Darkness Descending: A Novel of World War - And Magic


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Author: Turtledove, Harry

Edition: First Edition

Number Of Pages: 512

EAN: 9780312869151

Release Date: 01-04-2000

Languages: English

Item Condition: UsedGood

Binding: Hardcover

Details: Product Description Now Turtledove returns to the story of a World War in a world where magic works, with this moving second volume. Algarvian soldiers corral Kaunians to send them west, towards Unkerlant, to work camps. The Kaunians left behind are worried about what the work camps might mean, but are assauged by Algarvian lies. In Kuusamo, scholars race to find the relation between the laws of similarity and contagion. Rumors abound about the Algarvian work camps, rumors most cannot believe as true. But the mages know, for they can feel the loss of life in their very souls. Turtledove's cast of characters takes on its own life as the reader sees the war from all sides and understands how the death and destruction benefits no one, not even the victors. From Amazon In recent years, Harry Turtledove has specialized in alternate-history novels in which World War II, say, is grimly complicated by the arrival of invading alien reptiloids; the fantasy sequence that started with Into the Darkness and continues with Darkness Descendingis a powerful demonstration that it is human malice, not military technology, that we have to fear. Broadly speaking, the sequence replays World War II with magical fantasy empires in place of the participants we know; there are analogies between the fiercely militarist kingdom of Algarve and the Third Reich, just as the dangerous paranoid who rules the rival empire of Unkerlant has much in common with Joseph Stalin. There is a Manhattan project making military use of the underlying rules of magic, a particularly vicious version of the Holocaust, and a large cast of vividly realized viewpoint characters--Unkerlant's principal general, an Algarvian dragon pilot, various confused civilians--caught in the wheels of history. Turtledove provides some worryingly thoughtful material here about power and its consequences; his bleak use of stock fantasy images in a developed military contex--screaming unicorns caught in firestorms--is coarse-grained but unforgettable. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk From Publishers Weekly Trust Turtledove to deliver plenty of grungy military action spiked with dollops of sex and a keen and accurate depiction of the realties of warfare. The sequel to his alternate history Into the Darkness is anything but easy going. Based on the horrors of the Eastern Front, where the Soviet Red Army fought to repel the Nazi invasion, the novel suffers from Turtledove's tendency to use names of one ethnic flavor to represent analogous characters of a totally different national group. For example, the Algarvians, the militant aggressors who closely resemble Nazis, bear Italian-sounding names and fight under a red, green and white flag. Given that there are 12 nations involved in this mortal conflict, and a cast of approximately 150 characters, this gets incredibly frustrating, especially since Turtledove abruptly shifts from site to site and employs magic in place of mid-20th-century technology (dragons as fighter aircraft, leviathans as submarines). When the Algarvians round up helpless Kaunians into "victory camps" where they will eventually be slaughtered for the vital energy needed to smite the Soviet-style enemies, the Unkerlanters, these foes retaliate by massacring their own peasantry to draw more energy themselves. This barbaric ante-raising causes the civilized, British-like Lagoans to observe that everyone involved will develop ever-increasing monsterlike strength before this world war comes to an end. Turtledove personalizes the conflict through 15 "viewpoint characters"(so-called in his extensive Dramatis Personae), including the gallant Algarvian dragonflier Colonel Sabrino; the elegant, conniving Kresta; and young lovers Vanai, a hunted Kaunian, and Ealstan, a decent bookkeeper. Everyone is brought to the brink of a Pearl Harbor-like entry by a slow-to-activate world power, leaving all--including Turtledove's readers--to slog through a lot more territory in likely future

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