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    Review of NORTHWORLD by David Drake (see his website)


    ACE, 1990

    Commissioner Nils Hansen, policeman of the 'Consensus' is drafted from his normal job as head of an elite futuristic swat team to track down a mysteriously missing planet--the Northworld of the series title. Hansen finds himself dropped into a series of worlds, some peaceful, some futuristically militaristic, and one a sort of medieval teutonic/Icelandic fantasy with artifically intelligent armor and weapon systems. Hansen has the military skills to stay alive under virtually any circumstances, but when these circumstances include literal gods, the equation is definitely changed.

    Author David Drake (see more reviews of novels by Drake) uses Icelandic myth has the basis for this story and it works. Hansen is a little too perfect, but the Icelandic elements provide some plot twists that probably wouldn't occur to the average writer (and certainly not to the average reader). The ambiguous ending develops a bit of a zip.

    Drake is at his best in action scenes, and there are plenty in NORTHWORLD. Hansen's futuristic SWAT action at the beginning and his military restructuring of the wild norse-style warriors form the highlights of the story. Cut-aways to the gods are occasionally confusing (the doings of the gods are always confusing though, so we can blame this on Drake's source material), and don't add as much to the story as they could. The final action scene is a bit of a let-down given the superior battles that had occured earlier, but Drake's conclusion left me feeling satisfied--but wanting more.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 5/05/03

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