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London based journalist, author and editor.
on June 05, 2012 :
This is another excellent work from Roger Williams.
It's the second of his volumes of 'shorts' Not exactly short stories, more brief episodes. For me Father Thames works better than the earlier Hotel Bristol - itself well worth a read - in that the history of London's River provides a broader canvass for him than the various Hotels named Bristol around the world.
As you'd expect from Roger, Father Thames is meticulously researched and is packed with fascinating historical detail.
As he says: "For centuries invaders, migrants, royalty and refugees have travelled ....up Britain's liquid highway" and this is their story ... in fact 20 stories spanning the years from 500 AD up to the present day.
My only (very mild) criticism is that I could have done with a little bit more on the characters themselves and a little bit less of the historical context. But that is surely a fault in the right direction.
If this encourages you to read Roger's marvelous full length works "Burning Barcelona" and his undoubted masterpiece "Lunch with Elizabeth David" then it will have done great service.
Personally I prefer his novels, and am eagerly awaiting the next one. In the meantime Father Thames will remain a favourite companion to return to again and again.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)