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Into the Darkness (Darkness #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,146 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Harry Turtledove is known for his alternate histories; from The Guns of the South to The Great War: American Front, he's practiced at imagining the ways society would have changed if various things had been different in history. Sometimes it's a key figure surviving (or dying); other times it's a strange new variable, like aliens landing during World War II. With Into the ...more
Published (first published April 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,156)
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Nov 09, 2010 Meghan_K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First and foremost I have to say I've tried reading this book since the seventh grade. At first I was impressed by the dragon and what not on the cover, but as I actually tried to read it I was severely daunted by the fact the character listing is five pages long. Despite that, I still tried to read and only managed to get past the first chapter before deciding this was not worth my time and considered it confusing and very boring. Years later I bought the book, and soon the other five followed ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Helle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 100 or so pages you get a complete people and location overload. I guess I should have seen that coming, considering the detailed map and the five and a half pages long list of characters…
Then there are all the political relations between countries, which are changing all the time as well. Wars are ending and starting all over the place.

So I expected it would be hard to keep track. For some people it may even be a reason to stop right there, but strangely enough it was pretty entertai
Aug 06, 2013 Sjoerd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a decent read, and it was quite interesting at certain points. There were parts that I liked, but also things that I disliked.

One of the things that I really enjoyed, and which quite surprised me, was that the dragons (which function as a substitute for air planes) are not portrayed as mythical or wise creatures. They are basically treated as normal animals, and portrayed as very stupid animals at that. This might seem a weird thing to like, but I found it to be quite refreshing. It's
May 11, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too much going on, way too many characters to keep track of and only the first of many in a series. Of the dozen or so plot threads i only enjoyed 2 of them...they were what kept me going to the end. Once i got to the end and realized that this book was the first of a few in a series I decided to not read any of the others. Very disappointed after reading "ruled britanica" by the same author. I usually go thru a book a week or so and this took me 1 month to read, very hard to really get a good p ...more
Feb 20, 2016 Samuel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been eyeing this series for a while, as Turtledove is known as an alternate-history writer with a focus on wars. In this book, rather than an alternate history in the modern world, we have a world war in a world where magic replaces technology. (But unlike fantasy books, magic isn't all-powerful or the main focus here.) There are many similarities to WWII history and references to WWII military tatics, which makes for interesting reading.

Reading this book can give you a headache due to the sheer
Bruce Nordstrom
Aug 30, 2014 Bruce Nordstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, fantasy
First I would like to say that I really loved reading this book. The story is completely engrossing from beginning to end, and the narrative point of view shifts from person to person, so it is never boring.

Second, this is not one of Harry Turtledove's "alternative history" novels. It is a straight fantasy novel, set in a word where dragon really exist, fly and breath fire and serve men as machines of war. Magic really works as a form of technology, with sometimes unplesent side effects.

And it i
David Hoyman
Sep 14, 2014 David Hoyman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As stated in a few of the other reviews. The start of the book was kinda hard to get past. It felt like work getting through all the character introductions and the story foundations. Even after I got past it all I would have to go back to the beginning of the book to remind myself who this or that character was. But I think it was worth it. The story is engrossing I couldn`t put it down once i really got into it. Most of the characters stories were fun to read. Some more then other of corse but ...more
Michael Atkinson
Jan 23, 2015 Michael Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, as the other reviews of this book indicate, this is basically World War Two, with magic. Instead of airplanes and tanks, you have dragons and behemoths. Instead of submarines, you have leviathans. And so on. This is a fun premise, no doubt. True, there's a bit of wide-scale plot spoiling involved; if Algarve is the fantasy version of Germany, and Unkerlant is a stand-in for the Soviet Union, then we all know how it's going to play out. The interesting things are 1) how exactly it's going to ...more
Logan Young
Oct 26, 2015 Logan Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two things got me to read this fantasy epic:

1) The badass cover.

2) The unique concept of retelling the history of WWII in a fantasy world.

Turtledove simply replaces the countries with fantasy-y names, and switches out airplanes with dragons, tanks with giant prehistoric rhinos called "behemoths," submarines with mythical whale-like creatures called "leviathans" and switches out guns with magic wands that shoot out energy/lightning. Pretty sweet right?

I also liked the broad range of characters
Apr 15, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, war, epics, reviewed
So I first encountered Turtledove's Darkness series at the height of my fascination with WWII(late middle school/high school) and was sucked in immediately. I mean, who wouldn't like to see WWII played out with dragons and sorcerers? Certainly not me.

While Turtledove obviously drew most of the action and plot from actual WWII events, I liked how he adapted them for his setting as well as changing a few things up that I did not expect (such as the Holocaust analogue). Turtledove does a nice job g
Oct 29, 2013 BobA707 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: This book is a bit of a mix. A huge diverse plot and a magic system that gives its armies modern type warfare - it should be good, but I just found its breadth too wide, too many actors from too many regions. The actors are not really introduced and I didn't feel any connection to them. I never got any feedback on why every nation was at war with every other nation. The author maintains seemingly hundreds of threads each only a few pages long. Its an incredible feet of storytelling, but ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
World War 2 as translated to a fantasy setting. The first book of a longer series.

Now, when I say translation, I mean direct translation of events. Only the names have changed, with chrome such as tanks, subs and planes beig replaced with fantastic animals and rifles with what seem to be wands of lightning.

I have a mixed view of this. I still like Turtledove's usual style of following a range of characters across a broad ranging global event, but the fact that it is WW2 means that there is no "
Donald B. Stewart
Rarely do I feel I have the time to venture into a thick volume of fantasy, let alone a triple-thick trilogy. But Harry Turtledove has shown before that his gifts are worth the trip, and now that I've stepped into his upside-down reflection of our own world history, I will gladly carve out time for the rest of the journey.
Mar 28, 2012 Rebecca rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I normally love Harry Turtledove and own several ( around 20) of his books but theis was one series that I stopped dead on at the first book. I forced myself to finish this book picking at it over the course of several years and plan to sell it now that I've finished it. I normally love his technique of following several characters over a large landscape but for some reason the fantasy charaters and especially the different countries were confusing for me. I never seemed to be sure where I was i ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that has a lot of characters, but that's okay, because they're mostly interesting. Some are occasionally infuriating, particularly the idiotic French* noblewoman who is so full of herself that she won't even have oral sex with a guy who had previously had oral sex with a commoner. Oh, and by the way, there's sex, just so you know. Even a scene involving what is more or less rape, so be advised. There are other characters, though, who I really hope stay alive, so it sor ...more
Written much like his WWII books, Into the Darkness didn't hold up as well for me because I simply didn't care enough about the countries and the world at hand. The relations between the fantasy countries were tedious, and while I wanted to like it, I wasn't engaged by the interactions.
Alex Bontz Bontz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Fantasy version of WWII with dragon replacing aircraft, ley line caravans replacing trains etc.

A long book (and, of course, the first of many volumes) told from multiple character view points on every side of the conflict.

The characters and their individual stories are well handled; they cover a broad range from peasant conscripts to head of the army.

The book is certainly easy to read and quite engaging, subject to the limitations of the form namely:

- Once you figure out which fantasy country i
Nov 16, 2013 mysticbookworm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I thought this would be really great since I've heard that Turtledove is a great writer of alternate military history, and being set in a fantasy world full of dragons, behemoths, unicorns, and sorcery,where would I go wrong? For me, there were about five different nations to keep track of, and unlike The Lord of the Rings, which I gotta say, towards the end of the series....I was getting bored. Get to Mordor already! But I digress...
I am able to mostly keep the characters straight, the storylin
William C Tracy
Dec 12, 2013 William C Tracy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I keep wanting to like Turtledove and I keep being disappointed. If you do want to read an alternate history of WWII, I would instead recommend Turtledove's Worldwar and Colonization series, which takes WWII and plays on what would happen if aliens attacked.
Into The Darkness is basically a find/replace of the historical events with too many forgettable and heavy-handed characters with unfamiliar names. If you want to read that King Mezentio fought the Valmierians with Behemoths and imprisoned th
Jun 15, 2011 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ir-project
I am up to page 200, so far the theme is that money power and land cause kingdoms to go to war, this could also be related on a personal level. If i was going to make play the first scene would go like this. There is a man center stage with a bunch of bored looking boys around him. He would be going on and on about plants, one boy would make a loud sight and they would get in an argument...they would fight and all the others boys would laugh boys...the teacher and the other boy would look at eac ...more
Michael Perry
There are a LOT of characters in this story. The views jump around between them quite a bit. It's a story about a world moving into war, and the opening moves of the war, and diplomacy both successful and failed. There are dragons, and magic, and silly and smart moves. It was a long but enjoyable read. Being the setup for several novels it moved kind of slow in the first half but really started picking up by the end. Mr. Turtledove is extremely meticulous in setting up his worlds and characters ...more
Aug 10, 2013 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So far, this book is all over the place. It goes from one scene to another, not letting the reader fully grasp what is happening. The cast of characters is humongous and it's hard to keep track. It becomes overwhelming at times.

I'm torn on whether I should continue to read this book. I wouldn't recommend this book for those who dislike scene jumping and large sums of characters. However, for those that love stories where it is chaotic, then this book might be for you.
Pavlo Tverdokhlib
World War 2 with magic instead of tech--that's the "Darkness" series.

The first book of the series does a good job setting up the various PoV characters, whom we will follow throughout the war. Though some aspects are over-exaggerated, overall, its a really cool "what if" experiment.

Recommended to those with any interest in WW2 history for a different look. Also pretty much anyone who likes their fantasy "epic" and incredibly huge in scope.
I want to like this book. The writing is excellent, but the story goes nowhere. The several plotlines each bring you into the life and motivations of one or more of Turtledove's characters. They're well written, and you want to hear more. Unfortunately, because he switches between them so quickly, and there are so many, it ends up disjointed and slow. Worse, their experiences become so repetitive, that even the end is painfully anti-climactic.
Nov 09, 2009 Liviu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While it's a sort of WW2 recreation with magic, the Darkness series is also fantasy with a feudal structure, nobility and a different ethos than the 30-40's Earth.

One of the best Turtledove series so far - as writing and structure goes if you read other sprawling Turtledove series you will know what to expect but here there is nothing overtly annoying so far and I got fond of many characters while others are morbidly fascinating...
Jul 01, 2009 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this series! If you enjoy history, and stories of war, and if you like reading about magic and dragons, then you'll find this book very interesting. It takes World War 2 and revamps it, replacing vehicles with fictional beasts of war and weapons with magic.

I got lost in Derlavai, and found myself reading until the wee hours of the night. A year after reading the series, and I still often think about it!
Jan 26, 2016 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have never read a harry turtledove book before and was quickly absorbed into his plethora of complex characters which he has no qualms of doing a way with. Another first for me was the genre - alternative history - and again i enjoy the parallels and parodies turtledove plays with this fantasy version of WWII. I find myself flipping more and more to the map at the front of the book as the series progresses.
M Tat
Aug 01, 2011 M Tat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In case you haven't got the picture: war isn't about cheering for a side, it's about the economy and ecology of it all. . .and how disastrous it is even for those unengaged. More 'whorled leaders' need to read this and acknowledge the mess that is war, and it's expense that claims far more than finances.
Apr 15, 2008 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad... sort of feels like a prologue... a really really long, 500 page prologue... not that that's a bad thing. It just kind of takes a chunk out of the ongoing happenings in the world and presents it to you. Interesting enough that I'll be continuing the series... but not for a while.
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce
More about Harry Turtledove...

Other Books in the Series

Darkness (6 books)
  • Darkness Descending (Darkness, #2)
  • Through the Darkness (Darkness, #3)
  • Rulers of the Darkness (Darkness, #4)
  • Jaws of Darkness (Darkness, #5)
  • Out of the Darkness (Darkness, #6)

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