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An Oblique Approach by David Drake and Eric Flint
Published by Baen Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
To all appearances it was merely a pretty stone, its facets fracturing the sunlight and reflecting them back. Then the old monk touched it, and into his mind poured visions of a horror fit to drive a man mad.
And a command -- to take the stone to Belisarius, greatest general of the age, and perhaps of all history. For a terrible threat is arising, that threatens to change history itself and mold all humanity into its own cruel image. Those who do not fit in are but pollution, to be destroyed.
Armed with this vision of horror that must be averted and a few hints of possible future technologies, Belisarius must strive against the foe that is arising in distant India. But it is not yet time to meet the Mahaveda fanatics in open battle. First he must gain intelligence about their powers and capacities, and find allies.
These he finds among the Axumites, a Christian kingdom of the Ethiopian high plateau. Prince Eon and his delegation have come to Constantinople to open diplomatic relations, but Belisarius sees a greater possibility in these proud warriors and the savage slave Ousanas who is more than he seems.
And there is one more ally who must be found, whom Belisarius glimpsed in the vision given him by the crystal of the future. If he can find this man, and save the life of the one he holds dearest, Belisarius may yet be able to avert the horrible future he foresaw, of Constantinople in flames and the Eastern Roman Empire crushed forever under the cruel heel of the Malwa and their Mahaveda priests.
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Review posted April 10, 2003
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