Six Degrees of Separation from Sorrow and Bliss to Casino Royale

It’s time again for Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

The starting point is a book by an Australian author shortlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction  Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. It’s about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is.

I haven’t read Sorrow and Bliss and so my first link is to the word ‘sorrow’ in the title – A Game of Sorrows by Shona MacLean set in 1628 in Ulster, in which Alexander Seaton seeks to find the author of the curse on his dead mother’s family and is confronted by a murder.

Again, using a word in the title my second link is – A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin, set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, in a grim a nd violent world full of tragedy, betrayals and battles; a tale of good versus evil in which family, duty, and honour are in conflict.

Moving on from there my third link is to a book by another author with the initials ‘R R’ – Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, an epic fantasy set in Middle-earth, telling of the quest to destroy the one, ruling Ring of power before it falls into the hands of its maker, Sauron, the dark lord of the title.

From the dark lord my fourth link is to another lord in The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers. When his sexton finds a corpse in the wrong grave, the rector of Fenchurch St Paul asks Lord Peter Wimsey to find out who the dead man was and how he came to be there. There is a lot of detail about bell-ringing, which is essential to the plot

My fifth link is to another book with the word ‘tailor’ in the title, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre, in which George Smiley uncovers a Soviet spy within MI6. To find him he has to spy on the spies. Smiley is an enigmatic character, a lonely man, who is self-effacing and apparently meek, a small, podgy man who has a habit of polishing his spectacles on the end of his tie. People underestimate him.

Smiley is a complete contrast to the spy, James Bond, 007, which brings me to the final link in my chain, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, the first James Bond book, in which Bond has to outplay Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale and shatter his Soviet cell.

My chain has travelled in and out of this world from Ireland to Westeros and Essos, Middle-earth, the English Fens, London and France. The books are from different genres, crime fiction, fantasy, and spy thrillers.

13 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation from Sorrow and Bliss to Casino Royale

  1. A great chain, Margaret! You have a nice mix here of historical fiction, fantasy, Golden Age, and more. I was glad to see A Game of Sorrows here. I like the Alexander Seaton books, and it was nice to be reminded of them. I wonder if she’ll do any more of them.

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    • Thanks, Margot. I see that S G (Shona) MacLean has a new book coming out in August – The Bookseller of Inverness, the title alone attracts me. It’s set in the wake of the 1746 battle of Culloden. Maybe it’s the start of a new series?

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