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Darkness Descending [Paperback]

Harry Turtledove
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 April 2000
The country of Algarve is successful in its blitzkrieg tactics, but becomes bogged down in the desolate winter of Unkerlant, its main enemy. Algarve's king decides to undertake blood magic, which amounts to genocide, in order to break the deadlock.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Earthlight; 1st printing edition (3 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684858274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684858272
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,658,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart; The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In recent years, Harry Turtledove has specialised in alternate-history novels in which World War Two, say, is grimly complicated by the arrival of invading alien reptiloids; the fantasy sequence that started with Into the Darkness and continues with Darkness Descending is a powerful demonstration that it is human malice, not military technology, which we have to fear. Broadly speaking, the sequence replays World War Two 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, and a particularly vicious version of the Holocaust, and a large cast of vividly realised 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 context--screaming unicorns caught in firestorms--is coarse-grained, but unforgettable.--Roz Kaveney


"Tutledove is almost certainly unique in reconceiving World Ward II in magical fantasy terms and on an immense scale--so far, completely successfully."--"Booklist "(starred review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Episode II of a fantasy World War Two 23 July 2006
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
"Darkness Descending" is the second part of Harry Turtledove's reworking of the World War Two story set on a planet where technology is based on magic rather than machines.

Dragon riders replace aircraft, Behemoths replace tanks, East and West have been transposed, Eurasia has been moved to the Southern hemisphere so that Scandinavia becomes equatorial, and names and superficial national characteristics have all been changed. But this is real history, not alternative history. Again and again the terrible events of the book are based on real historical incidents.

Some of the changes to racial characteristics are impishly amusing, such as the fact that the people who correspond to the Finns live in an equatorial climate and look like Zulus, while the Saraha Desert becomes "the land of the Ice people," the Gyongyosian people who correspond to the Japanese are physically large, and the Kuusamans who correspond to Americans have epicanthic folds.

Other changes are rather more biting - the "Kaunians" who correspond to Jews are tall, blue-eyed, and blonde.

What Turtledove appears to be trying to do with this series is to study how different people responded to a time of great evil. Some people were sucked into taking part in that evil, some fought against it, others just tried to live through it. The changes to the names and characteristics of the participants seem to be intended to give the reader an opportunity to leave behind some of our emotional baggage about the holocaust so that we can try, not to justify the wrongs which people did in terrible times, but to understand how it could have happened.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Second Second World War 25 Jun 2001
As all Harry Turtledove fans know his ability to create new and alarmingly graphical portrails of war in a fantasy word, is nothing short of masterful. This book is no different, continuing the lives of up to 16 characters, the war on mainland Delavai (Europe) continues. Algarve are forced to take up Blood Magic in order to advace into snowy Unkerlant (Russia). Algarves Mages are made to slaughter thousands of Kaunians in ways depicting the Nazis of Germany. Where as in Unkerlant the king is forced to retaliate with the murdering of his own peasants. As This goes on one of the outer-islands, Kuusamo, are forced into war and their top Theoretical mages undertake something resembling the Manhattan Project. Will This be the end?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still an excellent read 8 Jan 2004
By humanitysdarkerside VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Turtledove's third installment in the series is still excellent. I still have the feeling of being in WWII.
Ealstan and Vanai are still on the loose. Vanai discovers a magic that changes her looks from Kanaian to a more acceptable look.
Unkerlant are still resisting Algarve, though things look bleaker for them. Lagoa discover a magical weapon they can use. Underground movements are still active, though betrayal threatens.
The story still moves from one place to another and one has to keep tongue in cheek.
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