Passage at Arms Mass Market Paperback – 1985
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
Based on his excellent writing and devoted fan-base, I would expect to see more of his books still in print.
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.