Like many wargames enthusiasts I am very fond of the works of Conan Doyle and indeed, I own a number of his titles through Professor Challenger, Brigadier Gerard and of course, Sherlock Holmes. I have all the Holmes stories in hardback, paperback and electronically on my reader and so I was very pleased to see the title above in, of all places, our local branch of Homebase - the DIY store. Our local branch of this retail chain has a small bookcase of donated books for 30p each with the proceeds going to a local charity. I had a quick look at what was available and this was the only title that caught my eye and what a little goldmine it is. Aside from overviews of all the stories there is also a full listing of all the characters and the stories in which they appear as well as much other background material. The author, Michael Hardwick, has also collaborated on various similar guides including such TV series as Upstairs, Downstairs (the original with the late and great Gordon Jackson), the Pallisers and a number of other Holmes derived stories. A nice addition to the library for 30p!
The second title is one that I have really enjoyed reading and it will come as no surprise that I am already thinking about the gaming possibilities. Salamis by Barry Strauss has had me enthralled from the first page to the last and takes as its subject matter the great naval battle between the Greeks and the Persians in 480 BC. The descriptions of the principal characters and the technology involved in operating an ancient warship is first class and the narrative is positively gripping. The author has also written a book about the Spartacus Slave War which is equally good (I own a copy of this) and one that I have my eye on covers the Trojan War. I have no idea how best to game ancient naval warfare although my recent acquisition of the hex based WRG Ancient Fleet action rules (circa 1973!) may have the answer. I also happen to know that Tumbling Dice have just launched a range of 1/2400th scale ancient warships although I plan to make some models using the Universal Warship principle in due course.
Will it be sooner than I think? I don't know, and that is the truth!