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The Drawing of the Dark (Del Rey Impact) Paperback – November 16, 1999

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Product Details

  • Series: Del Rey Impact
  • Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1 Reprint edition (November 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345430816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345430816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Del Rey's Impact line introduces a list of titles that have "slipped through the cracks and become buried treasure." The re-release of Tim Powers's The Drawing of the Dark (first published in 1979) is indeed worthy of the imprint. It was his third novel and first foray into the fantasy genre.

It is the year 1529 and Brian Duffy, a soldier of fortune, finds himself in Venice. A late-night confrontation with three brothers over a matter of honor convinces Brian to find greener pastures. After a chance meeting with an old monk named Aurelainus, Brian finds himself hired on to be the bouncer at the famous Herzwesten brewery and inn (formerly a monastery) located in Vienna. During Brian's voyage from Venice to Vienna, he crosses the Dolomite Mountains, only to meet assassins who attack him. Dwarves and creatures Brian knew only from mythology assist him in vanquishing his attackers.

The mythical Fisher King is a central character in The Drawing of the Dark, and cameos by the Roman god Bacchus, the Lady of the Lake, reincarnations of King Arthur and Sigmund from Norse mythology, Merlin, and hosts of soldiers, including Vikings and Swiss mercenaries, add to the otherworldly feel. The legendary heroes are allied against legions of soldiers from the Turkish Ottoman Empire under Suleiman and his wizard Ibrahim, who try to repeat the successes of their 1521 and 1526 invasions of eastern Europe by laying siege to Vienna. But just what is their objective? The city or the beer?

Tim Powers does a great job of tying the historical invasion of eastern Europe by the Turks to a rollicking, fun-filled fantasy, which offers its own reasons for the invasion and a wonderful cast of heroes that ultimately repel the invaders. This is a must-read for Tim Powers fans and for readers who have yet to delve into his rich, wonderful worlds. --Robert Gately


"The Drawing of the Dark is not only one of my favorite Tim Powers novels, it's simply one of my favorite novels. The seamless and seemingly effortless blend of action and humor, the wonderful characters, the rich settings, the brilliant plot--all of it is perfect."

"Tim Powers does it right! Combining the best of mythology and real history, he takes you on a rollicking magical adventure that is both tense and hilarious. You won't read a more plausible explanation for Western Civilization, or one that's half so much fun. So raise your glass to The Drawing of the Dark."

"I stand in awe of Tim Powers's recent work, but I must confess my secret love for The Drawing of the Dark.  Powers was one of the first to put fantasy back in the city where it belongs! If you're sick of endless quests through murky woods and lonely mountains, this is the place to start."
   Author of Swordspoint

"Tim Powers is like no other. Tim Powers is granite where others are shale. Tim Powers chuckles like a river at night. Tim Powers is like a butterfly hovering at the pin, ruminating, eyebrow cocked, over the dancing angels. Tim Powers is not like any other, now and far into tomorrow."
   Editor of Tomorrow

Customer Reviews

Tim Powers is the master of this sub-genre of Fantasy/Science Fiction.
John Gary Pullen
Way too much graphic violence (for my taste), and a lot of it just didn't seem necessary except that it held to the story line and history of that time period.
Tim Powers is a marvelously gifted writer, whose stories blend real history with incredibly ingenious fantasy.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Moore on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Brian Duffy is just your average work-a-day soldier for hire when he is pulled into a plot involving forgotten heroes, strange magic, and bizarre creatures. Encountering monsters straight out of legend and meeting up with some guy named The Fisher King, Duffy slowly learns that his past stretches much further back than he realizes.
In typical Tim Powers style, the plot of this late Renaissance fantasy begins with threads of story weaving in all directions, and resolves at last by the end of the book. Powers works in the invading armies of Islam, King Arthur, a mystical brewery in Vienna, Vikings, and more in this fantastic yarn.
I enjoyed this book overall, but it wasn't Mr. Powers's best (which can be forgiven, seeing as it was his first book). The plot moved a bit slowly at times, and the ending seemed a tad rushed. But overall, this was an enjoyable read and very funny. Great for taking a break between other, more "serious" fantasies.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Addison Phillips on July 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Here's an unheralded classic, returned to print after a decade on the shelf, which is simply one of the more marvelous fantasies out there. I was simply spellbound by this book.
A brief description of this novel tends to emphasize what's not important about this novel. There are several important things here that make this a delight.
First, simply, are the characters. Brightly drawn and lovable, be they knaves or heroes. The texture and dialog do not (as many fantasy novels do) evoke modern Americans, even though there is no dialect used.
Second is the feel for medieval Europe, history, and realism (in what is a rather fanciful novel). Although this novel features such things as dwarves, dervishes, King Arthur, Merlin, Excaliber, the Fisher King, Norse gods, etc., the sheer realism of the novel never is pierced.
Third is the delight that infuses the whole work. Why the title alone is at least triple entendre, if not quadruple. I mean: how can you dislike a work who's central premise is that Western civilization is based in no small part on quality beer?
So by now it is obvious that I love this book. If you like books such as Silverlock or Brunner's Traveller in Black, I think you'll be enchanted by this gem.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Berman on April 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Though not the first work of fiction I have ever read by Tim Powers, THE DRAWING OF THE DARK remains one of my most favorite of his novels. I could not believe how he managed to breathe life into a tired cliche (I cannot say more without spoiling the book). Along the way he gives us very human characters that endear themselves to the readers while not scrimping on the magic and mayhem (some very chilling moments). History blended with wonder and brewed long and dark until one cannot help but finish the book, drain the glass, and sigh contentedly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dark Mechanicus JSG on November 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
It is 1529, and the West is in turmoil. The vast armies of the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent have swept north from Constantinople, and threaten to breach the very gates of Vienna and overrun Europe.

Even in Venice the winds of war and carnage and death and madness sweep over the canals and around and about the spires, clattering their razor-sharp claws against the shutters, seeking entry: an itinerant Irish swordsman, Brian Duffy, is accosted and nearly skewered by three thugs on a Venetian sidestreet.

Being in a good mood, he merely knocks the ruffians off into one of the canals. Being lucky, he gets hired for a decidedly offbeat gig.

His new employer: the shadowy Aurelianus, who favors cryptic instructions, keeps his shutters closed tight, and likes to smoke dried-out snake cigars. The gig? Travel posthaste to Vienna to work as hired muscle for The Zimmermann Inn, an---erm, *investment* of Aurelianus's, and the maker of the Hezwesten Bock, the finest beer in Europe.

Did someone say Beer? I'm in---and so is Duffy, with one small caveat: he's gotta be there---up over the Alps, cross the Sava and the Dava, follow the Danube to the City---by Easter.

So---with old loose ends to be tied up in Vienna, stung with the memory of his own inglorious role in a campaign against the Turks on the fields of Mohacs years before, and with the promise of some jingle-jangle in his purse, Brian Duffy squares his gear, polishes his rapier, and heads out.

But what's with this shadowy Aurelianus guy hiring muscle for a hefty premium---in Venice? What's with the bizarre, frightening visions Duffy is starting to see?---cloven footed, goaty barkeeps, gnomes skulking in the Vienna Woods, monsters haunting the craggy passes of the Alps?
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jaq Greenspon on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's so good to see this book back in print. When I first got hold of it, I was amazed as to how good it was. Over the years I've had cause to re-read it a number of times and each time I find something new.

Powers skillfully leads his readers on a grand adventure, while at the same time, keeping everything light and fun and easy to read. By the time you've breezed through to the end, you realize he's slipped in a whole boatload of allegorical messages about dealing with parents, following your dreams and not always seeing what you believe.

And then there's the beer. Only someone of Powers' ability can make drinking beer an integral part of the Arthurian mythos.

I'll raise a toast to that!
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