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Passage at Arms [Mass Market Paperback]

Glen Cook
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid work, engaging March 1 2010
This is a solid work by Glen Cook. Very different than his other works such as Black Company and Garrett PI, it takes places in a distant future. The author makes us believe in his universe, the characters are well defined, and there is a lot of action, especially in the book's second half. Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passage at Arms April 17 2002
By K. Freeman - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's probably important to know that this isn't the kind of book where there are huge battles in space, with ships blasting away at each other.
Instead, it's a book about tension, about waiting. Actions which may prove meaningless -- and sometimes do. Events incomprehensible even to participants. As such, Passage at Arms is a notably well-written book, but it's not an easy read. There's no break for the characters, and none for the reader either. There's no comic relief whatsoever. You're trapped in a tiny, hot ship with its crew and the narrator, a war correspondent. In first person present tense, the story seems to represent the correspondent's real, uncensored report.
Lessening the impact of this book were some loose ends (a blackmail subplot that never goes anywhere, which might be deliberate nihilism) and characterization which could have been deeper, especially of the narrator. Still, this is a good one.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Military SF as it was meant to be written Sept. 5 2004
By C. Boyle - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cook writes in an over-the-top, yet intimate way about his intensely manifested characters. My favorite sentence of all time is in the first paragraph of this book, "Night fell like a sadist's boot." The designer of a troop transport is described as "a closet Torquemada." These quotes are still in my head 3 years after my last (third) reading of this book. He captures all the stench, abrasiveness and fungus of living in a closed container with a military crew. And if you like this one, try and find "The Dragon Never Sleeps", his other military SF stand-alone novel.

Based on his excellent writing and devoted fan-base, I would expect to see more of his books still in print.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly Croaker In Space June 6 2007
By Dr. Joe Duarte - Published on
Cook has mastered the first person, eyewitness, in the trenches viewpoint, and this one delivers the usual deadpan stuff with a new twist, a nearly never ending space war. Instead of a foxhole, in this installment, the "cage" is a spaceship, and the challenge is to make it back from a mission from which few ever return.

At times, as can be expected, Passage at Arms is reminiscent of the Black Company, but mostly it carves out new territory for Cook's usual set of premises,and wackos, revolving around the daily grind of fighting an unseen enemy, against ridiculous odds, and somehow staying sane through it all. As always there are consequences, and the usual knocks against authority.

As will all of Cook's books, this will likely remain a niche player, since the mainstream is not so fond of books that put every day people in the mundane events that eventually congeal into something bigger like a war. As with many of his recent works, it takes a bit of time wading through some rambling before the story congeals.

But once again, Cook is able to bring what seems to be random, into a nice chaotic blend of non linear order.

For me, Glen Cook always delivers the goods. And this time it's no exception.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Submariners in Space April 10 2003
By Michael Rossander - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A intense, hard sci-fi novel of warfare in the equivalent of a submarine corps. The story follows one Climber crew on a single combat mission. Cook writes an incredibly realistic and believable story of claustrophobia, terror, confusion and faith. The narrator, a war correspondent and eternal outsider, struggles to understand the motivations of the men with whom he is serving.
I found this to be an incredibly gripping book. The power of the emotions and the consistency of the details left me wondering about Cook's background. This is a story where you want to know how the author knows so much - did he serve in submarines or is he just that good a researcher?
This is not a cheerful book but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Top 10 SF Books Ever Written! June 25 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In a very brief 150 pages or so Cook crashes you through a totally believable interstellar combat epic with a vivid depth of detail so involving that you will surely read it in one session ... approaches "Private Ryan" in immersive effect ... and as with that film, you may be relieved when it is finally over ... a very non-romantic vision of all-out warfare in deep space.
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