"Intriguing alternate history"
The Derlavian War that has devastated the world is now
over three years old with no end in sight. Led by the
magic derived from slaughtering the Kuusamians, the
Algarvian Empire continues the fight with the Kingdom of
Unkerlant in spite of the recent loss at Sullingen.
In Kuusamo mages work on developing a new
magical "genie" that will stop the Algarve aggression.
However, though distant, even here Algarvian magic attacks
try to disrupt the mage project that the Kuusamo is turning
to successfully end the war as the victors.
In the conquered lands, small resistance movements to
overthrow the yoke of the Algarvian Empire have sprung up.
However, gains are so minuscule that even the resistance
fighters feel they are just gnats attacking dragons.
Harry Turtledove's latest magical portrayal of World
War II is an interesting alternate history tale. The
author shows that war is gritty and the two prime
heavyweights (the Algarvian Empire and the Kingdom of
Unkerlant) both are nasty and use people as fodder. Mr.
Turtledove also shows numerous perspectives of war so that
it is difficult to understand any viewpoint. In spite of
six hundred plus pages, the magical history of World War II
seems more like the trench warfare at Verdun during World
War I as the story moves forward less than a year and there
remains two more years of fighting. Like the three
previous Darkness novels, RULERS OF DARKNESS is a rich
complex tale that adheres to the core message that
regardless of the weapons (magical or mundane) war makes
hell look like a tropical spa.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted March 22, 2002