Category Archives: Book Reviews

Armenian Amiras

The Amiras were a powerful class of Armenian commercial, industrial and professional elites in the Ottoman capital between the 18th and 19th centuries. They ran the treasury, mint and armaments factories, built palaces, mosques and public buildings, and operated many monopolies. Because of their unique position, they had good relations with Ottoman Sultans and administrators and played an important role in the development of the Armenian and Armenian Catholic millets.

Book on it: http://www.amazon.com/The-Amiras-Lords-Ottoman-Armenia/dp/1903656354

Review: http://www.reporter.am/go/article/2009-02-20–the-amiras–giving-armenians-back-some-of-their-history

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Book Review: Ancient Yearnings

For anyone with a thirst for the exotic, for the naughty, for the erotic and the vampiric, with an added bonus of Armenian history, this is a perfect quick read to keep you sated for all of 5 minutes before you start craving more of the same genre. I came across the book by pure chance and decided to give it a try, doubtful of it’s potential. There were no reviews and no books similar or recommended by amazon to add onto the confection. What I wasn’t expecting was my total enthrallment with the idea that an erotic romance could have a sweet plot and sweeter characters. It’s not a very long book and I had it done within 2 hours (I’m a fast reader), but it was definitely one of my more favored romances. It’s not the best, per se, but I’m partial to the thought of it being set in Armenia, as an archaeological dig, while recounting Armenian history around 400 AD and including Armenian vampires. I think it’s the last bit that really gets me. Vampires are currently the “in” thing, especially with today’s teenagers. Where they are in love with Twilight, I lean more towards True Blood  and intercept with Vampire Diaries.

“In the 12th year of the reign of King Vramshabuh, the people of Hamparzoum erect this stone in honour of the great lord, Abaven Mardig, who turned into a Dakhanavar to smite the enemies of the land. He is the Watcher over Hamparzoum and all its people. This stone is set to protect the prison tomb of Atar, the fire demon of the South. As long as Mardig watches, the people of Hamparzoum will be safe”- the inscription on the khatchkar found in the novella.

I never knew Armenian vampires existed, let alone that they were called dakhanavars. Furthermore, what an awesome name for a protector of the land who’s a vampire over 1000 years old than Mardig! Abaven Mardig means Protective Knight, a name I find quite suitable for his role in the area. Whereas vampires known to the West are animalistic and evil creatures, the Armenian vampires were created to protect against enemies who wished to harm the Armenian people.

Needless to say, an Armenian with a love for action, vampires, ancient artifacts and sappy/erotic love stories, would definitely like this quick and pleasurable read 😀

 

the book can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Yearnings-ebook/dp/B003TFE36K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328761088&sr=8-1

Book Review- Lines in the Sand

It had been a while since I read a book concerning the Armenian genocide. I came across one that looked rather different, in terms of backdrop and characters, however. As I started reading, I certainly was not let down. “Lines in the Sand” by Thomas A. Ohanian is an amazingly written story, focusing on the lives of a few characters, both important players in the first World War and innocents subjected to torture and death. I have a certainly love for novels where perspectives are constantly changing and the reader can enter into the lives of multiple different characters at once. Ohanian stays true to this style of writing and begins with WWII, a scene where Hitler plans on invading Poland. He later jumps into the past and right at the beginning of the brewing first Wold War. Between descriptions of peaceful life in the villages of Eastern Turkey (Western Armenia) and dialogues held between the ambassadors and public authorities of the time, the essence of the time period is captured very well. For those interested in WWI and the events that led to the loss of many millions of lives, the story provides an amazing read. For those interested in the plight of the Armenians, the naivete of the people combined with the true tortures they faced gives a painfully real experience to the reader. There are books that take forever to read, even if the topic interests you. This particular novel was finished in a matter of 2 days (I’m a fast reader, the book isn’t short). The book also introduces a lot of key Armenian characters, including Ishkhan, Aram Manougian, Antranig, and Gomidas. The defense of Van, Morgenthau’s mission to try to help the Armenians, Wegner’s photograph evidence, the “starving Armenians” story in America, the closing of the Dardanelles, the assassination of Prince Ferdinand, and the German stance are all included. Even the ANZAC military force makes a good appearance. All in all, it’s a very well rounded, historically accurate novel, with only characters that are the compilation of the faces that both perished and survived the genocide. Lines in the sand are a metaphor.. in this, they represent the marching lines of half dead civilians, blackened by the sun and decimated by hunger, dehydration and disease.

Book can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Lines-Sand-Thomas-Ohanian/dp/0970930607

Mesopotamia by David M. Kiely

I was searching on amazon.com for books to do with Armenians to put on my kindle and was looking for something that was more like a novel as opposed to a classical history fact book. What I came across was a book written by David M. Kiely called Mesopotamia. I was curious to the contents of course and found myself reading the 1st couple of chapters from the excerpt online, wondering in what manner the Armenians would be referred to. Initially, I didn’t find any mention of Armenians, but constant referrals to the year 1915. I decided to buy the book and give it a try anyhow. While reading, I can say I was completely delighted with the information it conveyed and seamlessly it tied in the multiple storylines. The plot consists of multiple facets, from the psychology of a war veteran who was forced to endure torture by the Turks to the love triangle that transcends the classes of the time to the detailed descriptions of the multitude of war crimes and atrocities happening at the same time the Armenians and Assyrians are nearly wiped out to the betrayals and murder that run rampant and are always directly connected to the government and politics. It is without a doubt one of the better novels I have read that wholly encompasses all that is happening between 1914 and 1921, from the salons of Paris to the deserts of ancient Sumeria, from the creation of Iraq to the political intrigues of Turkey. Don’t expect a happily ever after but do expect a very detailed and engrossing tale about a British Officer’s journey for vengeance and justice.

The book can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Mesopotamia-ebook/dp/B0036FUS9O