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Harlan, Thomas
book-date: 2001
cvr art:
cvr price:
(Tall) Hardcover
Steve Hickman
Book= near-Fine
Dustjacket= Fine

TOR: (first edition) June 2001 hardcover (number sequence is intact.) Cover by Steven Hickman, 558 pages,$27.95 cover price. Condition is near-Fine in a Fine- dustjacket: book itight and square; no age tanning; slight overall wear including the usual light bumping at spine ends. DJ has no tears, trace of rubbing on back cover, 1/8" patch of wear on bottom of back flap bend. No rubbing, stamps, marks or tears. (Perhaps read once with care?)

The 3rd book in Thomas Harlanís"The Oath of Empire" series: The Storm of Heaven. 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 would have voted for him.)

The Storm of Heaven: After Rome betrayed its allies to win victory over Persia, a three-sided war arose - Rome against the revived remnants of Persia against the tribes of the desert now commanded by Mohammed of Mekkah. The Eastern Empire of Rome is in trouble, with the Emporer Heraclius bedridden in Constantinople, and his less than competent brother Theodore leading the troops to defeat in battle. And in the hidden valley of Damawand, the Persian sorcerer Dahak increases his power and influence over Persia. In the West, Rome is devasted by the eruption of Vesuvius. Prince Maxian, defending himself against an attack on his life, inadvertantly caused that eruption, in the process becoming more than a man, almost godlike in his powers. He doesnít have all the answers, but must grapple with his conscience and try to find a way to redeem all those deaths. He realizes that the Oath of Empire may not need to be broken from its stifling and protective influence on Rome, but it may be possible to work with it and change it from within. In Judea, young Dwirin is coming into his full powers, honed by conflict against his friend Odenathu - now on the other side of the conflict, and leader of the remnants of the army of Palmyra. And back in Rome, Thyatis survived the attempt on Maxianís life and Vesuviusí eruption, but is without memory, and then swept up into the Games in the Colosseum.

I donít think Thomas Harlan has an equal in his writing of battle scenes- this 3rd book in the series has its share of conflict, and he shows no sign of repeating himself. His research shows, because all aspects 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.

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