Past Imperative by Dave Duncan (The Great Game)

An upper class young man on trial for murder in WWI England finds his destiny entwined with a girl on the road with a traveling troupe of actors in an alternate vaguely medieval world ruled by capricious and contentious gods.

I really enjoy Dave Duncan’s writing–he’s imaginative and not afraid of getting a little literary, and always comes up with great characters. Past Imperative (Round One of the Great Game) was a welcome departure from the usual epic fantasy in that half of the book is a murder mystery set in England.

Since it’s hard to sum up the first book in a series, I’ll let this review suffice for now. I’m about to dive into Present Tense so I’ll see if it keeps up the momentum.

5 thoughts on “Past Imperative by Dave Duncan (The Great Game)”

  1. Yey Dave! I can’t remember if I read this whole series or not. If I did, it was less memorable than his later work. You really should look into the Blades series as well.


    Start with Paragon Lost. They are stand-alone books that overlap, so it’s best to still read in order of publishing. It’s the stories of graduates of a swordfighting school that the king or rich people can buy to be magically bound to them. Sky of Swords was frustrating though. Can’t tell you (spoil you) why. And, FYI, don’t touch West of January with ten foot pole.

  3. King’s blade series is more viceral, this is more esoteric, plus much of this series seems to drag not because it is boring but because it is so very mundane….which is part of what make your hair stand on end later….realizing that this offers a paralell motivation to events arount WWI. in that way it is more honest that tolkien, before it wisks you away into the “otherside”

    where the kings blades is more of a spagetti western set in henry the VIIIth’s time. which he also did extremly well with a flare that the genre normally lacks

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