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The Drawing of the Dark (Del Rey Impact) Paperback – November 16, 1999
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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."
--JAMES P. BLAYLOCK
"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
Top customer reviews
This novel includes mythology I didn't expect woven with tales I already knew. It took them somewhere I didn't expect and made it all sorta plausable for something that took place several hundred years ago, if you can believe that maybe some mythology is a little more history than tall tales. Highly enjoyable. Good for beer aficionados.
Next stop for me will be The Anubis Gates, the novel that first brought the name Tim Powers to my attention.
Powers utilizes ancient western culture myths and the greatest confrontation between Christian Europe and Muslim Middle East in history, Suleiman's siege of Vienna, as the conflict and setting for the story.
The dialog is largely in modern style, but Powers' use of historical detail might appeal to fans of historical fiction, as long as one is not a stickler for complete accuracy.
The combination of history, mystery and fantasy makes for an appealing, engrossing story. Overall, this novel is a fun read, and a good escape from the mundane.
This book has a single first-person POV character and the usual fantastical elements set within our own unsuspecting world. It moves along a reasonable clip and has that blend of action and humor found in his better books, but the fantastical element here was less compelling for me than in the three cited above (or even On Stranger Tides or Three Days to Never), and the tension was lower too.
The good news is that the author has considerable variety within his novels. I look forward to reading more and hopefully finding more that hit the mark with me.
Most recent customer reviews
Bad story line, poorly written and generally grade schoolish. Kept hoping it would improve, but no such luck.