- Mass Market Paperback: 793 pages
- Publisher: St Martin's Press; New edition edition (15 May 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812590090
- ISBN-13: 978-0812590098
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.6 x 16.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,540,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Shadow of Ararat (The oath of the Empire) Mass Market Paperback – 15 May 2000
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"What lies in the shadow of Ararat, that mountain far to the east of Rome? I'll leave that for you to discover, along with the multitude of fascinations in this extraordinary debut." --"Locus" "Vivid, clever, and complex--war and treachery in a Rome where magic works!" --David Drake "Harlan's command of military strategy and tactics is thorough and vividly realized. When Roman and Persian armies clash in these pages, we can feel the dust sting our eyes and the ground shake beneath the rush of cavalry charges...."The Shadow of Ararat" is not only an ambitious debut novel, but a first-rate alternate history by any standard." --"Amazing Stories" "Thomas Harlan takes on the Roman Empire and wins! High and low, male and female, nice and supremely nasty...it's all here in intriguing detail--including swift flashes of humor and a well-grounded feel for everyday life, whether in the bedroom or on the battlefield." --Ellen Kushner
In what would be AD 600 in our history, the Roman Empire still stands, supported by the twin pillars of the Legions and Thaumaturges of Rome. Now the Emperor of the West, the Angustus Galen Atreus, will come to the aid of the Emperor of the East, the Angustus Heraclius.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I agree with a previous reviewer that the motivations driving the major characters were not made apparent. On the other hand, the next time I read a fantasy novel to find out more about the 600 years of bureaucracy behind the setting will be the FIRST time I read a fantasy novel to find out more about the 600 years of bureaucracy behind the setting. :)
This is the author's debut novel, and he'll likely only get better with experience. All in all an enjoyable read, and I'll pick up book two quickly when it comes out.
If you like alternate history/fantasy, military history/fantasy (or both), this is a good book for you to purchase.
Mainly we follow 4 characters (Maxian, Dwyrin, Thyatis and Ahmet), though the story jumps from viewpoint to viewpoint willy-nilly. The characters however are cliched and in general not believable. Maxian - a healer - suddenly turns necromancer without a single moral scrupple (he agonizes a lot over other things, but never about becoming a necromancer). By the end of the book he has become a great sorceror/necromancer, though the book doesn't bother explaining why this is so. Dwyrin is a young mage of no interest in this story - probably a sequel character. Thyatis is a great woman leader - she constantly wonders why her troops follow her - after reading the book, I still wonder (a very unrealistic character). Ahmet is another mage, spending the entire book doing nothing with his magic until the end where he suddenly turns out to be a great sorcerer. There are many more huge gaping holes in the characterization (for all the major characters).
One very irritating habit of the author is to gloss over important events - thus we will read that "they charge" and then shift viewpoint, so we never what happens when they charged (only the result, later). The same thing happens with emotional scenes or dialogues - the story gives the initial dialogue - then the story jumps, and later we get to understand that such and such have become lovers. It's a first novel, so a few of these episodes can be excused, but it's frustating to read (and seems lazy of the author).
As alternate history, the story isn't much good: the reader is given no reason for the world (or why the West Roman Empire survived). The story occasionaly mixes up "historical facts" (unintentionally), though this is not too bad (even Turtledove does that). The worst part is probably Julius Caesar - who is not the least bit credible (the only thing remotely Caesarian about this character is his dalliance with females). I shudder to think what the next book will do to Alexander. All in all, this story might as well have been placed in any standard fantasy world - it certainly has very little resemblance to the real Roman world other than the names and descriptions of clothing (no scene without a description of the clothing - its a little excessive).
So why do I give it 2 stars? Well, the battle scenes are ok (though a bit cinematic) when they don't jump. Some of the plot lines are interesting (though others are downright boring). Having bought this book at a hefty discount, I don't feel too bad about buying it. I didn't buy any of the sequels.
This work is set in approximately 600 CE, and in addition to the Romans, East and West, you will find Persians, Khazars, Celts, and others mixed into epic events. Carrying the plot are a Roman wizard, a Gallic swordswoman, and a cast of thousands.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews