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Darkness (Harry Turtledove) Books In Order

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Publication Order of Darkness Books

Into the Darkness (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darkness Descending (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Through the Darkness (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rulers of the Darkness (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jaws of Darkness (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out of the Darkness (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Darkness is a book series consisting of six fantasy novels written by Harry Turtledove. Harry Turtledove is a historian novelist who writes historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy. He is probably one of the best if not the best-known author of the alternate history genre. This Darkness series is just one of the many great books he has written since he started writing novels in 1979.

All the six novels in the Darkness series were written between 1999 and 2004. Turtledove produced a series of complex and detailed epic of war and magic which is definitely very appealing to those who love military fantasy and history. The series impresses in its sheer scope and perplexity. Though a fantasy, it follows a strict historical script which is based on the World War II in its general geography, history and combatants. Many of the characters in the novels in the series are equivalents of historical people. In addition, there is magic and the study of magical arts is similar to the scientific study in the real world. There are also fantasy beasts such as dragons.

The series is based on the continent of Derlavai located in the southern hemisphere of an unnamed planet. There are also other smaller continents of The Land of the Ice People and Siaulia. The continent is divided into a number of kingdoms with similar customs as those of medieval Europe. The continent has 12 independent countries which are all monarchies apart from Kuusamo. Each of the countries has cultural and social traits, as well as languages of different but actual countries.Some of the early novels in the series include;

Into the Darkness

This is the first book of the Darkness series written in 1999 by Harry Turtledove. The novel depicts a war similar to World War II which took place in the continent. Turtledove narrates a story of enormous cast of characters including diplomats, scholars, peasants, washerwomen, soldiers and generals.

It begins with a generation that existed after the “six years’ war” whereby the Algarve Kingdom was defeated by its neighbors and made to accept the Treaty of Tortush which was unkind and humiliating. At this time, the ruler of the Duchy of Bari dies and this presents a perfect opportunity for Algarve to regain its state. However, despite the Barians’ desire to reunite with Algarve, the other neighboring kingdoms are against the idea and therefore declare war on Algarve. As a result, many treaties are invoked bringing about the Derlavai War.

A chain of unprecedented destructiveness fills the continent with kingdoms fighting their rivals. Flocks of dragons which are well trained rain explosive fire on various cities. Rival kingdoms harness sea leviathans to sabotage each others’ ships. The novel ends with some kingdoms succeeding in gaining control over others, and others still trying. However, it ends with a lot of suspense with the war plots of kingdoms against kingdoms.

Through the Darkness

This is the third volume of the Darkness series. The novel was written in 2001 covering a continuation of the Derlavai War. Several characters develop, some die in the war while new ones are introduced to continue the story-line or create their own. Situations get more complicated and the story gets more suspense. However, this volume brings out more clearly the similarities of the story to the World War II. This novel talks about measures that different kingdoms take in order to get through the darkness. In this volume, Turtledove incorporates the common citizens in the war such that the war against oppressors is no longer confined to soldiers and sorcerers only. Despite lacking the knowledge and skills necessary for a war, they make up with their overwhelming dedication, hard work and sacrifice.

The novel begins with a young Kaunian girl who is made to remain hidden waiting for her Forthwegian savior to earn their keep in the Algarvian-controlled streets. At this time, the Algarvians have become strong and a threat to the other kingdoms. Kuusamo realize that time is running out and their scholars have no idea about how to win the war. Therefore, they result to forming an alliance with Lagoas and Unkerlant, though it seems quite unsteady. There is high level of mistrust between kingdoms but they are forced to unite in order to defeat the Algarvians.

Turtledove has set the series based on a fantasy world similar to our own world. Some of the major similarities include;

1. The Countries – One of the most intriguing features of the Darkness series is the complex similarity between the participants in the Derlavai War and the Second World War. In fact, each country in the Derlavai War stands for an actual country in the World War II. For instance Algarve stands for Nazi Germany, Unkerlant for USSR, while Kuusamo is the United States. In addition, the various political and cultural features, as well as the roles played by each kingdom have different counterparts.

2. Technology- In the series, sticks operating on magical energy are used instead of guns; eggs are used as artillery shells, bombs and land miles; dragons represent aircraft while behemoths represents tanks; Leviathans, a mix of crocodile and whale, represent submarines. Crystal balls are used as telephone, television and radio; and magic is the equivalent of electricity.

3. Holocaust- The Kaunians represent the Roman Empire and the Jews who unlike those of Europe have similar beliefs as the other citizens of the nations they live in. In the series, they were given the same treatment as Jews were by anti-Semites in Poland and Germany. As the war went by, the Algarvians started to deal with the Kaunians by stripping of their rights, isolating them and later started executing them. These tactics were later copied by Unkerlant in dealing with criminals and peasants.

4. Turtledove also creates scenarios of vital battles between kingdoms or unions which are based on the Second World War battles. For instance, the Battle of Sulingen in the Derlavai War is an equivalent of the Battle of Stalingrad in the World War II.

The Darkness series is a good historical, military fantasy novel set in the context of the World War II. Turtledove uses the series to enlighten readers about how the Second World War took place using characters with similar cultural, political and social traits as those of the countries involved in the real war. Many of the things and scenarios in the fantasy series are a representation of the real world, hence creating a very intriguing and interesting story.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Darkness (Harry Turtledove)

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