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Books: Leisure reading

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'Rise to Rebellion'

By Jeff Shaara

Ballantine, $26.95

At a time when historian David McCullough has produced an eloquent biography of John Adams, finally assuring the former president a proper place in history, novelist Jeff Shaara, known for his best-selling historical novels, has produced one about the American Revolution. Using major events as background for his fiction, Shaara prominently portrays John Adams with similar adoration.

Shaara is different from most historical novelists in that he uses the real characters as his major ones, researches the history and fills in unknown details with his fictional flair. As he re-creates such famous events as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battles of Concord and Bunker Hill, he pays homage to Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and others as bonafide American heroes. If you like historical fiction, chances are good you will become immersed in this one. — Dennis Lythgoe


'Tales of a Female Nomad'

By Rita Golden Gelman

Crown, $23

A well-known author of children's books has turned into a nomad, wandering freely around the world, making new friends everywhere she goes. In this intriguing book, she chronicles some of her travels, including to Borneo, Mexico, Bali, New Guinea, Israel, Nicaragua, Thailand and New Zealand.

Not being independently wealthy, she has had to extend herself to make friends who will offer her a place to stay. She has slept in hotels, huts, sleeping platforms, cement block houses, mountain cabins and small bungalows.

She even lived for four years in a palace in Bali.

In the process, she has absorbed the cultures of the places she has visited and written her insightful impressions. She has had interesting adventures, learned how to appreciate and cook a great diversity of foods and made friends with a variety of people who speak different languages. This makes her a true woman of the world — and she is certainly not shy. — Dennis Lythgoe


'Mutant'

By Peter Clement

Ballantine, $19.95

Billed as "a medical thriller," this book is written by an emergency-room physician from a major metropolitan hospital who applies his own experiences to his fiction. The major character is Richard Steele, a physician who has a near fatal heart attack in his own hospital. As he tries to divert his interests, he becomes involved in anti-bioengineering, disease-resistant super crops and other scientific achievements that lead to trouble.

In the process of his research, he is caught up in murder and violence intertwined with altered strains of DNA that produce a deadly weapon of mass destruction. — Dennis Lythgoe