Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton- Review

Featured

No matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, you are going to want to read Secretary Hillary Clinton’s newest memoir, Hard Choices. Clinton released the new book about her time as the 67th Secretary of State in June 2014. She discusses what led into her taking the honorable position, her work promoting democracy around the world, and her methods and time diffusing crises around the world.

In Hard Choices, Clinton describes the reluctance she had at first to take the position. She was convinced that there were so many more qualified individuals that should have taken the job, but President-elect Barack Obama made the case to her. He pleaded that she could continue promoting women’s rights all over the world, build America’s international relations with allies, and that, frankly, the Administration would need her. She weighed her options, and then made her decision. The rest is history.

Clinton talks about working with nations in the Asian continent quite a bit. She discusses the reluctance of China to have any real diplomatic influence on its neighbors, and how some of the political leaders in that nation are as opaque as the political system. She also talks about how the fight for democracy in Burma was, at some points… interesting, to say the least. She wrote about what one of the leaders said, finding it just as humorous as when it first was spoken, “The Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, Shwe Mann, another former general, met with me…’We’ve been studying your country trying to understand how to run a Parliament,’ he told me. I asked if he’d read books or consulted with experts. ‘Oh no,’ he said. ‘We’ve been watching the West Wing.’

European nations, and their long-standing relationships with America, are also discussed in Hard Choices. Clinton discusses why Europe’s alliance with the United States dipped before she was sworn in as Secretary. “Most of our European allies disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq.” But, as both America and Europe pursued common interests under the Obama Administration, trust, essential for democracy to thrive, was restored. During the stressful dialogue started with Iran on its nuclear program, on quelling the empty threats by North Korea, and in anti-terror operations, the United States and traditional allies, like Britain and France, regrew the relationship that has existed since the beginning of the Republic.

The operation to take down Osama bin Laden, and bring him to justice, came because of Clinton’s advocation. Her reasoning came because she is no stranger to the pain al-Qaeda brought upon America. As a Senator from New York, she helped secure the very significant $21 billion in funding to rebuild the World Trade Center site. She supported the invasion of Afghanistan, believing that it could simultaneously help root out terrorism and improve the condition of Afghani women. The opportunity to kill bin Laden was not one that came without plenty of patience, but when it did come, Clinton, “laid out the case, including the potential damage to our relationship with Pakistan and the risks of a blown operation.” She then added, “But, I concluded, the chance to get bin Laden was worth it.” The plan went forward, with US Seal Team Six storming the compound, taking down bin Laden, and recovering invaluable intelligence on future al-Qaeda operations. Clinton made the decision, along with President Obama, that trust could be placed in our troops, and it came out a complete success.

The crisis in the area of Gaza in 2012 was one that demanded undivided attention. A long-ensued battle between Israelis and Palestinians came to blows in the tiny 139-sq-ft strip on the Mediterranean one again. A fight that hadn’t been intensified to the point of mass conflict since 2008, when Israel ceased to occupy Gaza, Clinton was on the case from the very beginning. She worked hand-in-hand with (at the time) Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to bring a ceasefire to the conflict. Over 100 people had already perished in the fighting, many women and children, both Israeli and Palestinian, and the condition of innocents has always gained the attention of Hillary Clinton. Negotiations between Morsi, Clinton, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proceeded, where an agreement was reached that set out a comprehensive plan to end the fighting, and find a final solution to the conflict as a whole. Fighting ended after the agreement, and Clinton said that, “the ceasefire held better than anyone expected.” As now, an end to the current fighting in Gaza, where over 1000 people have died already, is being pursued along the lines of the 2012 ceasefire agreement.
Clinton discusses the issues we face in today’s world. She discusses the dire threat of Russian aggression, which she sees as Vladimir Putin’s goal of “reclaiming the Soviet Empire.” Clinton explains that, “we’re all in this together,” when it comes to Climate Change and energy. She wants the upcoming 2015 International Paris meeting on Climate Change to achieve real and beneficial reductions in our emissions, while helping to grow the US economy through green-collar jobs and new energy exploration, including solar, wind, and geothermal technologies. Finally, she discusses how Cold War-esque diplomacy will not work in the modern world, where both nations and groups pose threats. She explains what she calls “smart power,” which is the advocacy of democracy and freedom though the internet, technology, and human connections with everyday citizens.

The final discussion in Hard Choices is focused upon human rights, which Clinton calls the “unfinished business” of the 21st Century. Back in 1995, in a famous speech in Beijing, Clinton proclaimed that, “human rights are women’s rights and women’ rights are human rights.” She also discusses the fact that the growth in women’s job holdings in the US from 37% in 1979 to 47% in 2009 attributed to “more than $3.5 trillion in GDP growth over four decades.” Another argument that is made in Hard Choices is the fact that when women are a part of peace processes, “they tend to focus discussion on issues like human rights, justice, national reconciliation, and economic renewal.” Hillary Clinton, as she has done for her entire life, is nowhere near stopping now in her work pursuing rights for women here in America and abroad.

All in all, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s memoir of her time as Secretary of State is candid, revealing, and truly a testament to the challenges we face in today’s world. Time will tell if future ambitions exist, but one thing is certain: Clinton isn’t done yet.

Author Biography- Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton:

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton served as the First Lady of the United States to the 42nd President, Bill Clinton. She went on to become a U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Senator from New York. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. (Credit to The White House)

Advertisements

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner Recaptures The Life Of The First Businesswoman

Featured

MC cover

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was the world’s first businesswoman. Rising from the bottom, Chanel used her innate ingenuity and work-ethic to build one of the most recognisable and successful businesses ever. To paraphrase Chanel, she created her life because she was unhappy with it. Despite all of this, however, jealous competitors and misogynists have attempted to slander her legacy. The time has finally come that Coco Chanel is done justice, and that has come with C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel.

Gabrielle Chanel was born in Saumur, France into deep poverty to a deadbeat father and a physically ill mother. This loneliness only got worse after her mother died when Gabrielle turned 12 and when she was sent to Aubazine, a convent. Gabrielle turned her despair into application and effort when she learned the sewing at the convent and where the sisters helped turn her passion into a successful work venture.

At the age of 18 Chanel was sent to live at the boarding school in Moulins. While in Moulins she both pursued sewing and stage performing, which is when she became “Coco”, based off of the popular song  “Qui qu’a vu Coco”. In 1906, after failing to find success as a stage singer in Vichy, she returned to Moulins dedicated to her sewing.

Moulins was where Coco met the ex-military officer and aristocrat Etienne Balsan, and where she became his mistress. Coco replaced famous courtesan Emilienne d’Alencon, who ironically later became something of a business asset for Chanel, for Balsan, and there never really was any love shared between Chanel and Balsan. This time, however, brought Chanel to realize that her fate was to put her entire being into her work, despite all of the negatives Balsan said to her about it. This is the time when Chanel also learned the foreign but fine art of making powerful friends.

IMG_2253

Some of the research I did for this review: Sampling Chanel No. 5, Coco, and Bleu de Chanel.

In 1908 Chanel began an affair with Arthur “Boy” Capel, one of Balsan’s friends. Chanel found a new feeling, something that she had never felt before, with Capel: love. This relationship also proved to be one of business as well, which put Chanel’s talent together with Capel’s money to open her first boutique at 21 rue Cambon Paris, which really put Chanel’s effort and determination into tangible results.

Boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz opened subsequently, which is the period when many influential people saw Chanel’s fashion as revolutionary and loved it. 1919 marked the most tragic event of her life when Boy was killed in an automobile accident. In 1921 Coco opened the first modern boutique at 31 rue Cambon and just 6 years later owned almost the entire rue Cambon. Continuing the rise that Chanel was taking, she made business contacts with Pierre Wertheimer, who introduced her Chanel No. 5 perfume in his department stores but who Chanel referred to as the “bandit who screwed me.”

Chanel worked her way into association with the British aristocracy in 1923 and for the next decade continued close relationships with it. Chanel closed her shops at the advent of World War II and the occupation of Paris, and in 1947 became one of the richest women in the world with a new profits deal with the Parfums Chanel line.

After having moved to Switzerland in 1945, Chanel returned to Paris in 1954. With her reemergence came her greatest popularity in Britain and America, which continues now all around the world. Coco Chanel died in 1971.

IMG_2246

Les parfums de Chanel- Photo credit to Seize the Moment.

Now, with this background stated, we can delve into Gortner’s writing:

First, let us look at the great understanding of Chanel’s personality and spirit Gortner shows in this book. We understand that Chanel, growing up unstable and lonely, learned that money is true freedom. We also learn that Chanel neither hated men nor believed women to be superior; she was simply fiercely independent and determined to build her own life, not to be taken care of. The greatest thing Gortner succeeds in showing about Chanel’s personality is that she was constituted of great determination, which both helped her build the Chanel empire but also made many jealous, which was a great source of loneliness for Coco. Gortner really became Chanel herself, not the grand icon Chanel, not the stoic businesswoman. He wrote of the true, everyday, and genuine Coco Chanel, which is more important to her legacy than anything else.

Next, we must address how Gortner describes the setting around Chanel’s life. Gortner is a master of developing both multi-layered characters and environments in his novels, but Mademoiselle Chanel brings this skill to another level. Whether it be the forests of rural France or the urban streets of Paris, Gortner brings to life the world Coco Chanel lived in, which adds an aspect into understanding the legend, her era, and her work.

Finally Mademoiselle Chanel is a kind of biography that really hasn’t been seen before. In the same vein as Jack Kennedy, Chanel is unique in that no one can ever truly and completely understand every aspect of her life. Gortner, with great skill and intellect, recognises this and doesn’t attempt to achieve the impossible. Instead, he takes on what I consider to be a more daunting task: writing a biography that shows the genuine Coco Chanel and wanting us to base our opinions of the icon on that truth. Gortner achieves this magnificently, and makes Mademoiselle Chanel ingenious and revolutionary, just as Coco Chanel’s life was.

As intoxicating as the jasmine aromas of Chanel No. 5 and as revolutionary as the Little Black Dress, C. W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel reclaims the legacy of the world’s first businesswoman and shows the genuine Coco Chanel.

Mademoiselle Chanel, Synopsis~

(historical fiction)

Release date: March 17, 2015
at William-Morrow/HarperCollins

384 pages

ISBN: 978-0062356406

For readers of “The Paris Wife” and “Z” comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel—the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

Author Biography: C.W. Gortner

CW Gortner

C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, translated in over twenty-five languages to date.

His new novel, Mademoiselle Chanel, traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, “Vatican Princess”, about Lucrezia Borgia.

Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area, C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.

Visit his website. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter

Subscribe to his newsletter

Buy the book: HarperCollins | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY / GIVEAWAY / GIVEAWAY

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour (just click on the badge below to follow the stops on the tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook; they are listed in the entry form below.

Click on “Entry-Form” below to enter:

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]

6 winners and open to US only:
5 printed copies + 1 beautiful, handcrafted beaded bracelet inspired by Coco’s
black-and-white signature colors and camellia design

Mademoiselle Chanel bracelet

Click on the banner here to follow the other stops on the tour:

Mademoiselle Chanel banner

Sudetenland: Excerpt From George Chronis’ New Book

 

Today I am proud to have an excerpt of George Chronis’ new novel Sudetenland. This exciting snippet is just a taste of this historical novel set around the Munich Conference in 1938. Now, enjoy! 

Excerpt: 

“The Germans are very keen to have news of the conference broadcast live across the world. They are very confident of the outcome. Godesberg is a great victory for them,” Shirer felt a tad uncomfortable at helping them promote their success.

“Yeah, that’s what I have been reading in the local rags,” Endicott found the towing of the government’s pitch lines to be remarkably uniform.

“Don’t be too hard on us, my friend,” an overly cheery German broke into the conversation to sit down at the table without waiting for an invitation. “Godesberg is one of those rare occasions where everything we print is actually true.”

Shirer laughed and slapped the tabletop. “Eavesdropping again, Manfred?”

“Of course! And so do you. I am just better at snooping than you are,” the German boasted, although he ranked Shirer’s attention to detail as amazingly high.

“Charles,” Shirer turned to Endicott. “Meet Herr Culemann, one of Germany’s leading editors.”

“Pleased to meet you. Charles Endicott, Hearst International News Service,” Endicott reached over the table to offer his hand.

“I just read your story. Great work there: Kidnapped By the Sudeten Freikorps. I am glad you survived unscathed. Many of their number are severely undisciplined,” Culemann was sincerely pleased no harm had come to the American.

“Thanks on both counts. Sometimes I get lucky,” Endicott hoped the roll lasted for a while longer. “Say, you look like a man in the know. When does Herr Hitler arrive?”

“Oh, the chancellor is already in Godesberg… upstairs as we speak,” Culemann informed them.

“Now you’re talking,” Endicott perked up. “When do you think we will get a chance to see him?”

“Any time really. One never knows. He could stroll through the lobby in five minutes on the way to his river yacht. The vessel is tied up at the water’s edge,” Culemann located the vessel through the window and showed them.

“Somehow I expected something more formal,” Endicott sounded let down.

“Do not despair, the Teppichfresser will not disappoint,” Culemann lowered his voice as he teased the Americans.

“The what?” Endicott did not understand the term.

“Carpet eater?” Shirer’s translation did little to ease his own confusion.

“You two have obviously not been paying attention to the discussion at the next table,” Culemann nodded in the direction of two party hacks nearby.

“I imagine not,” Shirer had been ignoring their boorish neighbors on purpose.

“Perhaps you have heard… the chancellor often has strong reactions to bad news,” Culemann continued in a whisper. “Chamberlain promised him that he could deliver the Sudetenland on a platter and all of the news from Prague says Beneš is obstinately refusing to go along. Those two over there were just mentioning how this continued stubbornness by the Czech president has brought on one of Hitler’s rages causing the leader of the great German Empire to fling himself on the floor where he chews on the edge of the carpet.”

“You have to be kidding,” Endicott found such a tale difficult to believe.

“Trust me, on such matters, I never kid,” Culemann wagged his forefinger at the Americans.


***


  

Hashtags : #SudetenlandBlogTour #HistoricalFiction

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt 

  

Sudetenland is the premiere novel by author George T. Chronis. The book delivers suspenseful and sweeping historical fiction set against Central European intrigue during the late 1930s leading up to 1938’s Munich Conference. Having swallowed up Austria, Adolph Hitler now covets Czechoslovakian territory. Only France has the power to stand beside the government in Prague against Germany… but will she? The characters are the smart and sometimes wise-cracking men and women of this era – the foreign correspondents, intelligence officers, diplomats and career military – who are on the front lines of that decade’s most dangerous political crisis. If Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš ignores the advice of French premier Édouard Daladier and refuses to give up Bohemian territory willingly, then Hitler orders that it be taken by force. The novel takes readers behind the scenes into the deliberations and high drama taking place within major European capitals such as Prague, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and London as the continent hurtles toward the crucible of a shooting war.

Praise for Sudetenland

“Chronis impresses with such a challenging and intriguing debut effort, well written, impeccably researched.” — Melinda, Unshelfish

“Anyone that is looking for a thorough and rewarding read will enjoy Sudetenland.” — Diana, BookNerd

“The plot moves quickly along keeping you intrigued with well defined characters and great imagery to help immerse yourself in the story… I adored the way George managed to weave together the tragedy of war, depression and politics with romance, love and hope.” — Jennifer, pirategrl1014

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

About the Author

  

After years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years. Sudetenland© is his first novel. Taking place during turbulent times in Central Europe during the 1930s, the book took eight years to research and write. The author is already hard at work on his second novel.

Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.

For more information please visit the Sudetenland website or George T. Chronis’s website, or follow him on Tumblr. Subscribe to George T. Chronis’s newsletter.

Sudetenland Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, March 23
Spotlight & Excerpt at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, March 24
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Maiden’s Court
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, March 26
Spotlight at Mythical Books
Spotlight & Excerpt at Kinx’s Book Nook

Thursday, March 26
Review at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Spotlight & Excerpt at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Friday, March 27
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight & Excerpt at A Book Geek.                                          Spotlight & Excerpt at Seize The Moment


Shadow Ritual: Fascinating Interview With The Authors

Featured

IMG_2163

Yesterday I reviewed Shadow Ritual by Éric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne. Today, I have an interview with the authors:

 

 

How are you both? Thank you, gentlemen, for coming to my blog today.

 

1) Mr. Giacometti: I understand that you are a former journalist for Le Parisien newspaper. What kind of writing did you pursue while here? Also, Le Parisien found its roots in the French Underground during the German Occupation. Did your interest in this era, as evidenced by Shadow Ritual, get sparked in any way from this, or was that interest already there?

 

I was an investigative reporter and covered many topics, including corruption involving the Freemasons on the French Riviera. I discovered the dark side of the brotherhood. It resulted in a lot of heated discussions with Jacques. However, this unsavory side of freemasonry is confined to a limited number of brothers. 

 

Well before I started working for Le ParisienI also worked on Nazi spoliation under the Occupation in France, a dark page in the history of FranceIn the weekly Le Pointreported on the French Ministry of Finance’s archives on the subject.


As for Le Parisien, you are well informed! For a long time, thenewspaper was called the Parisien Libéré (litt: the liberated Parisian)It was born at the time of the liberation of France in 1944, from the rubble of a popular daily newspaper called Le Petit Parisien. Emilien Amaury, the owner and creator of the Parisien Libéréwas very close to General de Gaulle and shared his ideas. I have always been fascinated by that period. 

 

2) In Shadow Ritual, there is a lot of influence by Freemasons. Is this group still a major influence in the world?

 

Well, it all depends what influence and what freemasonry you are talking about. To clarify, there is no global freemasonry united under a great master who would draw the strings. There are various independent jurisdictions (Grand Lodges). Some even forbid their members from having any connection with members of other lodges. For examplethe French Masonic Grand Lodge (GNLF), recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England, does not allow their members to receive brothers from the Grand Orient of France (the largest organization in the country) in their temples nor to attend their ceremonies. There is a kind of undeclared war between many groups, both nationally and globally. There are reasons for these tensions. For instanceAmerican and British Freemasons accept a belief in God, whereas in the Grand Orient it is not compulsory, and secularism remains a fundamental principle. 


As for the supposed influence on politics and economics, there is no denying that in France some lodges welcome influential people. Networks do exist, but no more nor less than other networks that are sometimes much more powerful. There was a time when some jurisdictions exclusively recruited senior officials and business and financial leaders to inflate theirmembership and increase their power. But because of scandals disclosed by the press, especially about the French Riviera, some clean up took place

 

However, you can’t prevent many laymen from believing that Freemasons are pulling the strings of a major global conspiracy with the Illuminatiwho until proven otherwise no longer exist.

 

In our thrillers, we try not to fall into the trap of conspiracy theory. And for good reason: Antoine Marcas is a Freemason policemanproud of his ideal!

 

3) Your gift for seamlessly weaving history and thriller together to create a better novel is commendable. When did both of your interests in history begin, and what eras are you each most interested in?

 

Thank youWe have always been fascinated by history, be itofficial history from the textbooks or more obscure history woven into the texture of big eventsJacques has a passion forthe Middle Ages and the eighteenth century. It is not by chance that he wrote a novel on the life of the Marquis de Sade.

 

4) Your protagonist, Antoine Marcas, has been found unique in many ways, setting him apart from the average lead character. How did you develop this character, and does he embody any of your personal qualities?

 

As a Freemason, he believes in the values of freemasonry, butremains realistic on the organization and its by-productsHe does not fantasize about having access to higher knowledge through his initiation. He is cop, he’s divorced and has problems with his exwife. He lives in a realistic worldBut a world in which suddenly the veil is torn and another reality appears, one that is more esoteric and strange. He goes through what poet Gérard de Nerval used to call the doors of “horn and ivory.” 

 

Marcas is a product of our differencesEric had a not-so-positive view of Freemasonry, resulting from his investigations. And Jacques was tired of reading simplistic articles on thebrotherhood. Antoine Marcas is the ideal honest Freemason. In Shadow Ritual, he teams with Jade, secret service agent. She hates the brothers. Over the years, since this first book, Eric has become “Mason friendly, but he is still critical of certain practices.

 

Standard image of masonic square and compasses

 

5) On this blog, I have written articles on the rise of extremism in Europe, specifically in FranceShadow Ritual features this extremism, and I understand that you have both studied it throughout your career. How does this startling new trend connect back to the Nazi era, and why is this ideology resurfacing now? 

 

The political situation in Europe is concerning. There’s a rise of parties qualified as extremist or populist, from the extreme right, like the National Front in France, or on the opposite from the extreme left, like the anti-capitalist party Syriza in Greece. 

 

Reasons can be identified: increasing unemployment rate, latent economic crisis, rejection of political and media elite, growing rejection of uncontrolled globalization and of immigration, loss of national identity, and also distrust of European political structures. Add to this Islamic attacks, like on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, and the latest discovery of an anti-Semitism rooted in some social groups of immigrants, and the result is a concerning mix

 

However, we need to be careful in our comparisons with Nazi and pre-Nazi eras. In Francebefore World War II, anti-Semitism and anti-Freemasonry were widespread within the population and the elite. This is no longer the case. Also, even if neoNazi groups do exist, as with the Golden Dawn in Greece, they remain very marginal and no right-wing populist party consider themselves to be part of them. Unlike in the United States, Nazi apology and the display of Nazi symbols are severely punished by law in France.

 

6) Shadow Ritual has a lot of historical influence in it, including the Nazi era in Europe and after. What kind of historical research did you pursue for the novel?

 

We read history books on this dark period. From this, we developed, for instance, the character of Le Guermand, a French SS officer. There were a few thousand like him in our country. Some defended Hitler’s bunker to the very end, in Spring 1945.For a long time, in France it was taboo to discuss the soldiers who fought in German uniform.

 

On the esoteric dimension of Nazism and the role of the Thule society, there are few reference works. It is still a rather unknown part of historyopen to all kinds of fantasies.

 

7) What other writings have you published? Are there any more titles featuring Detective MarcasHow can readers connect with you? 

 

In addition to the series with detective Antoine Marcas, which has ten books to date in French, Eric wrote a thriller about a public health scandala real story of killer pacemakers, as well as essays and an investigative book on pharmaceutical laboratories.

 

Jacques published his book on Sade and also research on the writer Paul Valery

 

Readers can contact us via Facebook or on our website. 

 

8) I have to ask this one question, one that doesn’t have much to do with the book: What is life like living in France? I am fascinated by different cultures and so I am curious as to your response compared to other French I have spoken with.

 

Eric:

I would say the answer varies according to whom you are talking to in France. For those who struggle to make ends meet, life is tough, even if the social system provides a minimum safety net. 

 

I have been living in Paris for 27 years. For me, France remains the country of good living and Paris is a wonderful city. Enjoying simple moments in life is part of a hedonistic view of life. To have a coffee on the terrace of my regular café in the 9th arrondissementto walk along the banks of the Seine with my wife, to work late into the night and gaze upon the Sacré-Cœur from my office, these are unrivaled pleasures. 

 

Shadow_Ritual view fron office

The View From Éric’s Office

 

Jacques lives on the Left Bank, in the Latin Quarter, near Saint-Germain-des-Prés. There you can hang around the Saint-Sulpicechurch and browse through the booksellers along the Seine. I realize these are all tourist clichés, but clichés are sometimes true. 

 

And France is packed with wonderful landscapes, magnificent castles, and beautiful villages. Yes, to live in this country brings happinesseven though the French are the most pessimistic people in Europe, because of the economic crisis and social problems (rise of extremism, loss of reference points, etc.). They are afraid of the future and tend to take refuge in the past. French society gets bogged down because of this lack of optimism. 

 

However, if you could get a message through, that would be very nice. I almost chokewith rage when I watched a report on FoxNewsThey lied about Paris and invented “nogo zones where non-Muslims would be prohibited, where Sharia law would be applied. In comparison, the Chicago of Al Capone would be a loving nursery. 

 

Yes, there are suburbs with problems, but to say that Paris has become cut throat, that’s pure nonsense. This report was passed on here by the media and millions of French were shocked. I live in one of those supposed “nogo zones, near Montmartre… I am even more upset because I am pro-American, in heart and mind. I love the United States so much that I even married (for real) in Las Vegas with my wife and… Jacques was my best man!

 

Thank you very much gentlemen for being on my blog today. I look forward to reading the next books in the series and maybe having you on again!

 

The Authors: Éric Giacometti & Jacques Ravenne:

Jacques Ravenne is a literary scholar who has also written a biography of the Marquis de Sade and edited his letters. He loves to explore the hidden side of major historical events.

 

Eric Giacometti was an investigative reporter
for a major French newspaper. He has covered a number of high-profile scandals 
and has done exhaustive research in the area of freemasonry.

About The Translator:

Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.
 

Follow Le French Book on Twitter  | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book | on Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Indiebound  | upcoming on Apple + Kobo

Shadow Ritual Is An Exciting Thriller With A Powerful Message; Review + Giveaway

Review: 

The genre of thriller in literature is very broad. The majority of thrillers in modern times have plenty of action, plenty of conflict, etc. The problem is not that these books aren’t well-written, but they lack a message. My favorite thriller/espionage writer, the indomitable John Le Carré, wrote with a message in each of his books, and still at the age of 83 hopes his life’s work has not been for nothing.

I mention Le Carré because I believe that the authors of Shadow Ritual, Éric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne, are the closest anyone has come to reaching Le Carré’s caliber in both writing thrillers to entertain and to convey a message.

Shadow Ritual, published for the first time in English, follows the investigation by Inspector Antoine Marcas into 2 murders, one in Rome and one in Jerusalem. Marcas soon finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy that stretches the entire continent of Europe. Paired with the resolute Jade Zewinski, who has a personal connection to one of the victims, they must decipher a mystery centuries in the making before it is too late.

Shadow Ritual is unique because of its balance. Inspector Marcas is a Freemason, but is fairly portrayed not in the corrupt manner the world thinks Freemasons are but as simply a part of his life. Freemasonry plays a large part in the conspiracy Marcas and Zewinski must unravel, but the authors, though divided in their views of Freemasons, find a moderate position that Marcas can hold firm to.

The historical influence on the events in the novel work well together and despite seeming disconnected at first the authors do an impeccable job of showing the connections they share with each other and the present. The research the authors conducted really shines through and gives the novel another dimension.

The 2 lead characters in Shadow Ritual, Antoine Marcas and Jade Zewinski, bring this novel into a high caliber of literary accomplishment. The characters are so realistic, unusual for thrillers, and we see them as the lead point for the novel, not the action. We understand Marcas as a man involved in things bigger than himself but puts justice above all else, which sometimes distracts him from smaller details. I see Zewinski as a truly powerful woman, often being more stubborn than Marcas but always dedicated to getting the job done well. This team work so well, and give each other such a fair amount of give and take that real-world detectives should look at this pair as a great example of an inspector duo.

Finally, Shadow Ritual has a message that truly needs to be heard. The novel shows how corrupt ultranationalism and extremism is, and how we must counteract the rising extremism with true understanding and justice. We must all join together to say “never again.”

Shadow Ritual puts Giacometti and Ravenne into the top tier of writers that effectively pair entertainment and meaning into their work. The times call for more writing like this, and I look forward to reading more of this author team’s work.

Éric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne: 
 

Jacques Ravenne is a literary scholar
who has also written a biography of the Marquis de Sade and edited his letters. He loves to explore the hidden side of major historical events.

Eric Giacometti was an investigative reporter for a major French newspaper. He has covered a number of high-profile scandals
and has done exhaustive research in the area of freemasonry.

About The Translator: 

Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.

Follow Le French Book on Twitter  | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book | on Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Indiebound  | upcoming on Apple + Kobo


Giveaway:

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.

Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour and tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!

[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

8 winners

3 print copies for US residents

5 digital copies for US or other residents

Why Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination Matters

Credit Here.

Boris Nemtsov’s fierce opposition to the actions taken by the Putin Administration in Russia was one of the strongest seen. Nemtsov, a former Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin, was one of the most influential people in the introduction of capitalism in Russia after the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991. He was a leader of, along with Gerry Kasparov, the Solidarnost movement in Russia.
Nemtsov in more recent years was a powerful critic of President Vladimir Putin’s policies, especially the corruption related to the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the invasion of Ukraine. In the last months he had been planning marches in Russia to protest these 2 major actions by the Putin government.
But, on February 27th, Boris Nemtsov was shot 4 times in the back and killed right in front of the Kremlin.
Credit Here.
The assassination of Boris Nemtsov appears to be a contract killing, which has become much-used by the Putin government to silence its critics. Dramatically staged in front of the Kremlin on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, Nemtsov’s murder was a message to the Russian people that dissent will not be tolerated by Vladimir Putin.
The official story is that the identity of the killer(s) is unknown. Pro-Putin supporters say that Nemtsov gave Putin no credible threat and therefore the President had no reason to order his assassination. They, and the Russian media, try to pin the blame on Islamic terrorists who may have strived for vengeance for Nemtsov’s stance on the Charlie Hebdo attack.
If we believe that Islamic terror theory, why Nemtsov? Why not someone who influenced Russian actions toward Muslims much more than Nemtsov? Why not Putin himself, because of his leadership of the Chechen Wars? The theory just doesn’t make sense.
The only reason that checks out is that Putin himself ordered Nemtsov’s assassination. This would follow precedent, as evidenced by the high-profile killings of Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, and Boris Berezovsky, among others. In all of these cases, those killed had fervently worked to protect democracy from the Putin Administration’s goal to dismantle it.
Credit Here. 
The real reason Nemtsov was killed now, in February 2015, was revealed by Russian dissenter Kseniya Sobchak (daughter of Putin’s mentor Anatoly Sobchak). Sobchak said that Nemtsov was preparing an exposé definitively proving the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. This would have changed the game in Putin’s mission to conquer Ukraine, and this is backed up with the report that Nemtsov’s hard drive and papers were confiscated by police subsequent to his murder. So, Putin had Boris Nemtsov killed for the dual reasons of preventing the Russian presence in Ukraine report and to continue to build the culture of fear in Russia. Putin’s goal is not to return to the Soviet Union, but that is an inspiration. He strives to create the strongest Russian Empire ever known, and runs the government on violent Russian nationalism and fear. Of course, an empire cannot be built when dissent is present. Which is why Vladimir Putin killed Boris Nemtsov. And why this is just the beginning.