Martin Delrio,
Mechwarrior-Dark Age: A Silence in the Heavens
(Roc, 2003)

A Silence in the Heavens is a pleasurable sci-fi read by Martin Delrio. The book's plot is straightforward with some of the more intriguing points being barely touched upon. The main battle of the book is treated more like a large-scale raid than an all-out war.

The book focuses on a few different main characters as they are drawn into this war. The warfare itself never becomes grim in detail, save for the flashbacks of Ezekiel Crow. Crow is a Paladin sent from the Republic, and that is but one of the many threads that Delrio fails to expand on. Crow arrives and quickly comes to a working arrangement with Duchess Tara Campbell and her right hand, Colonel Griffin. You also see the war from both the defenders' and the invading Steel Wolves' viewpoints. All said there are five different characters whose eyes you see through, and with that diverse a range it can be hard to go into much detail on any particular one.

The entire story is done by sketch, with specific moments giving an idea how things have moved overall. You see the wider story in glimpses; it may be that a greater familiarity with the Battletech/Mechwarrior universe would fill in some of those gaps, but the book itself does not.

The individual characters are well rounded, and the early fight between Anastasia Kerensky and Kal Radick shows her strengths and weaknesses at the same time. Contrasting sharply against most of the main characters is Will Elliot, a scout for the army; he leads his small group but is nowhere as crucial to the war as the others.

Delrio's A Silence in the Heavens is a nice, light read. It will keep you entertained from the first page to the last.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 24 January 2004

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