The Tortoise Website

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Click on image to go to Author website. "THE RACE IS NOT TO THE SWIFT." Eccl. 9:11

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


The Tortoise is pleased to announce the publication of Practical Russian Reader Vol.1 by Tamara Moreton.

Practical Russian Reader is designed as both a reader and a workbook for Intermediate students of Russian. It contains sixteen short stories chosen for their interest and entertainment value as well aids to language learning.

Each story has been supplied with a variety of questions and exercises designed to enhance understanding of grammar points and to help in the acquisition of vocabulary.

A comprehensive vocabulary to each story has been supplied to enable the conscientious student to obtain an understanding of the gist of each story.
Some question keys have been supplied to clarify certain expressions, but as this is not meant to be a parallel text, full translation has not been provided except in the vocabulary lists.

It is the heartfelt wish of the author/editor that Practical Russian Reader will provide students of Russian with an interesting and informative reading experience as they come to grips with learning this fascinating and important language.

Practical Russian Reader can be used as a teaching manual in a classroom situation or by Intermediate students working on their own.

Practical Russian Reader is available in the US from the following Link:

Practical Russian Reader is available in the UK via Paypal at the following link:

Tamara Moreton is also the author of How English Pronouns Made Friends with Russian Pronouns

Available in the US from the following link:

Available in the UK via Paypal from the following link:

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Review of The Book Traveller by Alan Moreton

Amazon Four Star Review by Top Reviewer Angela Wolf  “Bookangel”

Retired avid reader Thomas buys a chair from a mysterious bookshop (antique shop) owner. He discovers that the chair will transport him into the books he is reading. He becomes one of the main characters in several classic works.

As he reads different books he reflects on his life and tells his life story. (From the books he chooses, the reader can guess the way his life story is going to end.)

On top of that, there is a minor plot line involving his dog Sky. Sky can understand humans and communicate with some of them. He even follows his master into some of the novels. Additionally, he and a rival dog compete for the affections of his 'lady love.'

There is a lot happening in this book. Yet in spite of its length, I found it to be a surprisingly quick read. In some places it reads like a memoir and I'm wondering if it is slightly autobiographical.

This book was an entertaining read, and I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy getting lost in a good book.

Comment by Angela Wolf after re-editing and republishing The Book Traveller:

Hello Mr. Moreton - thank you for stopping by to comment on my review! I really enjoyed the book and found it very entertaining. I was very hesitant to mention anything negative about the book at all, but I felt it was best to be completely honest. In light of your changes to the book, I will edit my review. It's a book I would be proud to have written. Thank you...Angela

Monday, 20 February 2012

Top Ten Most Expensive Books In The World

#1 - The Codex Leicester ($30,800,000)

A collection of scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci, the Codex Leicester is officially the most expensive book ever sold. Purchased in a 1994 auction for $30.8 million by billionaire Bill Gates, the book is put on display in a different city every year.

#2 - The Gospels of Henry the Lion ($12,400,000)

Produced in the late 12th century (between 1175 - 1188) for Henry the Lion at the Benedictine Helmarshausen Abbey in Germany, the 266-page manuscript is considered a masterpiece of Romanesque book illumination of the time. It was bought by a German national group at a Sotheby's auction in 1983 for $12.4 million.

#3 - The Birds of America ($8,800,000)

First published in the early 19th century by painter and naturalist John James Audubon, The Birds of America is a series of life sized paintings of various birds and is often referred to as the greatest picture book ever made. In 2000 an original print copy sold at Christie's for $8.8 million, making it the most expensive printed book ever sold.

#4 - The Canterbury Tales ($7,000,000)

Coming in at fourth on the list of most expensive books ever sold is The Canterbury Tales written by English author Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. It is made up of a collection of short stories that paints a critical portrait of the Church and English society at the time.

#5 - First Folio: Comedies, Histories and Tragedies ($6,000,000)

Published in 1623 a few years after Shakespeare's death, 'Comedies, Histories and Tragedies' is a collection of almost all of the great writer's known plays. Often referred to as the First Folio, it is the only reliable source available for 20 of Shakespeare's plays. It became one of the most expensive books in the world when a copy was sold at auction in New York for just over $6 million in 2001.

#6 - The Northumberland Bestiary ($5,850,000)

A 13th century English manuscript, the Northumberland Bestiary is a collection of ink drawings of both real and imaginary animals, depicting moral stories and proverbs. It was bought at auction by a private collector in 1990 for close to $6 million, though it has recently been made available for display to the Getty museum.

#7 - The Gutenberg Bible ($5,400,000)

The Gutenberg Bible marked the new era of the movable type printing press developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s. Lauded for its artistic qualities, only 21 complete copies survive in the world today. Many argue that they are the most valuable books in the world, though they only come in at number 6 on our list after a $5.4 million sale in for an incomplete copy in 1987 (a complete copy hasn't sold since a $2.5 million sale in 1978).

#8 - Traité des Arbres Fruitiers ($4,500,000)

Literally translating to 'Treatise on Fruit Trees', this French manuscript is a collection of writings and illustrations compiled by Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau in the mid 18th century. Detailing a variety of species of fruit trees, it was recently sold for $4.5 million in 2006.

#9 - Ptolemy's Geographia ($4,200,000)

Also known as the Geography, Cosmographia or Geographike Hyphegesis, Geographia is one of Ptolemy's main works, produced in the 2nd century and detailing what was known about the world's geography at the time. Basically the first atlas ever made, Ptolemy's Geographia fetched a cool $4.2 million in a sale in 2006.

#10 - Mozart’s 9 Symphonies Manuscript ($4,100,000)

Closing out our list of the ten most expensive books ever sold might not be classed as a book by some, but a collection of 9 of the great composer's symphonies, autographed by Mozart himself, sold for a little over $4 million back in 1990.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Thorough Edit of The Book Traveller

I spent the last six working days in editing The Book Traveller.
I want to thank the following reviewers for their invaluable criticism of The Book Traveller, which has prompted me to a thorough edit as a result of their comments.
Thank you to Mary Spencer, who contacted me via my website and Angela Wolf on, who both enjoyed my story, but pointed out some technical errors.
All my existing books will now be thoroughly edited and all new ones will be thoroughly edited before release to provide an error-free read to my growing band of readers.
I extend my apologies to those comparatively few readers who received or downloaded my books with typographical errors or corrupted text. These have now been eliminated from The Book Traveller and it has now been re-published.
If any typos are detected I should be grateful if you would contact me using the contact form on my website.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Review of Strange Tales of the Curiously Uncommon by Andrew Biss

Strange Tales of the Curiously Uncommon byAndrew Biss is another batch of brilliantly witty stories in the tradition of Roald Dahl in Tales of the Unexpected.

There is not a dud among these five stories. Andrew Biss has certainly got into his stride and shows that he has mastered his art of surprising us in these expertly crafted stories.

In An Honest Mistake, Madge, the put upon wife of an obnoxious, verbally abusive husband, is a bit forgetful and mixes up a couple of jars while preparing his dinner with the inevitable result. Her blithe acceptance of her mistake makes this story both dark and amusing.

With superb psychological penetration Andrew Biss has created in Madge a living, breathing woman with whom it is easy to empathise, while at the same time being horrified at her cynical, if understandable, attitude.

In A Familiar Face, Eydie’s friend, Dora, has just buried her husband after 42 years of marriage. Eydie envied her friend her long and loving marriage. Or was it? Was Albert a philanderer who kept it secret from his wife all those years? Or was his secret something much more sinister? Or is it all a huge mistake? The jar that Dora finds under the stairs seems to reveal the truth. Or does it?

In a Slip of the Tongue, Miss Perkins is being sexually harassed by her employer. His dexterous use of the English language is open to interpretation until he makes a Slip of the Tongue too far. This is an amusing and disturbing story in which poetic justice is given full play.

An Embarrassing Odour is such a skilfully written story that Andrew Biss had me completely fooled by the outcome. I was convinced I knew the answer to the embarrassing odour halfway through the story but the humorous twist in the tale came as a complete surprise.

Ethel is a smelly old woman of seventy eight, or is she? Andrew Biss will keep you guessing right to the end in this extremely accomplished story from the pen of a master short story writer.

In A Stunning Confession Ron tells his wife Janice that he is not the father of their son, Craig, but how can that be possible? And how does Francesca, another woman, come into the picture? The answer is not what you expect in this skilfully contrived story.

Overall, it is difficult to find anything to criticise in this excellent collection, except the use of a few swear words and the odd blasphemy and the use of English slang, but these are in keeping with the nature of the characters that Andrew Biss has created and is in keeping with his style of narration.

Andrew Biss, in this superb collection of short stories has quite firmly taken on the mantle of Roald Dahl as a master story teller of the unexpected, and he deserves to be as well-known.

Review of The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates

 The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates is altogether delightful, irresistible, sensual and irrepressibly uplifting. That is what I wrote when I first read it in August 2001, and I feel the same way on a re-read.

This is the first book in The Pop Larkin Chronicles which is full of joie de vivre!

The story is about the Larkin family lustily romping their way through life in the English countryside. They eat and drink to excess enjoying life to the full, with their six children.

Mariette, their eldest, has been doing the naughty with a couple of local lads and she thinks she is pregnant, but is not sure which one of them it could be. She is an absolute stunner at 17. In the Yorkshire TV series she was played to electrifying effect by a young unknown actress by the name of Catherine Zeta Jones, which set all our pulses racing. She later went on to marry Michael Douglas.

In the story, a young naive tax inspector visits Pop Larkin’s farm and tries to induce him to fill out a tax form, but he is seduced, first by the irrepressible Ma and Pop Larkin, (played brilliantly in the T.V. series by David Jason) and their happy-go-lucky lifestyle and then by the obvious charms and beauty of Mariette, who makes him forget all about his job as a tax inspector.

See blurb and pics here:

Nothing less than five shells would do justice to this book. Read it and enjoy.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Review of The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson

In The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson none of the characters are either appealing or likeable.

The Master is a black-hearted villain. The old Lord is weak and shows partiality to his villainous son. The youngest brother is portrayed as semi insane due to thinking he had killed his brother, whom he hated anyway. I found this madness and its cause unconvincing.

McKellor, the family servant, who narrates the story, is a self-righteous prig and an old mother hen.

The wife of the young Lord is a cipher, who marries him for convenience instead of remaining true to the Master.

The story is often confusing, as it discusses future events before apprising us, the reader, of what led up to them. Several times I had to check back to see if I had lost the plot, but I hadn’t. The information I needed to understand what was happening was narrated after the event. I didn’t like this style of narration.

Although the story is titled The Master of Ballantrae, he is off camera most of the story and it is rather about the effect he has on the younger brother, who, as a character is less interesting and a bit irritating. As is McKellor, his dour servant.
I have satisfied my curiosity, as I did with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Nothing I have read of Stevenson matches the incomparable Treasure Island.

Although, I dread reading it again, in case my memory has played me false and my youthful enthusiasm is betrayed by my mature critical faculties!

Perhaps I should allow the nostalgic glow to remain forever green in my memory.

The story of The Master of Ballantrae was interesting in parts and boring in parts, so three and a half shells.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Making A Drama Out A Crisis!

Saturday 10 December 2011

In Luke 21:34 Jesus says: “...take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with (the) cares of this life...”

I find it is so easy for me to be caught up in material concerns and to become worried and anxious about the outcome of events in which I am involved.

At every adverse circumstance the temptation is to react with feelings of gloom and doom as though some great tragedy had occurred. Then to rant and rave, moan and complain until it becomes a big drama in which I am swept up and in which I am forced to involve all my emotions and energies.
Now that I am retired all I really want to do is to write and publish my books. I keep hoping that all the drama surrounding the work I am having done on the house will be over by the end of December, so I can look forward to spending my time on my creative endeavours in 2012.

I would like nothing more than to have a heart that is unburdened by the cares of this life, but just as in politics, it seems that we are driven by events beyond our control.  It is not that Jesus does not expect us to have cares and concerns, but he warns us not to allow them to overwhelm us and distract us from what really matters.  I keep on having to remind myself to step back from events and to get some much needed perspective.  I think this is what Jesus meant.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Testing! Testing!

Friday 10 December 2011

Jesus said: “In patience possess your souls.” Luke 21:19

One of the things I wish for is self-possession; the ability to react to extreme provocation with patience and forbearance.  This is not easy because I am often worn down by continual negative commentary, which is often unrelenting and drives me to distraction.

James says: “...the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work.” James 1:3-4

The only consolation I can take from a difficult situation is that it is designed by God for the purpose of producing mature Christian character. But I often feel that I am only expressing my carnal nature as the worst aspects of my character are brought out in anger, irritation, annoyance, impatience, resentment and wrath.

Proverbs 16:32 says: “He who is a slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

But how is this to be accomplished? Only by continual testing and adjustment it seems!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Doing Business

Thursday 8 December 2011

In the parable of the talents in Luke 19: 11-27 Jesus said: “Do business till I come.” It seems that we are to use the talents, abilities and opportunities we have without allowing the fear of failure to prevent us from taking action.
How often I have been tempted to give up in despair when things have not gone according to plan, but earlier in Luke 18:1 Jesus said “that men ought always to pray and not lose heart.” I suppose He knew that we would be tempted to lose heart and said that prayer is an ever constant resource when we do.
I have often taken calculated risks with varying degrees of success (and failure!) But I do not regret the failures, because I do not regret the fact that I tried.
Now I am trying to gain recognition as a writer and published author and anyone who is a fellow writer knows that in today’s market place despair is an ever present reality! The competition is overwhelming, but the point that Jesus makes is to never give up, to commit it to God in prayer and to be faithful in taking action.
Or as Jesus puts it in verse 17: “ were faithful in a very little...”
Because by doing some little thing every day towards promoting our talents we are “doing business” and being “good servants.”