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    AN OBLIQUE APPROACH by David Drake and Eric Flint

    Baen Books, 1998

    Belisarius, the greatest general of the Byzantine Empire, sees a vision of his nation completely destroyed by men with strange weapons--mechanical siege monsters, exploding shells, projectiles fired at impossible distances--and knows that his vision is real. Rather than subject himself to the whim of the great Emperor Justinian, Belisarius takes matters into his own hands--he will discover the truth about these weapons and the warriors from impossibly distant India who bear them. He will find some way to change this terrible vision of history, to save his Empire. Even though doing so means allowing his wife's reputation to be sullied and risks the hatred of his Emperor.

    AN OBLIQUE APPROACH tells the story of Belisarius's vision, his efforts to re-introduce infantry tactics to the early medieval Byzantine army (with a very nice battle scene against Persia, the Eastern Empire's age-old enemy), and the trip to India to discover the truth about the threat. Authors David Drake (see other reviews of novels by this author) and Eric Flint (see other reviews of novels by this author) combine the tactics of military SF with character depth unusual in military SF.

    This novel is the first of a series of books involving Belisarius's attempts to save civilization from the an evil power somehow granted modern weapons. A touch of philosophy, crude soldier-humor, and pure adventure make it highly readable and gripping.

    Four Stars

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