Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Dance of Time, by David Drake

The Dance of Time is the last entry in Drake's Belisarius series.  Again mostly a tactics story, it centers around the process of grinding the Malwa empire down and banishing its driving force.  That Belisarius will win is never in any real doubt.  The focus is more on tactics, and also the human relationships of the major characters Drake has given us throughout the series.  In the end, there's not a whole lot to see--his heroes are honorable to a fault, with any character flaws confined to a tendency to complain.  His characters were drawn pretty much from the beginning, so they don't grow much.

Where Drake shines is describing action, and that is mostly missing from the last two books.  They are OK as stories, but they are very geeky on large-scale low-tech conflicts, so unless you have an appreciation for those the stories will be pretty slow.  In the end, I'm not sorry I finished them, though, as Belisarius is a pretty appealing guy, fun to be around and read about.  Having a beer or four with him would be a hoot.  If you like Drake but have not gotten around to this series, I can recommend it.  Three stars for this one, slightly generously.

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