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The Drawing of the Dark
Tim Powers
Del Rey Impact Books, 336 pages

The Drawing of the Dark
Tim Powers
After two less-memorable books, Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark was a delight. He went on to produce some of the finest SF there is. These include the alternate history/time travel of The Anubis Gates, the slightly bizarre Dinner at Deviant's Palace and, later the World Fantasy Award winning The Last Call.

Tim Powers Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Interview: Tim Powers
SF Site Review: Earthquake Weather
Tim Powers Tribute Site
PUG: Tim Powers Interview
PUG: Excerpt from Earthquake Weather
SF Site: Another Review of Expiration Date
Tim Powers Interview

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Neil Walsh

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Del Rey's Impact imprint is dedicated to re-releasing "buried treasure" works of speculative fiction. According to the introduction by Del Rey's Editorial Director, the intent of the series is to uncover "trendsetting" and "breakthrough" works which may otherwise be neglected today.

Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark (originally published in 1979) is an excellent choice for this imprint. It is a jewel which, if it has lost any of its lustre, it can only be by comparison to later works by the same author. It's an occult-flavoured adventure novel about how beer saved Western Europe from the juggernaut that was the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The hero of the tale is an aging mercenary Irishman by the name of Brian Duffy. Early in the year 1529, just as Duffy is coming to realize he has overstayed his welcome in Venice, he accepts an offer of employment in Vienna. He is to be the exceptionally well-paid bouncer at an Viennese inn which until recently had been a monastery, but which has always been famous for its brewery and its beer -- Herzwesten. But, as is typical in a Tim Powers novel, nothing is quite as it seems at first...

The cast of characters includes the wounded and probably dying Fisher King, immortal Merlin, reincarnated Arthur, the ghost of Finn MacCool, an ancient ship full of only slightly less ancient Vikings on their way to Ragnarok, companies of Swiss mercenaries, legions of Turkish soldiers, spies, wizards, serving wenches, demons and, well, a whole lot more. And everyone wants a taste of that Herzwesten beer. Sure made me thirsty. I had to take the book down to my local pub to finish it.

Tim Powers is an author who doesn't disappoint. If you missed The Drawing of the Dark the first time out, here's another chance to catch a great read. If you loved it the first time around but your old mass market copy is falling apart, this is a handsome display copy but it's a tad flimsy as a reading copy -- so hang onto your dog-eared paperback for re-reading. If (and I shudder to think it) you haven't read any Tim Powers before, you can't imagine what you're missing, and this is as good a place as any to start.

Copyright © 2000 by Neil Walsh

Neil Walsh is the Reviews Editor for the SF Site. He lives in contentment, surrounded by books, in Ottawa, Canada.


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