|Submitted by Christopher Ware |
(Dec 03, 2001)
I was worried something like this might happen. Book 2 in the series (CARTHAGE ASCENDANT) seemed quite slow throughout its middle portions and I was worried that, with Dijon under siege, we would get bogged down in strategy meetings, political maneuvering, and, basically, waiting for something to happen. It turns out, I was unfortunately correct. My main problem here is that nothing really happens in the book until the last 50 pages or so. The amount of plot advancement that took place in this book could probably have been covered in 100 pages. The main characters simply sit in the city, trying to figure out how to get out of their predicament. They never actually DO anything. Endless meetings, discussions, and staring out at the enemy and their uncountable legions and siege engines. I was going stir crazy just reading about it.
The one thing that rescued this book from being terribly boring was Gentle's writing. Vivid characters, brilliant dialogue and interaction, and description that makes everything seem real absorb the reader into the story. As in the first two books, Gentle's writing makes up for shortcomings in other areas. Unfortunately, there was just too great a lack of action to make up for here.
Additionally, the reader gets answers to some of the questions created in the first two books in the series. How did Ash survive the culling as an infant in Carthage? What makes Burgundy so vital to the Wild Machines' plans? What's been happening in Dijon while Ash and half the troop were in Carthage? Plus, the ongoing mystery that's been unfolding in the wrapper story of the historian gets more compelling as well.
Overall, I'd have to say I was disappointed with this book, but it did have some redeeming qualities. Plus, it was an important part in the overall story, despite the fact that it dragged on longer than it really should have.