Paul's Reviews > Silence Among the Weapons

Silence Among the Weapons by John Arden
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's review
Dec 09, 10

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bookshelves: booker-prize-finalist, 2010
Read from September 17 to October 08, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I finished Silence Among the Weapons a few days ago. It was a good read, although not nearly as consistant as An Ice-cream War. Really got bogged down in the middle. I will give it 3 stars. In the middle I was quite sure it would not rise above 2 stars, but it finished strong. The main thing that gives An Ice-cream War the edge over Silence is believe-ability and a clear consistant plot. I don't expect complete realism in a novel, but holy cow!

Spoiler alert! I can't explain further without giving things away.

The idea that Ivory, Irene and their various assistants in the theatre would become involved in so many events and happen to be in the right place at the right time is just obsurd. Irene being able to pull off sleeping with the three major military generals of the known world? Nobody is that lucky and atractive, no matter how cunning. She remains loyal to Strychnine the whole time. And nobody figures this out? Her asistant is an invinceable warrior who ends up being the personal gaurd and saving the life of mule-drivers. Even though he hates him and wants to kill him for Irene, but doesn't for no good reason. Horsefury is entirely too skilled a fighter to be believeable. And how does Cuttlefish become the fortune teller for Mule-Driver?

My real issue though is with Ivory. He was way too weak a main charictor when he was in the shadow of Irene and Cuttlefish. I would like to see this story rewriten from Irene's perspective. The novel gained some strength when he got out from under their control. Then the strong part of the novel was plagued by crazy connections. Ivory gets captured by pirates that just happen to remember him from their Ephesus escape and then the pirates just happen to be in the right place to help Mule-Driver. Later he comes to Lanuvium destitute and just happens to find Roscius.

And those are just the biggest convenient happenings.
Don't even get me started on the notched penny people. Here's an idea. Take a penny, hammer, sharp object and make your own dammed notched penny. And if these notched penny people are everywhere and everybody knows about them and wants to be part of them, why can't they take over the world?

I did find it interesting where this fits in history. Several hundred years after the Democratic Spartins, Thermopilia etc. And just 100 years before Jesus. As well as all the overt sexuality and violence as part of every day life. There were a lot of compeling stories in this book and I fear my review focuses mainly on the negative. In the end it was certainly worth reading. Especially, if you can suspend reality more than I.


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09/21/2010 page 6
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