Sunday, 21 July 2013

Negau Blog's Top 10 Historical Fiction Books

Reading a good novel is a relaxing and fun activity. I would say it's a form of escape but that isn't how I like to think of books. For me, they are more like a quick holiday from reality. In the numerous worlds of historical fiction, you can escape into something completely new, different or maybe somewhere you know quite a bit about and are glad to revisit. For me, that would be Ancient Rome. I've read a lot of historical fiction based around Rome. But the great thing is that each novel you read presents a different interpretation of a place, so you are always experiencing something new. Here is a list of some of the best selling historical novels which I think deserve to be in the top 10.

10. The Great Gatsby

As I've reviewed The Great Gatsby before, follow this link to have a more detailed look at the novel. The Great Gatsby really is that great because it combines a highly engaging plot with a commentary on its historical setting. Life and luxury in early 20th Century America are criticised throughout the novel. This combination of a critical analysis of the historical context and an exciting storyline are what historical fiction is (or at least should be) all about. Here's a video from the recent Great Gatsby film trailer.

9. The Alexander Trilogy

Valerio Massimo Manfreidi's trilogy about the life of Alexander the Great is a good read for people young and old. I first read the Alexander books as a young teenager, and found them thoroughly enjoyable. Manfreidi writes the narrative to Alexander's life from start to finish from a very human perspective. Myth, history and a well-spun story are all combined in this three part historical fiction novel.


8. Pompeii

Attilius and Corelia's point of entry to the aqueduct
Pompeii is a great book for readers with an interest in archaeology, Roman history or the fiction genre as a whole. This work of historical fiction focuses on the time before and during the eruption of Vesuvius which buried the town of Pompeii for hundreds of years. The plot is based around the mystery of a failed aqueduct, drawing the reader in before the dramatic ending. The below picture is the true location of one of the most dramatic events in the book, you can't get closer to history than Pompeii.

7. The D'Artagnan Romances

7.1 The Man in the Iron Mask

This is one of those historical fiction books which has all of the right ingredients. It is also my favourite story from the D'Artagnan Romances. Historical setting, romance, engrossing plot, well-developed characters and the mystery of the historical event upon which the novel is based all make this a true classic of the historical fiction genre.


7.2 The Three Musketeers

Second out of the D'Artagnan Romances only due to the brilliance of the above, The Three Musketeers is a great historical fiction book. 17th Century France is brought to life in D'Artagnan's writing, once you start reading it you won't be able to put it down. Below, some funny scenes and quotes from the 1993 film.

6. Atonement

Young love, loss, betrayal and war are all merged into a single plot in Atonement. Happily, they mix well in this novel which is a very recent addition to the historical fiction classics. The book takes you from one perspective, time and location to another, never being what you think it is and refusing to end how you want it to. But the author is right on this occasion, the story becomes far more poignant in not giving the reader a conventional romantic ending. The final scene of the film here. And below, you can see moving pictures of Keira Knightley!

5. The Other Boleyn Girl

If you came here looking for women in bodices and men in tights, I'm sorry to have disappointed you so far, but this is the post for you. Another of those historical fiction books in which Henry VIII gropes innumerable female courtiers, this novel has characters you will love and others you will hate. The Other Boleyn Girl has become extremely popular and deserves a place at no. 5.

4. The Pillars of the Earth

Life in Medieval England was pretty hard, and The Pillars of the Earth reflects this harsh reality. Politics, romance and religion fuel the action-packed plot. Read this and you will become engrossed in the lives of each character as they attempt to carve out a place for themselves in feudal society. Another extremely successful book in the historical fiction genre, a great TV series has also been based on the novel.

3. The Aubrey/Maturin Novels or Master and Commander Series

The Napoleonic Wars are a constant source of inspiration for historical fiction writers, as you will see further down the list. The plot of this series of novels flows along to the thunder of cannons and crashing waves of the ocean. It encompasses a near-perfect balance of character development and naval action. Nautical terms are used frequently, but do not worry too much about it because you find yourself picking them up surprisingly quickly. A trailer from the Master and Commander film below.

2. I, Claudius

In the introduction I talked about Ancient Rome. I, Claudius is certainly the best book of the Roman historical fiction genre, and no.2 out of all historical fiction novels. The life of Emperor Claudius is related from his perspective, including all of the nasty behaviour of his predecessors. A book which pulls no punches and leaves no gaps unfilled, this is a true literary classic.

1. War and Peace

I've written a blog review of War and Peace before, which can be found here, so I will try to keep this short. In this book Tolstoy takes us to 19th Century Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. Great battles are fought, romances are kindled and lives are cut short. This is the best work of historical fiction that I have read thus far. Watch this clip from the film to get an idea of the book's epic scale and harsh realism.


 What is your favourite historical fiction book  or author? Let us know by leaving a comment :)

 Joe Malpas

Negau Blog's Top 3 Open World Video Games

What is an Open World Video Game?

Open world games are a genre of video game which do not rely as heavily on mission-based gameplay as other games. You are free to explore the game's environment in a variety of ways, completing side-missions, mini-missions or simply interacting with scenery and characters. One of the biggest producers of open world video games is Rockstar Games. To give an idea of the open element of these games, here is a compilation of clips from GTA 4 gameplay.


1. Saints Row 3 - An Open World must-have

You want freedom? Saints Row The Third gives you freedom and then some. You have a range of activities to choose from including driving cars, fast boats and soaring through the sky in a fighter jet. The latest Saints Row game has really improved on almost all aspects of gameplay. One thing we really enjoyed was the heavy injection of insanity which the developers gave to this game. Watch the video below and you'll see what we mean.


2. GTA 4 - Driving Down the Open World Road

I know not everyone will agree with me, but driving is what makes the GTA games great for me. Vehicles let you get around open world environments quickly, and modern driving mechanics make it as much fun as any other part of the game. See below for a high-speed car chase video from the game.


3. Red Dead Redemption - An Eco-friendly Open World Poem

Imagine for a moment an epic poem about nature and frontier life. Now imagine you get to ride around those idyllic landscapes on a wild steed, firing revolvers from the hip as you gunsling your way through an engrossing storyline. That is Red Dead Redemption, a good open world game made great by the environment and stories within it.


Soon to come...

According to the natural progression of the video game, this open world game should be jumping to the top of this list soon. It's GTA 5 and you can find our news and review of it here.

  What are your top open world games? Follow or comment and let us know! Joe Malpas

Shogun 2 Total War - A Negau Review

Shogun 2 Total War is a game about the rise and fall of the Japanese Samurai. We recently published a list of our Top 10 Best Martial Arts Films, so staying on the topic of martial Japan we bring you a Shogun 2 Review. Interesting to note is the fact that Total War will be releasing another sequel game, Rome 2 Total War later this year.

The history behind Shogun 2

Find below a clip from the film 13 Assassins. The film gives a good idea of what Shogun 2 is about... Samurai warriors fighting in feudal Japan. We here at Negau watched it only recently, otherwise it might have made it into the Top 10. Feudal Japan was ruled by an emperor, through the military power of the Shogun. The campaign map is split between numerous historical factions, each led by a daimyo.

What is the Shogun 2 Gameplay Like?

Here's a video that will show you one of the biggest differences between Shogun 2 Total War and its predecessors. The sieges are far more complex, with the AI often encircling your fortress and attacking from multiple directions. Armies can also penetrate defences by climbing walls, burning gatehouses or using artillery.

What is the Best Element of Shogun 2?

Our favourite part of Shogun 2 is in The Fall of the Samurai expansion, which includes the option to fire artillery in first-person. You can adjust the height of the artillery piece, fire a round and watch as it soars towards your foes and finally explodes among them.

Where can you buy Shogun 2?

Joe Malpas

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Top 10 Best Martial Arts Films - Reviews and Videos

Bruce lee

10. Kagemusha

A samurai film with an emotional plot. A nobody is hired as a double for one of the most powerful samurai warlords in Japan, Takeda Shingen. However, when Takeda dies, how long will it take before his enemies and allies figure out the double's true identity?

9. Red Cliff

This is a must-see martial arts film for anyone with an interest in China's Three Kingdom's period or fans of the Dynasty Warriors series. The armies of Xu and Wu desperately try to hold back Cao Cao's imperial army and navy. Battles on epic scales and engrossing characters.

8. Kill Bill: Vol. 2

The sequel to Kill Bill: Vol. 1, this is a fine example of how well the genre of martial arts films mixes with revenge-based scripts. But does the sequel ever live up to the standards of its predecessor? In this case, probably not. But here's a video of how to stop a heart with one hand!

7. Kill Bill: Vol. 1

This film beats its sequel by quite a margin. One of the modern martial arts film greats, Uma Thurman is more than just eye-candy, wielding a katana like a pro. Here's the famous scene where she takes down 88 bad guys in a fight.

6. Ip Man 2

Another sequel which very nearly holds its own with the original Ip Man. This martial arts epic only missed out on being in the top 3 due to the number of near-perfect movies clamouring for the top spot.

5. House of Flying Daggers

The House of Flying Daggers film is one of the best choreographed movies we've seen. Stunning scenery and breathtaking fight scenes ensure that it has earned this spot at Number 5 on the Top 10 list. To give you an idea of what we're talking about, here's our pic of best clip.

4. Hero

Number 4, for an awe inspiring combination of fantastic scenery and dynamic fights, all woven into an incredible plot, check out Hero. Here is the final scene, which was just too good to leave out!

3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Another oldie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a must-see for martial arts films enthusiasts. Memorable scenes involving running up walls (in a more-believable-than-The-Matrix) kind of way and through treetops combined with a riveting plot secure this old-time favourite a spot at Number 3. Watch the video below for some really fast-paced action showing what a girl can really do with a sword (couldn't keep up eh, Kill Bill?).

2. Ip Man

Number 2 and the first Ip Man film, the story still gets me. A tale of China under Japanese occupation and one man's fight against oppression. Ip Man moves hands and feet faster than the human eye can follow in this hit epic martial arts film. Otherwise, I'll let the following video speak for itself.

1. Fist of Fury

The best out of all martial arts films. Bruce Lee plays the part of a young man looking to take revenge on his sensei's murderers in this 1970s film. The best scene in the film is the final segment when Bruce Lee forces his way through his enemy's compound with a storm of kicks, punches and blocks.

What's your Top 10? Leave a comment letting us know your opinions :)

Joe Malpas, also on WordPress

Monday, 15 July 2013

Napoleon Total War - Review


What is Napoleon Total War about?

The Napoleon Total War game is set during the Napoleonic Wars. You play the game on two levels: the campaign map and battle map. On the campaign map you control regions, cities, towns, navies, armies and agents. You also control the government of your faction, including tax rates and ministers. On the battle map you controls units of soldiers or ships as your army or navy tries to defeat the enemy.

Napoleon Total War - Napoleon's Campaigns

Napoleon's Campaigns features a few of Napoleon Bonaparte's most dramatic campaigns. These include the Italian Campaign, Egyptian Campaign, Europe and finally the Battle of Waterloo. These campaigns are great fun for Total War veterans and novices alike. The Napoleonic French armies benefit from the massed fire of their cannon batteries, hard-hitting bayonet charges from infantry columns and some superb light cavalry who fire their carbines from horseback. You also get to take on all of the major players of the period such as Great Britain, Austria, Russia, Prussia and the Ottoman Empire, as well as some interesting smaller nations.

Napoleon Total War - Campaigns of the Coalition

This aspect of the game lets you take control of a leading faction in the coalition against Napoleon, Great Britain, Austria, Russia or Prussia, and lead their armies against the Napoleonic threat. You can sail the powerful navy of Great Britain against the combined fleets of France and Spain in a recreation of the Battle of Trafalgar, defend to the last man the aged empire of Austria in epic set-piece land battles, drag horse and cannon across the steppes of Russia to lend much-needed aid to your allies, or turn the tide against Bonaparte with the Prussian infantry - the best drilled and equipped infantry in Europe.

Napoleon Total War - Napoleon's Battles

You can also take a leading role in one the major battles of the Napoleonic Wars. These can be played at varying difficulties but each provides unique tactical or logistical challenges to the would-be Emperor of the French.

Napoleon Total War - The Peninsular Campaign

A new update/expansion for Napoleon Total War, this introduces lots of new elements to all levels of the gameplay. The Peninsular Campaign is set in Spain and Portugal during Spanish resistance to French occupation which took place during the late stages of the Napoleonic Wars. Choose to play as either the Spanish, French or British as they struggle for control of the Iberian Peninsula. New agents are available on the campaign map, allowing you to convert enemy settlements' populations. Guerilla tactics also play a large part on all levels, as you lay ambushes with you armies on the campaign map and set traps with a few guerilla units in the midst of a battle.
Other articles you might enjoy: Public Transport Dos and Don'tsWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing OnlineThe US gun laws debateGTA 5The Great GatsbyNCIS news and reviewTrayvon Martin caseBritish SummerGeorge Zimmerman verdictRome 2Iron Man 3War and Peace debate

Joe Malpas

Favourite picture of the day!

The Napoleonic Wars - A Brief History


What were the Napoleonic Wars?

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of conflicts fought between various European alliances and coalitions while Napoleon Bonaparte was the ruler of France. These wars spanned the European continent from Spain to Moscow by land, and across the known world by sea. They have been portrayed in films, games and literature (see War and Peace review and debate).

Who fought in the Napoleonic Wars?

The Napoleonic Wars were fought between France, Great Britain, Austria, Russia, Spain, Prussia, other Germanic nations and many other smaller parties or countries with a lesser involvement.

Who were France's allies in the Napoleonic Wars?

-Ottoman Empire

Who did France fight against in the Napoleonic Wars?

-Great Britain

Important notice: the above are not complete lists. Numerous smaller nations were pulled into the conflict and countries often changed sides.

Battles of the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Trafalgar. This was a large naval battle which occurred at the start of the Napoleonic Wars. It was fought between Great Britain under Horatio Nelson and an alliance between France and Spain under Pierre-Charles Villeneuve. It was a crucial victory for Great Britain which gave them naval superiority and ended plans for a French invasion of Britain.
The Battle of Austerlitz. Also known as the 'Battle of the Three Emperors', the Battle of Austerlitz was a land battle fought by France under Napoleon against a Russian and Austrian alliance. The Russian force was led by Tsar Alexander I and Mikhail Kutuzov, while the Austrian forces were commanded by Emperor Francis II. The combined Russian and Austrian armies were defeated and forced to retreat. This French military victory led to the collapse of the Third Coalition.
The Battles of Jena and Auerstadt. These battles saw the French Empire win victories of two Prussian armies during the same day. Napoleon led the victorious French army at Jena, while Davout led another French army at Auerstadt. As a result of these victories, Napoleon's armies captured Berlin and pushed Prussia out of the Fourth Coalition.
The Battle of Borodino. This battle was fought between Napoleon's French invasion force and Kutuzov's Russian army. It is debatable which side won the battle, as the French captured the main positions on the battlefield but the Russian army was able to withdraw without being destroyed. The Battle of Borodino led to the capture of Moscow by the French. However, it may have also caused the eventual destruction of Napoleon's army.
The Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon led the French army in this battle which took place in present-day Belgium. The French faced a combined British, Prussian, Dutch, Hannoverian, Nassau and Brunswick force. The British army and its smaller allies were commanded by the Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley, while the Prussian army was led by Gebhard von Blucher. The British and allied army was able to hold off the French forces until the Prussian army arrived to attack Napoleon';s army in its flank. The British, Prussian and allied victory ended the Napoleonic Wars. It also led to the exile of Napoleon and the end of his French Empire.
Battle of Waterloo

Other articles you might enjoy: Public Transport Dos and Don'tsWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing OnlineThe US gun laws debateGTA 5The Great GatsbyNCIS news and reviewTrayvon Martin caseBritish SummerGeorge Zimmerman verdictRome 2Iron Man 3War and Peace debate

Joe Malpas

Best App for iPhone


Our Top App Purchase for iPhone

Our favourite app for the iPhone is Instant Heart Rate by Azumio. This heart rate monitor can be downloaded from the app store on the iPhone or iTunes.

What is the iPhone Instant Heart Rate Monitor?

The Instant Heart Rate app allows users to check their heart rate on their mobile phone. You can see your pulse on the screen, track your heart rate over time and monitor your health. If you play sports or exercise regularly, this iPhone app is great for allowing you to check how fast your heart is beating before, during and after a workout. For those more interested in their long-term health, you can use the app to keep track of changes to your resting heart rate day-to-day, week-to-week or on a longer-term basis.

Features of the iPhone Instant Heart Rate Monitor App

The app is easy to use, all you have to do is place the tip of your finger over your iPhone camera and wait a few seconds while your heart rate is recorded. You can export your heart rate data and share it on Twitter or Facebook. There are also hashtags which allow you to record the situation of each heart rate record, each hashtag is listed below:
-Just woke up.
-Before bed.
-New tag. You can use this option to create your own custom tags.

Joe Malpas

'War and Peace' - Debate and Review


Why are we reviewing War and Peace again?

Last week Negau published a review of War and Peace, and here we are writing about it again, why? There are a couple of reasons why we thought a follow-up needed to be written:

-The review was our most popular article and we want to give our readers more of what they like. It's all about you guys here at Negau, so we'll keep writing about the articles you enjoy.

-There has also been a lot of debate about violence in society following the George Zimmerman trial, our coverage of which can be found here and here, with opinions from my blog partner Alina here. The rationality and morality of violence are considered throughout War and Peace. It seemed to us that if people want to know why lives are being taken in the present, they need look no farther than a book describing one of the most bloody periods of history.

Why is War and Peace still relevant today?

War and Peace is a historical novel set during the Napoleonic Wars, for a full plot description see our previous article. The Napoleonic Wars saw countless people killing others and losing their own lives attempting to satisfy the ambitions of powerful individuals, or so the history texts tell us, but was this due to the whims of the social elite or the unavoidable instincts of the masses? Answers to questions such as these would help us to understand why members of one social/racial/political group kill people who they see as belonging to the 'other'.

What are Tolstoy's views on war in War and Peace?

Tolstoy does not present war in the same way as conventional histories or historical novels. His view of war and human violence is that it is the product of irresistible movements by the masses, one group of people moves in one direction and if another group opposes that movement violence results. Tolstoy uses the Napoleonic invasion of Russia as an example of this. The people of the West (Napoleon's armies) were driven eastwards by an unknown force acting upon their collective subconscious, and at first the people of the East (the Russian Tsar's armies) gave way before them. Later, however, the people of the West grew fatigued, lost the desire to move eastwards which had motivated them and the people of the East turned to oppose the West's advance. At this point bloody conflicts resulted and the tables were turned, with both the people of the East and West advancing towards Western Europe at a frantic pace.


George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, racial tension in the US

Tolstoy's views in War and Peace go some way towards explaining the violence taking place in the US this past year. The actions of George Zimmerman in 2012, when he fatally shot African American teenager Trayvon Martin, could be explained by this shared subconscious and mass-movements theory. The US is a country with a history mired by racial segregation and discrimination. There is still a large amount of underlying racial tension in US society to this day. Trayvon Martin was shot under unknown circumstances while walking through a gated community where he was staying. In recent years, due to reductions in racial segregation, young African Americans have begun to fill professional roles in the US economy. As a result of this, the numbers of African Americans living in communities such as the one in question have increased. Twenty, thirty or forty years ago such figures would have been almost non-existent. Therefore, one can say that there have been the beginnings of a mass-movement of African American people to what were previously segregated areas. George Zimmerman's subconscious opposition to this movement (it has been argued that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin) might have motivated the violence which took Trayvon's life.


The truth is that nobody will ever know what really happened on the night when Trayvon Martin was killed. Only one person survived the encounter and he has every reason to lie, while we have no way of knowing whether he is telling the truth. It is therefore important that we focus on understanding the underlying issues rather than the isolated incidents which they produce. War and Peace is a fantastic book for fans of history or literature, but also an important work to read in attempting to understand the world better.

Joe Malpas

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man, super rich playboy Tony stark, Marvel super hero. His story summed up in three movies, each easy and fun to watch. Now, while most films that put out sequel after sequel, each progressively worse than the next. Iron man breaks this trend. The third film managed to be much better than the second in my eyes, especially as it wasn't a crappy attempt to fill in a story with an inane plot. In fact, it was funny, engaging and a good end to the set.

To summarise without ruining a perfectly good film, this final movie doesn't skimp out on the emotional or psychological aspects, but has all the awesome action we expect and love. This may sound a bit odd, why do we need to know so much about this? But this managed to convey so much more than just "Oh no, its so hard being Iron Man!!". While i so desperately wished to dislike it, I found myself chatting and enthusing about all the funny moments,  it's really worth a watch.

Is There An Iron Man 3 Game?

There is an Iron Man 3 game for Android and Google Play. This is the official Iron Man 3 game, and has received almost entirely positive reviews. The game is in fact set after the events of the Iron Man 3 film, when Tony Stark has become a peacekeeper figure. One of the best-looking features of the Iron Man 3 game is the Stark Industries element. This involves researching and developing suits from the Iron Man films. You can use suits such as the Mark II, Mark 42 and Silver Centurion, which sounds pretty awesome to us!

Download the game here: Iron Man 3 Official Game

What Is The Iron Man 3 Soundtrack?

Several Iron Man 3 soundtracks feature in the film. Most memorable for us was 'Blue (Da Ba Dee)' by Eiffel 65. Blue (Da Ba Dee) plays at the beginning of the film as Tony Stark (Iron Man) attends a New Year's Eve party in 1999 Switzerland. Since watching the Iron Man 3 film, we have downloaded Blue (Da Ba Dee) from iTunes and found it to be a great track to listen to. Other Iron Man 3 Soundtracks: 'Mambo No. 5' by Lou Bega, 'Jingle Bells' by James Pierpont, 'Santa Claus Is Back In Town' by Dwight Yoakam, and others (see below for download link).

Download Iron Man 3 soundtracks by following these links: Blue (Da Ba Dee), Iron Man 3 Soundtrack

Are There Any Good Iron Man 3 Quotes?

There are some really great quotes in the Iron Man 3 film. In fact, you could probably just recite the entire film as one great quote! We've had to leave some out but here's a list of what we think are the best quotes from Iron Man 3:

-The Mandarin, "I'm gonna offer you a choice: do you want an empty life, or a meaningful death?"

-Aldrich Killian, "The early bird gets the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese."

-Tony Stark, "A wise man once said: we make our own demons."

-Hogan, "When I told people I was Iron Man's bodyguard, they laughed at me! I had to quit to save whatever dignity I had left!"

-The Mandarin, "Chinese fortune cookies. They look Chinese. They sound Chinese. But they're actually American. which is why they're hollow, full of lies, and leave a bad taste in the mouth."

Alina and Joe (Happily watching films to tell you what we think!)

Other articles you might enjoy: What not to do on the tubeWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing OnlineThe US gun laws debateGTA 5The Great GatsbyNCIS news and reviewTrayvon Martin caseBritish SummerGeorge Zimmerman verdictRome 2

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin - Opinion

Frankly, I'm shocked. Maybe I'm missing the facts, but as a strong believer that guns are dangerous, it seems to me that this incident could set precedent for others.
What's to stop others from shooting someone's child, frankly 17 is still a child, and claiming that they were attacked or threatened. I've read little to suggest that Trayvon Martin actually attacked or threatened George Zimmerman other than a statement from the shooter himself.
Does this mean that others will use this case to try and get off Scot free on what they may claim was the same situation?
Now I understand that there's an idea of guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. An that people may be hesitant about sending someone to prison without being sure.
Now, say that the incident had happened inside the house, or even at the front door. I could see some threat. But shooting an unarmed kid? 'Black' or not. Regardless of race, it's unacceptable.
Living in the UK, where guns are so heavily restricted that I've never even seen one, it scares me.
For killing a child, for taking any life without serious proof of innocence, I think that he should have been jailed, for manslaughter if not murder.
Tell me what you think? Have I missed some vital information living so far away?

Rome 2 Total War - News

Rome 2 Total War Release

The latest game in the Total War series, Rome 2 Total War is going to be released this September 2013. The game is already available for pre-order on Steam for £29.99 ($45). Rome 2 is the sequel to Rome Total War, which was the Total War series' first release.

Rome 2 Total War News

The most recent Rome 2 update from the Total War team is the release of an online Rome 2 Total War interactive campaign map. This map gives users to ability to plan their Rome 2 campaign in advance. The Rome 2 Total War map itself is pictured below. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what the game will be like, but we'll include a description underneath.
Rome 2 Total War Campaign Map

The Rome 2 Total War interactive campaign map is essentially a map of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Territories are marked in as they would have appeared during the beginning of Roman expansion. Regions belonging to the main playable factions in Rome 2 are highlighted, as are those of other available factions (playable via updates or expansion packs). By exploring the Rome 2 interactive map you can discover who the factions are, what relations they have with other factions, what their available resources are and which mercenaries they can recruit. You can also plan a campaign by choosing a faction which you would like to play, selecting regions which you envision conquering and anticipating other factions' reactions to your territorial expansion.

You can find the Rome 2 Total War interactive campaign map here.

Our Favourite Total War Game - Napoleon Total War

Our favourite total war game has to be Napoleon Total War, a must-have game for any fans or readers of War and Peace. Conquering Europe to the sound of thunderous fire from cannon batteries or holding the line under the Union Flag as you hold back Napoleon's armies, everything about the game is true to Napoleonic period warfare. It is a game filled with excitement and history that will test any Total War gamer's tactical abilities.

Joe Malpas

Other articles you might enjoy: What not to do on the tubeWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing OnlineThe US gun laws debateGTA 5The Great GatsbyNCIS news and reviewTrayvon Martin caseBritish Summer, George Zimmerman verdict

George Zimmerman found Not Guilty for Trayvon Martin Shooting

George Zimmerman verdict

George Zimmerman has been found innocent of all charges relating to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin died last year after being shot by Zimmerman, who claimed he was acting in self-defence. Supporters of George Zimmerman are said to be "ecstatic" with the verdict. The entirely female jury deliberated for a total of 15 hours before announcing their decision that Zimmerman had acted in self-defence.

How has the US public reacted to the verdict?

Protest marches took place overnight in several major US cities. These spontaneous protests were carried out because large numbers of people disagree with the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Fears have been expressed during and after the trial that there might be civil unrest if a 'not guilty' verdict was reached. So far there have been no reports of violence or threats in response to the verdict, but it is yet to be seen whether peaceful protests will escalate.

Why is the George Zimmerman case controversial?

George Zimmerman has been accused of racial profiling. The Trayvon Martin case has also brought up the issue of gun control in the US. Issues of race and the use of guns in the US have therefore come into the public consciousness as a result of this case. President Obama has even likened Trayvon Martin to his own son in a statement made last year. The NAACP, an organisation which fights against racial segregation and discrimination, described the shooting of Trayvon Martin  and subsequent events as "civil rights violations". Zimmerman was acquitted because the jury found him to have acted in self-defence.

What are the Stand Your Ground laws?

Stand Your Ground laws allow people in certain states of the US to defend themselves through the use of deadly force. Deadly force may include an action (such as shooting) which endangers or takes a person's life. This deadly force is allowed when the person defending themself fears for their life. Self-defence with a weapon may, therefore, be carried out rather than running away from an attacker. At least 33 US states allow the use of deadly force in self-defence. 

Our opinion on the George Zimmerman verdict? 

The Stand Your Ground laws encourage people to fight rather than run away from attackers. This standpoint is not too hard to understand, but the term 'fears for their life' is problematic. This wording leaves the decision of whether their life is in danger in the hands of the would-be victim. It has been argued that this allows people to shoot first at others who appear to be a threat and ask questions later. In the US, African Americans can be profiled and seen as a threat because some people think that they are more likely to be criminals. Therefore, they might be shot by someone who believes they are acting in self-defence when their was no threat. In such cases, as may have happened in the trial of George Zimmerman, the shooter can be acquitted for killing an innocent person. The Stand Your Ground laws complicate the underlying racial issues in US society.

Other articles you might enjoy: What not to do on the tubeWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing OnlineThe US gun laws debateGTA 5The Great GatsbyNCIS news and reviewTrayvon Martin case, British Summer

Joe Malpas

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Great British Summer

The British Summer continues this weekend, and Negau will be posting blogs from Brighton Beach!

SPF 30 sun screen might be an overreaction to the mild British sun, but looking at the multitude of pallid torsos and sunburnt necks surrounding us we thought it would be best to play it safe. 

Each year, as the sun emerges from behind a screen of clouds floating above Britain, thousands of people pack themselves into trains heading for the nearest stretch of coastline. This mass-exodus, similar in execution to the WWII evacuations, is preceded by a desperate search for beach worthy clothing. Bikinis and swimming trunks are pulled out from the hidden depths of cupboards, sun screen hastily purchased and sunglasses retrieved from the car glove-box after a frantic search. 

A steady stream of people in their thousands then pours into major coastal towns like Brighton, overwhelming ticket offices and filling entire trains. Tickets therefore become obsolete, as new ones cannot be dispensed and ticket inspectors are barely able to force their way through a single carriage of sun seekers. 

The transport staff at the other end have no more luck in controlling the mass migration of Britons. Stepping out of the train station at their coastal paradise of choice, they begin to gradually remove items of clothing before reaching the beach itself. 

The end result of this panicked, traumatic process? I'm experiencing it right now. Thousands of people surround me on a stretch of pebbled beach on the Brighton shore. Backs, legs, arms and any other area deemed to be requiring a tan are all bared before my eyes. Caught between a dazzlingly bright sun and the even brighter orange beach towel on which I sit I have no choice but to let my eyes wander from one person to the next. This is not, however, a sustainable activity and eventually a choice has to be made. The choice is simple but the decision can be influenced by any number of factors... Do I swim?

Do I swim? An exhilarating plunge into the clear blue water, following by relaxing in the soothingly cool sea, it sounds ideal. But I am one of the many Britons who didn't find their swimming trunks this year. I am one of those people who dislike salt water. And I am a person who lets things like this influence my decisions. In hindsight, yes I will most likely wish I had plunged in shorts, shirt and all. But right now I want to be dry, warm and clean, firmly settled on my beach towel with one of those ice, sugar and food colouring filled drinks that I wouldn't touch at any other time of the year.

Good luck with the tans!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman Trial News

Link, Zimmerman
Trayvon Martin Shooting Trial News

George Zimmerman's defence has begun closing arguments in the trial over the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Claiming that he shot Trayvon in self defence, Zimmerman has denied charges of murder. The trial will see a decision made by a jury of six female jurors as to whether George Zimmerman should be jailed for murder, manslaughter or found not guilty and acquitted. There is a possibility that if Zimmerman is released there will be large-scale protests or civil unrest in Florida. There were peaceful protests across the US last year in response to Trayvon Martin's shooting. The jury will begin deliberating later today, Friday 12th July.

Who is George Zimmerman?

George Zimmerman is a Florida, USA resident and a member of his local neighbourhood watch. He is now on trial in the US in relation to his shooting of an unarmed African American teenager in 2012. This shooting was supposedly motivated by Trayvon Martin's race. George Zimmerman is accused of 'profiling' Trayvon. If Trayvon was profiled then George Zimmerman could be found guilty of murder or manslaughter. Profiling is a term used to describe when one person make assumptions about another based on their appearance or behaviour.

Why is the Trayvon Martin Shooting so Controversial?

The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is controversial due to the involvement of two divisive issues, race and guns. The US gun laws debate concerns the possession, carrying and use of guns in the US. Issues of race and hate crime have made the Trayvon Martin shooting controversial as it is argued by some that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon because the latter was African American. Race and race-related hate crimes are hot topics of debate in the US partly due to the disparity between the wealth of white Americans and African Americans.
Link, Martin

Joe Malpas