The Drawing of the Dark
by Tim Powers
Cover Artist: David Palumbo
Review by Gayle Surrette
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596066694
Date: 31 October 2014 List Price $35.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers was originally published in 1979, and has been published in a new hardcover edition by Subterranean Press in October 2014. A lot has changed in the intervening 35 years, but in fantasy the difference between the past then and the past now is moot.
The story holds up well. I read this book when it originally came out and again this past month. What I found is that I'd forgotten much of the details but immediately sank into the story with a feeling of entering familiar territory.
The story takes place in 1529, as the Turkish army threatens Vienna. Brian Duffy is an out of work mercenary living in Venice and rethinking some of his career choices. When a group of brothers decide to teach him a lesson for a slight, he's befriended by a strange old man who wants to hire him to be the bouncer in his pub in Vienna. Of course, Brian takes him up on the offer as he has been thinking of a long-lost love in Vienna and the fabulous beer brewed by this particular abbey turned pub -- Herzwesten beer.
Once on his way, Brian finds himself involved in an adventure that is much much more than just getting from Venice to Vienna and taking care of drunks. A war is brewing and somehow the pub and its beer are involved. Brain feels his 'self' is slipping away somehow and there's strange powers afoot. Every explanation from the pub owner and those about him seem far fetched at best and actually drug or alcohol induced insanity at worse -- or is it.
Pulled into the story by the interesting characters and quickly moving story filled with adventure, danger, and even a bit of romance, it's hard to put the book down.
If you enjoy the writing of Tim Powers, this will give you a chance to read one of his earlier works. If you just enjoy good fantasy that's grounded in history, but with a giant helping of misdirection and innuendo you won't be disappointed.