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    Review of THE TIDE OF VICTORY by Eric Flint and David Drake


    BAEN, 2001

    Belisarius's Byzantine army, equipped with 17th century weaponry, has wiped out the Malwa invasion of Persia. Yet the Malwa Empire, led by the future intelligence of Link, remains larger and more powerful than the combined Roman and Persian might. Only by taking the war to the Malwa in India itself can the world have a chance at victory--and to eliminate the destruction that Link will surely bring if not stopped.

    In THE TIDE OF VICTORY, the Indian rebel forces, the Persians, the Romans, and allies Ethiopia and Kungas combine to attack Malwa from the south, northwest, and southwest. The Malwa are slowly adopting more modern weapons and tactics. Belesarius and his allies will have to up their own skills if they are to survive, let alone achieve victory.

    THE TIDE OF VICTORY continues this fine alternative history series featuring Belisarius, the great Byzantine general--here equipped with a crystal intelligence that gives him access to knowledge of the great generals of the musket period---Grant, Sherman, Lee, Wellington, and King Gustav Adolf of Sweden (see our review of another Eric Flint take on this great military leader in 1632).

    The highlights of this novel comes in Belisarius's military campaign toward the end of the novel (which is reminiscent of Lee's Peninsula campaigns during the American Civil War), and especially in the doings of the other characters. Minor characters from earlier in the series now have major roles to play themselves. Antoinia, Belisarius's wife, can be cloying with Belisarius, but seems heroic apart from him. Eon, the Ethiopian King, has grown from a boy to a man--and hero. I especially liked the development of Narses--another historically significant Byzantine who, here, has betrayed the Roman cause and is now struggling to create a world where he, an intelligent, scheming, amoral eunich, can thrive.

    Authors Eric Flint (see more reviews of novels by this author) and David Drake (see more reviews of novels by this author) deliver exciting military action--intriguing alternate history matchups between late Roman cavalry and 17th century musketeers, and interesting characters.

    Belisarius was one of the world's great generals and is an ideal candidate for alternative history. From the story-telling standpoint, however, he has become a little too successful. In particular, his clever adoption of a new technology just in time to meet the needs of battle is starting to get predictable. Link has been in control of the Malwa for a long time--why not make Belisarius use his genius against superior weapons--rather than simply adopt early-modern tactics to slaughter huge hordes of (admittedly mostly evil) Malwa? (Note: the first several novels in this series are available for FREE (as E-Books) from the website.)

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/22/02

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