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The Drawing of the Dark Paperback – Nov 16 1999
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Del Rey's Impact line introduces a list of titles that have "slipped through the cracks and become buried treasure." The re-release of Tim Powers's The Drawing of the Dark (first published in 1979) is indeed worthy of the imprint. It was his third novel and first foray into the fantasy genre.
It is the year 1529 and Brian Duffy, a soldier of fortune, finds himself in Venice. A late-night confrontation with three brothers over a matter of honor convinces Brian to find greener pastures. After a chance meeting with an old monk named Aurelainus, Brian finds himself hired on to be the bouncer at the famous Herzwesten brewery and inn (formerly a monastery) located in Vienna. During Brian's voyage from Venice to Vienna, he crosses the Dolomite Mountains, only to meet assassins who attack him. Dwarves and creatures Brian knew only from mythology assist him in vanquishing his attackers.
The mythical Fisher King is a central character in The Drawing of the Dark, and cameos by the Roman god Bacchus, the Lady of the Lake, reincarnations of King Arthur and Sigmund from Norse mythology, Merlin, and hosts of soldiers, including Vikings and Swiss mercenaries, add to the otherworldly feel. The legendary heroes are allied against legions of soldiers from the Turkish Ottoman Empire under Suleiman and his wizard Ibrahim, who try to repeat the successes of their 1521 and 1526 invasions of eastern Europe by laying siege to Vienna. But just what is their objective? The city or the beer?
Tim Powers does a great job of tying the historical invasion of eastern Europe by the Turks to a rollicking, fun-filled fantasy, which offers its own reasons for the invasion and a wonderful cast of heroes that ultimately repel the invaders. This is a must-read for Tim Powers fans and for readers who have yet to delve into his rich, wonderful worlds. --Robert Gately
"The Drawing of the Dark is not only one of my favorite Tim Powers novels, it's simply one of my favorite novels. The seamless and seemingly effortless blend of action and humor, the wonderful characters, the rich settings, the brilliant plot--all of it is perfect."
--JAMES P. BLAYLOCK
"Tim Powers does it right! Combining the best of mythology and real history, he takes you on a rollicking magical adventure that is both tense and hilarious. You won't read a more plausible explanation for Western Civilization, or one that's half so much fun. So raise your glass to The Drawing of the Dark."
"I stand in awe of Tim Powers's recent work, but I must confess my secret love for The Drawing of the Dark. Powers was one of the first to put fantasy back in the city where it belongs! If you're sick of endless quests through murky woods and lonely mountains, this is the place to start."
Author of Swordspoint
"Tim Powers is like no other. Tim Powers is granite where others are shale. Tim Powers chuckles like a river at night. Tim Powers is like a butterfly hovering at the pin, ruminating, eyebrow cocked, over the dancing angels. Tim Powers is not like any other, now and far into tomorrow."
Editor of Tomorrow
Top Customer Reviews
A brief description of this novel tends to emphasize what's not important about this novel. There are several important things here that make this a delight.
First, simply, are the characters. Brightly drawn and lovable, be they knaves or heroes. The texture and dialog do not (as many fantasy novels do) evoke modern Americans, even though there is no dialect used.
Second is the feel for medieval Europe, history, and realism (in what is a rather fanciful novel). Although this novel features such things as dwarves, dervishes, King Arthur, Merlin, Excaliber, the Fisher King, Norse gods, etc., the sheer realism of the novel never is pierced.
Third is the delight that infuses the whole work. Why the title alone is at least triple entendre, if not quadruple. I mean: how can you dislike a work who's central premise is that Western civilization is based in no small part on quality beer?
So by now it is obvious that I love this book. If you like books such as Silverlock or Brunner's Traveller in Black, I think you'll be enchanted by this gem.
The story revolves around one Brian Duffy, and brings to the surface such mythological characters as the Irish hero Finn Mac Cool, Sigmund, King Arthur, and Dionysus. Powers seems to love the myth of the Fisher King, and this has been a recurring theme through many of his novels.
It is obvious that this is one of his earlier works, a lack of depth can be felt in the historical details as well as the writing style. But the plot is an engaging one - this author is wildly creative. The Drawing of the Dark is an easier read than some of his other works, and quite entertaining.
If you love what he does with the Fisher King storyline, read Last Call, Expiration Date, and Earthquake Weather. If you enjoy his habit of weaving an occult story around historical fact, make sure you read Declare.
Okay, if I had to pick something to criticize, I'd say that I found the plot a little slow at times. Also, the ending seemed a little rushed to me, and it didn't give me that sense of closure I was hoping for.
However, the writing style was gorgeous. Very atmospheric, beautifully detailed, mixed with just the right amount of humor. A perfect blend.
The characterization was also spectacular. Aurelianus / Merlin was my favorite character... but then again, that might just be my thing for cute old wizards again. I liked Duffy also. His grumpy attitude made him more endearing than any swash-bucking hero attitude he might have had. I also liked Bluto. Then again, I have a thing for hunch-backs too. ;)
And last but not least, I was utterly stunned when I finally realized where the title comes from! I won't give it away though... needless to say, it's very clever!
I'm looking forward to reading more Tim Powers novels. This was a very promising start, and I hear it only getts better from here! :)
In typical Tim Powers style, the plot of this late Renaissance fantasy begins with threads of story weaving in all directions, and resolves at last by the end of the book. Powers works in the invading armies of Islam, King Arthur, a mystical brewery in Vienna, Vikings, and more in this fantastic yarn.
I enjoyed this book overall, but it wasn't Mr. Powers's best (which can be forgiven, seeing as it was his first book). The plot moved a bit slowly at times, and the ending seemed a tad rushed. But overall, this was an enjoyable read and very funny. Great for taking a break between other, more "serious" fantasies.
_Drawing Of The Dark_ is a classic that well deserves to be back in print. Tim Powers' small but devoted following began with this book, and became a large then enormous following years later, slowly and surely, for good reason.
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent read, one of my favourite books. Nice to see it back in print. It's entertaining.Published on July 12 2003
Many of Powers' themes and ideas in his later works are initially explored in The Drawing of the Dark, so if you are a new reader of Tim Powers start here. Read morePublished on April 1 2003 by Jeffrey Henderson
Tim Powers is a marvelously gifted writer, whose stories blend real history with incredibly ingenious fantasy. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2003 by Bookman
It is 1529 and the Turks are about to lay siege to Vienna. In Venice an out of work Irish mercenary, Brian Duffy, finds himself a job as a bouncer at an inn in Vienna. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2003 by NNNNN
Tim Powers is the master of this sub-genre of Fantasy/Science Fiction. He weaves the real/historical with the fantastical so well and keeps it interesting and amusing. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2002 by John Gary Pullen
Certainly not Brian Duffy, aging Irish soldier of fortune, when he makes the mistake of accepting a job as bouncer at the inn which brews the famous herzwestern beer from the new... Read morePublished on June 19 2001 by Queen Cobra, Goddess of Truth and Justice
Tim Powers is an excellent writer and has done an impressive job re-interpreting the Arthurian ledgends in this book. Read morePublished on June 12 2001 by Helen Kim
In "Drawing of the Dark", Powers flirts with ideas he will develop more fully in later books like "The Anubis Gates" and "Last Call", but this book is... Read morePublished on April 16 2001 by Olivia