fletcher’s is sure based on her own investigation that Greg Hale, a fellow NSA employee, is North Dakota. Phil Chartrukian, an NSA technician who is unaware of the Digital Fortress code breaking failure, believes that Digital Fortress is a virus and conducts his own investigation into whether Strathmore allowed Digital Fortress to bypass Gauntlet, NSA’s virus/worm filter. However, Chartrukian is murdered by being pushed off the catwalk in the sub-levels of TRANSLTR by an unknown assailant. Since Hale and Strathmore were both in the sub-levels, Fletcher assumes that Hale is the killer; however, Hale claims that he witnessed Strathmore killing Chartrukian. In a race against time, the entire NSA’s databank at stake, Fletcher tries to uncover who is behind all the murders and the security breach, when she finds out some shocking secrets.

It was an interesting read, fast paced and intriguing. I loved the story line and the characters that seemed realistic at the same time had some exaggerated skills. Over all I liked the book very much and definitely recommend it to people looking for a fast read.


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Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

Romeo and JulietTitle : Romeo and Juliet

Author : William Shakespeare

ISBN-10 : 1439526362

ISBN-13 : 978-1439526361

Paperback : 286 pages

The Plot :

William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is probably one of his most famous works. The story of the start crossed lovers is set in Verona, Italy. Romeo is a Montague, Juliet is a Capulet. The Montague’s and the Capulet’s are in conflict for many years. Both the families command a lot of respect and have a lot of loyal followers in the city, thereby each having fractions of the city battling in their name. The city is ruled by a Prince Escalus, who is trying to maintain peace in fair Verona.

The play starts with a couple of servants from the Montague and Capulet families in a verbal squabble that soon escalates with people drawing out their swords. Soon the Prince shows up and tells the two families that whoever is involved in the next such fight will be killed in order to put an end to the senseless bloodshed (Yes the irony is not lost on me!).

We then find out that Romeo is depressed because the girl he loves, Rosaline, doesn’t love him and Paris a Prince, is enamoured by Juliet. Juliet hears about this and plans to find out more about this prince at the Capulet’s grand ball. Romeo and his friends plan to sneak into the ball to see Rosaline. Here is the first time Romeo and Juliet meet. They fall in love (at first sight) and Rosaline is forgotten. They soon discover that their families are arch enemies. They manage to meet in secret and decide to get married because they truly love each other and feel that they don’t have any part in the family feud.

Romeo arranges with Friar Laurence, who agrees to marry them in secret and Juliet talks her nurse to help them co-ordinate the event and shortly they are married. Soon another fight break out between the two families and Romeo kills one of the Capulet’s who has killed his friend, Mercutio. The prince hears about this and banishes Romeo from Verona as a punishment.

Meanwhile Juliet’s father, unaware that she is already married to Romeo, has arranged for her to marry Prince Paris. She conspires with the friar who married them to deceive her family so that she can steal away and be with Romeo. It’s not until that plan ends tragically that the two families realize how foolish they have been.

Initially, I thought that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was going to be boring and sappy. I assumed it was a plain old love story between two people on opposite sides of a feud. I have read some other works by Shakespeare and so expected beautiful language and prose though, and that is why I picked up this book. But when I read this play, I loved it from start to finish. Not surprisingly, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has it all: clever dialogue, passionate romance, violent conflict, and plenty of poetry. I enjoyed it thoroughly and will leave you with the prologue :

“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.”


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The Salati Case – Tobias Jones

ImageTitle : The Salati Case

Author : Tobias Jones

ISBN-10 : 0571245862

ISBN-13 : 978-0571245864

Paperback :  272 pages

The Plot :

‘The Salati Case’ by Tobias Jones is the story of Castagnetti, a private investigator in Italy. He is hired to look into a very old case, about a man who was reported missing more than a decade ago. He is hired to look for Riccardo Salati, who was reported missing in 1995. His mother, the recently deceased Sylvia Salati has a condition in her will that states that her entire estate should be distributed amongst her living heirs. To be able to dispose of her estate, the executor of her will hires Castagnetti, to confirm the legal status of Riccardo.

From the very beginning the case seems to be a difficult one mainly because it dealt with an incident that happened more than a decade in the past. Most people involved were hazy on all the details. Since his disappearance there were no sightings reported of Riccardo and people presumed him dead, but presumption would not do for Castagnetti. At the start of his investigation he finds an obituary to Sylvia Salati in the newspaper under Riccardo’s name.

Unsure if he was still alive or if it was a prank someone was playing, Castagnetti starts on the trail of Riccardo. He starts by collecting all the background information that he could collect on Riccardo, things like he was last seen waiting for a train to Rimini in 1995. He was married with a baby daughter. He had a brother. He was also a huge gambler and owed a lot of money to a lot of people. It was also common behaviour to go missing for short periods of time.

Castagnetti interviews everyone he can find and starts putting together a case. With the help of a cop who helps him out from time to time with some bits of information and other characters he starts uncovering a lot of secrets. He soon learns that tere were a lot of people who had good reasons to get rid of Riccardo. One of the prime suspects is his brother, Umberto Salati, but he is soon found dead below his apartment. The initial thought is that he committed suicide but soon it is uncovered that it was murder. With one murder and a missing person’s case on his hand Castagnetti is in a race against time to quickly find out what happened to Riccardo and if it was related to his brothers murder.

The plot is full of twists and turns and scenes are vividly set in a gloomy town in Italy. One thing I loved is the metaphors and analogies used by the lead character. It is a slow book overall but the story is interesting. It is a good read if you don’t mind a slowly progressing story.  


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The Quickie – James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge


Title : The Quickie

Author : James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

ISBN-10 : 044619896X

ISBN-13 : 978-0446198967

Paperback : 384 pages

The Plot :

Another amazing book by James Patterson, ‘The Quickie’ is the story of Lauren Stillwell. She is married to Paul Stillwell and they had been having marital problems for a couple of years. One day, during his lunch hour, she sees him get into a car with a younger blond and go to the St. Regis Hotel. When she asks him about his lunch hour he looks her in the eyes and lies about being at his desk drowning in work. She is utterly devastated and convinced he is having an affair. She in turn decides to do the same and sleeps with NYPD detective Scott, on a night when Paul tells her he has to go for a business trip to Washington DC.

When Scott decides to go buy some groceries to cook Lauren dinner after they have slept together, he is brutally murdered and his body dumped in a car trunk. Lauren sees this from the window and is convinced the killer was her husband Paul. She comes home to find him drunk and sitting naked on their front porch. A couple of hours later she gets a call from her boss telling her that Scott’s body was found in a fountain and he was brutally murdered.

Her quickie with Scott was a secret that she was convinced no one else knew about, and surely enough no one suspects anything. She becomes the lead investigator on the case. Throughout the investigation she discovers multiple facts that suggest Paul’s involvement in the crime including bloody clothes and a gun. She tries her best to save Paul and tries to convict someone else instead.

She soon discovers that Scott was working undercover, to build up a case against two drug dealers Victor and Mark Ordonez. She decides they would be the idea scape goats for her. With all her skills and connections she manages to destroy all evidence that may point to her and Paul’s involvement and lands up convincing everyone that Scott was murdered because his cover as an undercover cop was blown and manages to prove the involvement of the Ordonez brothers. In a violent pursuit, she manages to Kill Victor and is shot in the process.

During her recovery, she decides to tell Paul of her indiscretion and thinks that she would convince him to come clean to her as well. Instead, he tell her about how he has been meeting with a head hunter all this time at St. Regis Hotel and has bagged a new job that pays him thrice his current earnings. She is stunned and decides not to tell him about her quickie with Scott. At the same time there is some new evidence in the case that proves Pauls involvement in the murder and another robbery in Washington DC couple of years ago. Unsure of how to deal with this situation, Lauren starts her own investigation to find out the shocking truth.

Full of plot twists, this is a really fast paced book with a nail biting finish. With any James Patterson book, you never know what to expect but are sure to have a really amazing reading experience. Loved this book from start to finish and I highly recommend it.


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