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The Drawing of the Dark (Del Rey Impact) Paperback – November 16, 1999
2016 Book Awards
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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
--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
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.
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.
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 ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favorite Tim Powers book and the first of his that I read, which gave me a lot of incentive to keep reading him. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Captain
Drawing of The Dark, it isn't you, it's me. I just don't like fantasy. Much like beer. Ad this book has way too much of both. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mia
One of my Favorites. Read it carefully, there are nuances worth chasing down.
Tim Powers' method is to heavily research a period in history and insert fantasy between... Read more
I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I've read Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides long ago and enjoyed his mastery of historical fiction mixed with fantasy so this book mixing certain... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jeff C Morphis
Powers in his early days---this story is absolutely superb. If you know me personally you know that I value Tim's work. This is one of his best.Published 13 months ago by David Perry
Not that great, compared to later works like the "Last Call" trilogy, "Anibus Gate" and "Declare." Must've been an earlier work.Published 14 months ago by WILLIAM E REID
Tim Powers has a captivating style. A skillfully woven mix of humor, literature, folklore, and fantasy, coupled with the feel of a real world. Read morePublished 15 months ago by StanBarr
Like many (if not most) of Tim Powers' works, his 1979 novel "The Drawing of the Dark" (his third novel) is historically based with a supernatural twist. Read morePublished 15 months ago by illiandantic