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Destiny's Shield Mass Market Paperback – Jun 1 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (June 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671578723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671578725
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,274,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

The invasion of Persia by the Malwa army forces an alliance with the rival empire of Rome's Eastern Empire. Aided by a crystalline intelligence from the distant future that grants visions of what may come to pass, the legendary Roman general Belisarius and his strategist wife, Antonina, wage a series of battles on land, at sea, and in the intrigue-ridden courts of the world's most powerful empires. Drake's consummate skill as a creator of military sf and Flint's historical expertise come together in a historical fantasy with sf overtones. The third in a series of novels that includes In the Heart of Darkness, this volume should appeal to fans of alternate history.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

EVIL FROM BEYOND TIME

The Malwa Empire squats like a toad across 6th century India. The people who command the Malwa bureaucracy and armies are cruel, ruthless men with depraved appetites which their power permits them to indulge to the full.

The thing from the distant future that commands them is far worse.

AN ADVISOR WITHOUT A BODY

Those who oppose the pustulent Hell the Malwa will make of Earth have sent a crystal, Aide, to halt their advance. Aide holds all human knowledge -- but Aide cannot act by himself.

A CHAMPION FOR ALL TIMES

Count Belisarius, the greatest general of Byzantium and perhaps the greatest of all time, must defeat the Malwa and the enemies of humankind which direct the evil empire.

With Aide's advice --

With the support of Empress Theodora --

With the courage and ruthless skill of his wife Antonina --

And with a few thousand of the best soldiers in the world, Belisarius must face the Malwa invaders beyond Rome's borders. Maneuvering through Mesopotamia in unfamiliar terrain and the risk of doubtful allies, Belisarius must outwit powerful enemies -- and then, when there is no longer room to maneuver, to meet them sword-edge to sword-edge. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is really a novel of alternate history, with a few alien SF or before-their-time inventions added to create plot situations for eastern Romans in A.D 531. It's a light page-turner, with something exciting, clever, or anachronistic in every chapter to make it fun. It is written in three parallel streams-General Belisarius allied with Persians to defend Babylon against an overwhelming alien-led Malwa invasion, his wife Antonina attempting to recover Egypt as the foundry of empire, and a rebel empress subverting the Malwa powerbase in the Ghats of India. There's a good balance between plot, lead characters, and military affairs here.
A number of basic cusswords are tipped in for flavor, but battle is fairly bloodless as military fiction goes, with a wry sense of (military) humor throughout. I'm afraid the authors give no organized backstory (what has happened in the previous two books) so this is not the place to discover how history was diverted from its "true" course into this alternate world. And of course there's no closure to the story. The characters have not learned something new but are simply farther along their courses to their destinys in later volumes. Most everyone seems to be a competent, tough, moral, and resourceful soldier to admire. Killers they may be, but you feel they are OUR killers. For Belisarius in particular everything always falls out right. Indeed, it had better if the overwhelming numbers and gunpowder weapons of the Malwa are to be overcome.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The long expected Malwa invasion of Persia has finally struck and the Persians turn to their ancient enemies, the Byzantine Romans, for help. The ex-Emperor Justinian convinces Theodora to send Constantinople's greatest general--perhaps the greatest general in the history of the world--Belesarius to help. With only ten thousand soldiers, Belisarius will have to work a miracle to survive, let alone defeat the hordes of Malwa arriving from India. Fortunately, Belisarius has been planning a miracle for some time now. The stakes are high. The Malwa are led by Link--an intelligent artifact sent from the future with the goal of eliminating any notion of talent or freedom from the planet.
Belisarius defeats a raiding Malwa cavalry force as he approaches ancient Babylon where the Persian Emperor is beseiged. In the meantime, his Indian ally, Shakuntala, has begun her own campaign against the Malwa occupation of most of India. Belisarius's wife, Antonia is sent to Alexandria to reassert Roman Imperial authority (as was often the case in historical Byzantine Egypt, religious disputes threaten Roman rule) and to create an arsenal for her husband and Shakuntala--and the nucleus for a new front against the huge Malwa armies.
Authors Eric Flint and David Drake again combine in this third novel in the Belisarius series. Flint and Drake deliver a powerful mix of military fantasy (what would Belisarius have done if he had access to effective gunpowder-based weapons), pure tactics, and touches of real historical research.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was great fun and a fast read. Like the first two in the series, it centers around the Roman general Belisarius and his fight against the evil supercomputer-from-the-future Link and its Malwa minions. In this installment, the war has moved into Persia, making uneasy allies of the Romans and their former foes.
More than one story line wends its way through the narrative. The focus is alternately on Belisarius in Persia, Antonina in Egypt, and Shakuntala in India. Various Malwa schemes are thwarted as the Great Lady Holi and her cybernetic cargo spearhead the assault into Mesopotamia.
The only real quibble I have with this book is the ease with which the good guys win every battle. Granted, Belisarius is supposed to be a genius general, but one would think a supercomputer might have *some* ability to outwit him. Instead, Link so far steadily plods two steps behind the Roman alliance.
Despite that, this is an enjoyable book. Once again Belisarius is at the forefront of the action with his oh-so-clever battle plans, but the supporting characters are not neglected. Readers will be swept along by the steadily building conflict, and are sure to eagerly await the next installment.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Good Morning, General Belisarius. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, will be to lead your armies against overwhelming force led by the ultimate evil. If you lose, commit suicide, for humanity will enter an age of darkness that will never lift. If you or any of your companions are caught, you will face slow death by hideous torture. This message from the future will *NOT* self-destruct because you will *need* everthing it can teach you. Good luck.
With this, the third (of four so far) book in the series, the overall structure of the story is now plain. We get to watch Belisarius, his wife Antonina and their friends, like the I.M. force, begin forging a boom to lower on the Malwa. The true pleasure of this series is that it's on a much larger, far more beautiful, and incomparably better painted canvas. You don't HAVE to read the earlier books to follow the story. Eric Flint intersperses enough of a situation report into the tale that you can jump in and pretty much figure out what's going on. However, there is a lot of the fun getting to know these people over the course of several books.
As seems to be his habit, Flint's writing is superb, and the people, places, time and battles are well-drawn. Again, as always, there are wonderfully memorable scenes, including one particular sequence where Antonina comes into her own. If Belisarius is a Craftsmaster of War, she is a Cook, seasoning the siege of an impregnable fortress with a dash of force and a soupcon of violence in a display of lateral thinking that left me dumbfounded, admiring, awestruck, and laughing like hell.
Start to finish, this book is a pure delight, and I get to start on number four at once! I have only one complaint: I agree that - the maps could be better, since much of the ground of the story is unfamiliar to those of us who are not historians.
As always, Eric, thank you for hours of reading pleasure.
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