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THE GATE OF FIRE [Oath2]
TOR: (first edition) May 2000 hardcover (number sequence is intact.) Cover by Steven Hickman, 477 pages, $27.95 cover price. Condition is Fine- in a Fine dustjacket: book is tight and square; no age tanning; the usual light bumping to spine ends. DJ has no tears or rubbing, and is in a good condition DJ protector. No stamps, marks or writing - this looks unread.
The second book in Thomas Harlanís"The Oath of Empire" series: The Gate of Fire. Locus said about his first book "How long has it been since a writer has managed to begin a large-tome, multi-volume epic fantasy giving alternate history the vividness of the real thing and magic the combination of visceral and intellectual impact of the hottest new science? Well, Thomas Harlan has done just that..." His first 2 books were good enough to get Thomas Harlan a nomination for "Best New Writer" Hugo award for the next 2 years. (I know I would have voted for him.)
The Gate of Fire - The sorcerer Dahak has withdrawn to a hidden citadel with the remnants of the army of the King of Kings and a very special new servant. He has vowed to regain the Peacock Throne. Prince Maxian, the Emperor of the West's younger brother, has raised both Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great from the dead. Now, with the power that their legends can offer him, he considers how to free Rome from the curse that protects the Empire but dooms it to stagnation. But while he ponders, the traitor in his household has set a deadly plot in motion. Dwyrin's thaumaturgic unit is shattered when Zoe discovers the destruction of Palmyra. She vows revenge against the Empire that abandoned her city to its fate and goes to raise the Decapolis against Rome. Dwyrin, abandoned by his friends, is left at loose ends in Byzantium, where only mischief can occur. And in the city of Mecca, Mohammed, Ahmet's friend and survivor of Palmyra's destruction, receives a vision, and a command, and the power to strive against the forces of darkness. The war is far from over, now there are three alliances where once there were only two, and three Powers to strive for control of the Earth.
I donít think Thomas Harlan has an equal in his writing of battle scenes - each book in the series has its share of conflict, and he shows no sign of repeating himself. His research shows - all aspects of conflict grow out of opportunites, materials and personalities available. I am impressed by his use of magic in battle: people canít just do anything, but train to use what they know in its most effective manner. And it is not all battles or fights, either - all of the details of dress, technology, of economics, how people interact, day-to-day life - they all seem authentic and appropriate. His characters are vivid, vital - with humor, despair, and hopes. Both Dahak and Maxian produce surprises when they need them to survive - taking the plot in directions not forseen.
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