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Lest Darkness Fall & To Bring the Light [Mass Market Paperback]

L. Sprague de Camp , David Drake
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 1996
When Rome fell, the light of reason flickered out across the Empire. The Dark Ages had begun. Could a man from the 20th century prevent the fall of Rome? When lightning struck, Martin Padway was hurled backward into the sixth century. Like him, her fate was to bring Rome into being. Together, they must strive to bring the light, lest darkness fall.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Reissue edition (1 Aug 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671877364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671877361
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed me 22 Jun 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
For a novel which defined a genre, this was disappointing. The main character is little more than an automaton - transported from the 20th to the 6th century, he expresses little emotion of any kind, and every opportunity for considering the psychological/ physical/ philosophical effects of such an event is missed. Instead, he takes the timeslip as a personal business opportunity, wielding unbelievably detailed political recall of an obscure (and uninteresting) era to set up enterprises - these alone could have been engaging, but the details are scant, the problems of applied technology in ancient Rome rendered trivial and soon brushed aside.He also becomes an accomplished and unconcerned street fighter and master linguist overnight. Detail is an area of missed opportunity in general - names of utterly obscure chieftains are dropped in ad lib, but the day to day detail of food, furnishings,slavery and social habits and all the little gems of the imagined world are neglected, to say nothing of the jarring modern speech idioms.The narrative historical data is ponderous, but central premises - such as the manner of use of the short bladed sword - are lightweight... and wrong. The characters are thinly developed caricatures, the premise is terrific but the plot is boring, and the overall feeling is disappointingly dull for this "classic", which also stops short of the final development, namely the consequence of the time traveller's efforts on recorded history.Lazy and dated novel. Let darkness fall, let's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Worth Revisiting 25 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this classic of time-travel originally published as a short story, academic Martin Padway is jolted back into the waning days of the Roman Empire. He then sets out to prevent the fall of the Roman Empire by introducing various technological innovations and inventions, which culminate to catapult him to a position of high political and military power. Of course since Martin is an academic in a certain field, he manages to have enough classical Latin to muddle along until he learns the Latin of the times. he is also suspiciously adept at figuring out how to remake certain modern tools with the materials at hand, most notably a printing press. And when he needs to be, he becomes remarkably politically subtle and charismatic. Altogether, rather contrived, but fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a light entertainment 25 July 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lightning catapaults archeologist from 1930s America to Rome just before the Dark Ages. With his knowledge (Arabian numerals, distillation, semaphor etc) he is able to make his way and also alter history so that we avoid the Dark ages and civilisation is not held back 1000 years.

Lets not take this all too seriously - the lightning is just a device to set the scene - lets not quibble that lightning will not really send you back in time. We could quibble too about the sort of reception a modern day time traveller might receive in those days - in the main he gets a conveniently easy ride. We can argue too about the ability of one man to influence history - indeed, that is brushed upon in the book.

But this is not an academic treatise with pretensions of historical analysis. Its meant to be a fun tale and it is. That said, the scenarios and history of the time seem fairly accurately described; characters are, although caricatures, amusing; and the writing, although the book was written in the late 1930s, is neither stilted or dated.

This is not great literature - its intended as a bit of fun - read it as such and enjoy.
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