A Tannhauser Novel
by Robert Jeschonek
In the first Tannhauser novel, Rising Sun, Falling Shadows, Robert Jeschonek manages to cram in nearly every character that is part of the Tannhauser game. The tale relates a treasure in Kamchatka that is being pursued by all the factions of the never ending war that is the backdrop of Tannhauser.
It is 1954 and World War I, the Great War, hasn't ended. Discoveries on both sides have led to escalations in technology and magic that have prolonged the war. There are two main sides in the battle. The Reich has allied with the Japanese Shogunate to do battle with the Union (America and western Europe) and the Russian Matriarchy. China is not an active part of the game's story yet.
In Rising Sun, Falling Shadows, the main Union Force has learned that the Japanese are helping the occult division of the Reich to locate a certain object. The Union rushes out a sub to Kamchatka and our heroes head into the heart of the battle, a semi-active volcano.
I am not going to spoil the novel for those of you inclined to read it, but I will say this… The book includes many characters in the Tannhauser game universe; and it keeps each character to their established roles. There are no character surprises and everyone gets to do their part. The main hold out is Eva Kramer - she isn't here.
In my opinion the book is overwritten. By this I mean that there were more words used than needed to tell the story. The book is 350 pages long and you could probably cut out 50 to 75 pages without hurting the story. As a book for writers, The Elements of Style says, "Omit needless words." In my opinion, there are a lot of needless words here.
However, there is an interesting, imaginative story here and I am glad I read it. MacNeal and Tala are well written and have personality that leaps off the page. Von Heizinger exudes evil and malice, but he can't do much more than that. As the villain of the piece, he is not a point of view character and we merely observe him, we don't get into his head. That job falls to Hiruko, a foot soldier in the Japanese army that is dragged through this adventure as he fights for the glory of the Daimyo, the leader of Nippon's military. Hiruko is a good character, honorable and has a good heart. He is not played as a villain.
Itami is also a good character and causes a nice bit of havoc for all involved.
I'll give the book a 7 out of 10. It does it's job, but won't stick with me for long.
For those of you interested, here are the characters that appear in the novel:
- Takeshi 'Taki' Takata - He is the Union POV character and we see much of the book through his eyes.
- Hiruko Orochi - He is the Shogunate POV character and we see much of the book through his eyes.
Character from the game that appear in this book:
- Tala Aponi
- Barry Daniel Brown
- John MacNeal
- Mizu Kage
- Iroh Minamoto 'The Daimyo'
- Hermann Von Heizinger
- Karl Zermann
- Oksana Gusarenko
- Irina Kravchenko