- Series: Darkness (Book 3)
- Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Tor Fantasy; First Mass Market Edition - First Print edition (April 15, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081258919X
- ISBN-13: 978-0812589191
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,281,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Through the Darkness (World at War, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – April 15, 2002
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In this book, the primary story focuses on the Derlavian War's battle for Stalingrad (Sulingen here) where the Algarvians have gotten bogged down in an over-reaching effort to capture Unkerlandt's Cinnabar deposits. Elsewhere, irregulars continue to battle the occupying Algarvians in any way they can, and the equivalent of the Manhattan Project continues on without a hitch. The dynamics of the war continue to change, and each of the primary characters from the first two books are still the focus here. Somehow, Turtledove is able to keep each of those characters' stories interesting even when they don't seem to be directly involved in the main events of the book.
The only major complaint I have about this story reflects the most common criticism of Turtledove's writing. Redundant and repetitive descriptions of characters/settings and constant reminders of easily-memorable facts is at times extremely annoying. We know that camel meat tastes bad. We know that Algarvians are overly expressive. We know the Gyongyosians don't eat goat. We know that the Zuwayzi(sp?) don't wear clothes. WE KNOW! Also, Turtledoves penchant for starting each character's section in the same way, time after time, is frustrating. If Pekka is surprised by a knock on her door one more time, I think I may rip some of my hair out. I guess Turtledove wants to hammer into his readers' brains certain characteristics of his characters, but overly repetitive actions and very similar scenes occurring over and over can be extremely off-putting. Almost like your intelligence is being questioned. Thus, four stars instead of the five stars this book came close to deserving.
Still highly recommended for those interested in getting involved in an epic fantasy closely mirroring our World War II.
This book covers the continuation of (primarily) the equivalent of the European theater of the war and details the fighting up through this world's equivalent of the end of the seige of Stalingrad - Sulingen in Turtledove's world - by Algarvian (German) forces as well as the Lagoan and Kuusaman (British and American) victory in North Africa and the continuing research by the Kuusamans (Americans) into the the nature of magic (read: The Manhattan Project).
As with the previous books in the series, this one does not parallel World War II exactly and while most of the major countries that fought in World War II are included (the major exception being China), attention is definitely focused far more on Turtledove's equivalents of Germany, France, Poland and Russia than it is on the countries representing America, Britain and Japan. In fact, the Pacific War practically does not exist in the series as the role of China seems to be portrayed by Unkerlant, the Russia-equivalent, and the entire Pacific War is told from the perspective of one character given roughly equal weight with the other people whose stories are told. To put this in perspective, the Poles and the Jews have three characters, the Germans three, the Soviets two, the French two, and the Americans, Finns, Belgians, British and Dutch one each.
As with the previous novels, the story of the war is told through each of the characters and many important events are either lived through or mentioned as background information, depending on whether or not he has a character in the appropriate location. The characters are all pretty standard for this style of story (the Darkness series is very similar in style to the Worldwar series and the Great War series) and while entertaining, none of them have great depth. The real fun of the story is in comparing the story to the actual history.
I, for one, learned a fair amount of history after reading this book, much like I did after reading the previous two. If anything, it reminded me how little I knew of the European Theatre of the War and has definitely given me the incentive to read more about World War II - which, after all, may well be Turtledove's point in writing the series. He certainly does a good job of presenting World War II from a nontraditional viewpoint and definitely reminds us that not everyone that fights for an evil cause is evil - or that everyone that fights for a good one is good.
On the whole, I definitely recommend giving this series a try. While I regret the fact that so little attention is paid to the equivalent of the Pacific side of the war - the history of the Pacific War is every bit a fascinating and terrifying as the European War - it's definitely a worthy read. If you haven't read the previous novels already (Into the Darkness and Darkness Descending), though, I definitely recommend picking those up first.