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Sycamore Row

Compared to “The Firm” or “Pelican Brief”, this novel is a bit slow-paced. Have a little patience and as the drama unfolds, you’ll find yourself lost in a tale that went back two generations.

His second divorce left Seth Hubbard almost penniless. Determined to not wallow in self-pity, he took some outrageously calculated risks to build his wealth. The risks paid off and he became a very wealthy man within the span of ten years.

When he realised he was losing the battle with lung cancer, he wrote a new, hand-written will that left most of his fortune to his black maid while cutting out his estranged children. He committed suicide a day later and left strict instruction to Jake Brigance, an attorney, to defend his will no matter the cost.

Unsurprisingly, the will caused a controversy and his children contested the will. The fact that Seth Hubbard was on pain medication to deal with his illness raised question about his testamentary capacity. The attorneys of his children got busy digging dirt about the maid to prove that she exerted her influence to persuade him into changing his will.

The real reason for Seth Hubbard’s new will was a dark secret that had been hidden for decades and Seth was trying to correct an injustice. Only Ancil, Seth’s long lost brother, knew about the secret. Will Ancil be found on time before all is lost?

Get it from this store or that store.

Guantanamo Diary

What can I say… that I’m astounded at the cruelty of people who are willing to torture someone with no evidence that he had committed a crime? That I feel pity at the ignorance of people whose blind hatred made them feel that their cruelty is justified?

Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s ordeal started in 2000. He was detained twice at the behest of the US — first by the Senegalese police and later by the Mauritanian authorities — and questioned by FBI agents regarding his alleged involvement in the Millennium plot. They concluded that there was was no basis to believe he was involved and he was released. The Mauritanian authority told Slahi that the Americans kept saying that he was linked to the Millennium Plot but didn’t give any proof. The Mauritanian authorities affirmed his innocence.

In November 2001, the Mauritanian police went to Slahi’s home and asked him to accompany them for further questioning. He went voluntarily and drove his own car to the police station. It turned out, his government had agreed to turn him over to the US authorities (and hence, violated Mauritanian law) and a CIA rendition plane transported him to a prison in Jordan, where he was tortured and interrogated for 8 months by the Jordanian intelligence services. Slahi was actually informed by the Mauritanian police that he would be in Jordan for only a few days for questioning and then he would be sent home.

Another CIA rendition plane retrieves Slahi from Jordan. He was stripped, blindfolded, diapered, shackled and flown to the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan. After two weeks, he was transferred to Guantanamo. The American interrogators subjected Slahi to a “special interrogation plan” that was personally approved by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He was tortured for months — during this time he was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual humiliations, death threats and threats to his family.

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100 Novel Melayu Yang Wajib Dibaca

Saya mula-mula terjumpa senarai ini lebih kurang setahun lalu. Saya kongsikan di sini untuk manfaat bersama (klik pada gambar untuk lihat senarai). Menyusul di bawah adalah ulasan novel-novel yang telah saya baca.

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Leksikon Ledang

Setelah kehilangan isteri dan anak perempuannya, Datuk Isman Hijjaz sanggup melakukan apa saja untuk menyelamatkan nyawa anak lelakinya yang sedang sakit tenat. Hartawan itu menubuhkan sebuah makmal khas untuk menjalankan penyelidikan, mencari penawar untuk anaknya. Dr. Ching Huat adalah saintis terkemuka negara yang dipikat Datuk Isman untuk menerajui kumpulan penyelidik di makmal tersebut.

Datuk Isman telah lama mengkaji manuskrip purba dan yakin bahawa ada kod rahsia tersembunyi dalam kisah peminangan Puteri Gunung Ledang oleh Sultan Melaka. Memecahkan kod rahsia ini akan membawa mereka kepada penawar segara penyakit.

Seorang pembalak haram telah menemukan sebiji geliga yang dijualnya pada harga yang tinggi pada Datuk Isman. Dr. Ching Huat percaya maklumat dalam geliga itu beserta kod rahsia Puteri Gunung Ledang bakal menrungkai misteri untuk mendapatkan penawar untuk penyakit anak Datuk Isman. Sejurus kemudian, penduduk di kampung berhampiran kawasan pembalakan tersebut diserang penyakit misteri yang meragut ramai nyawa.

Kementerian Kesihatan mengerahkan sekumpulan pegawai kesihatan ke kampung tersebut untuk menyiasat punca penyakit misteri tersebut dan membendungnya daripada merebak. Dayang dan Zack adalah antara saintis muda bijak yang diarahkan ke kampung tersebut.

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The Lost City of the Monkey God

This is a true story about an expedition to find a lost ancient city in Honduras.

Stories that passed down from generation to generation tell the tale of a lost city built of white stone, called Ciudad Blanca or White City. It is also known as the “Lost City of the Monkey God”. According to the legend, the city was abandoned when the gods became displeased with the people, causing a catastrophe that made it impossible for people to continue living there.

Since the turn of the twentieth century, many explorers have tried to determine if the city actually exists. Among those who claimed to have found the city were conmen who fleeced unsuspecting funders to fund expeditions into the jungle to find the lost city.

The city is located in the Mosquitia region. No humans have set foot in the dense jungle for centuries. To say that exploring the jungle is challenging would be an understatement. Fortunately, a new laser technology called Lidar made it possible for the team to determine if there is of a lost city buried in the dense jungle.

Excitement ran high when a scan of the jungle using Lidar showed a high possibility of a buried city. The next step was to send a ground-truth expedition to find it.

Reading this book made me feel like I was there with the expedition team exploring the jungle to re-discover an ancient civilisation. I felt a little envious of the people who were granted a rare opportunity to rediscover a lost ancient city and civilisation. If you like non-fiction, history, adventure books, then I highly recommend this book. Get it from this store or that store.