An Oblique Approach (Belisarius) Mass Market Paperback – 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
I picked up "Oblique Approach" expecting a David Drake type SciFi quick read, shallow and fun. Much to my surprise this book turned out to be much more than its cover or authors would indicate. This may well have been Drake's way of saying that he can do better than potboilers. It may be that he and Eric Flint are natural collaborrators.
Whatever the reason, this is a book chuck full of history, geography, culture, combat, intrigue, complex characters and good old fashioned SciFi and a great read. My only gripe is that now that I've read the first book, I've got to read the series.
When Belisarius was traveling to assume command the army at Daras, the monk Michael of Macedonia and Anthony Cassian, the local bishop, came to his new house in Aleppo, bringing a strange object found by Michael within his cave in the desert. A faceted crystal that seemed to form and reform, they said that it had brought visions to their minds when they held it and they urged Belisarius to take it into his own hands. When it was passed to him, the crystal flared into light and flooded his mind with visions.
The crystal could induce visions and feelings, but was mostly unable to communicate directly. The visions showed a future in which the Malwa empire of northern India conquered all the known world and induced feelings of dread and despair. But all who held the crystal also felt certain that the future shown and felt was not necessarily the only possible future. The crystal had come to enlist Belisarius himself in an effort to preclude this bitter future in favor of one more consistent with their own desires and inclinations.
While the exhausted crystal quietly regained its strength, the human party formed a conspiracy to counter the evil plans of the Malwa.Read more ›
Drake and Flint have killed this series for me with their childish sense of humor.
Jokes that were only 'cute' when they first appeared (occasianally) in An Oblique Approach, are downright nauseating when they are FEATURED in the rest of the series. Every character--be they Thracian, Greek, Persian, or Indian--has an identical sense of irony and sarcasm, and Drake and Flint bash you over the head with it like a cataphract wielding a cudgel. Fer cryin' out loud, even the friggin CRYSTAL sports a sense of humor (I use the term loosely) that is identical to every other character in the series!
Half-way through In The Heart Of Darkness I was rolling my eyes at the overly-pithy, self-aware wit that was creeping up more often. By the end of Destiny's Shield, I was groaning audibly.
The characters are all cookie-cutter: You've got a couple of hard-as-nails hookers with hearts of gold; some grizzled old soldiers with unfailing loyalty to their general; some enemy generals that just drip honor (so you know they'll be switching sides before it's all over); and the vile, honorless, and militarily incompetent enemy generals who howl at the guile and cunning of Belisarius, then ignore the counsel of talented underlings who have spotted his traps.
The battles are pretty entertaining, strategically, but they are all routes. There is never a sense of danger, that the battle could go either way but for the brilliant battlefield maneuvering of Belisarius.
All in all, An Oblique Approach was a pretty darn good book. The account of Princess Shakuntala's rescue was particularly well written.Read more ›
The story is set in authentic historical context in the time of Justinia, Emperor of Rome. However, future is melded into the past. A device of unfathomable complexity and intelligence is sent from the future to protect history. It chooses Belisarius as its sole avatar. Belisarius will see the future and the possible future that will be, if he does not act. That future results in a world aflame with agony, and Belisarius will do whatever in his power to prevent that future to exist. Whatever it takes, he will do, and he will do it with the same standards of decency, honor, and ruthlessness as he has defeated all his enemies with. Belisarius will bring into being weapons powered by gunpowder, rockets and grenades that shatter human flesh.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great, great, great book. I especially enjoy a great series since I sometimes read 2 to 3 books a week. Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by Michael Lynn Mcguire
I can easily imagine how this series got started: a couple of guys musing, "I wonder what would have happened if an ancient general had access to modern weaponry and... Read morePublished on April 29 2001 by Amazon Customer
This is an extreemly well writen book. The characters are well portrayed, and even remain fairly close to most of the historical accounts of the real people they represent. Read morePublished on March 9 2001 by Chris Campos
Being a new fan of alternate history I came across eric flint's 1632 and loved it. When I went looking for more, An Oblique Approach seemed to fit the bill and I was not... Read morePublished on June 24 2000 by H. Sowle
I missed this one when it came out, largely because David Drake's name on a book is a strong *NEGATIVE* recommendation to me. Read morePublished on May 25 2000 by Oso Blanco
The parallels are so extensive you may think you are reading the same book. The major difference is it happens on earth in Byzantium, instead of far in the future on another planet... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 1999 by Amazon Customer
I thought this book's plot was fascinating and nothing but. However, the writing and storytelling is a bit rough and in some parts even cliched. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 1999
Interesting characters, great battles, and lots of potential. But, if this is the whole story, I feel cheated. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 1998 by Kenneth S. Smith