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Book Reviews

Autumn 1997

Fall of Angels
Fall of Angels - L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; P/b, RRP $14.95; Orbit Fantasy; ISBN 1-85723-373-5 "If anything, (this book) has made me want to find the rest of the books and discover what occurred after the end of this episode of the saga."

I approached this book with some reservations as it was part of a series of books, of which I had not read any others. However, I had read some of the author's books that were unrelated to this series and had liked the style.

In any case, I discovered that this book did not need any knowledge of the previous ones in the series and stood on its own. If anything, it has made me want to find the rest of the books and discover what occurred after the end of this episode of the saga.

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Fall deals with the beginnings of the Empire of Legend. Here we discover that the founders were actually spacefarers. They had been blasted into an alternative reality where "magic" was as potent a force as science. The story starts with the crew of the United Faith Forces' frigate Winterlance's battle with their enemy. The combined force of their weapons and the defences of the demons pushes them out of their own universe into another one.

The local population has a number of individuals who are called "mages". These people are able to control some forces that enable them to throw "fire bolts", shield themselves from the sight of others and are able to use some form of glass/mirror as a means of seeing what is going on in other places. None of these abilities are without cost, each time one of these abilities is used, it costs them personal energy. In a number of cases we see the mages sweating and straining to accomplish their tasks.

The book has a number of rather fast paced sections where so many things are happening you have to reread the section to make sure you have caught everything. Some areas were a little slow, but this is only in comparison to the rest. There are only a few characters that are well drawn. Many of them are only cardboard cutouts. People like Nylan, the engineer, bounce off these characters and use them to explain bits of the story and why things are happening. In some instances, I felt the urgent need to strangle a few people just to keep the story moving!

Like many books written today, this is not a small one. Unfortunately, it would appear that with the increase in size, the amount of proofreading has declined dramatically. I ran across a number of apparent typos, bad punctuation and incorrect spellings that caused me to stumble while reading. In today's world of spelling and grammar checkers, there is still a necessity for a book to be read by a person. The errors I ran across are ones that will NOT be picked up by a spelling or grammar checker, as the words are correct in spelling, just not where they are in the sentence.

Given the above nits, I'd recommend the book as a good read and possibly the rest of the series as well. I know I will be looking for the rest of the books.

Richard Hryckiewicz

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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