cover image Northworld


David Drake. Ace Books, $4.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-441-84830-0

The latest military science fiction from Drake ( Hammer's Slammers ) supplies fast-paced adventure with convincing depth. A planet has been ``stolen,'' a vague concept here, and Commissioner Nils Hansen is assigned to investigate. The prime suspect is Captain North, who prepared the planet for colonization and for whom it is named: Northworld. Hansen arrives in Northworld and his first stop is Diamond, a beautiful and non-violent section where his weapons evaporate, and he is received warmly by a kind populace. Then he is suddenly tossed into the Open Lands--unarmed in a region of almost constant warfare. With brains and strength his greatest assets, Hansen fights Lord Golsingh's appointed champion to win battle armor and a place in the noble's entourage. As Hansen continues his search for Captain North (who has become North the War God), treachery within the world's panoply of gods threatens massive destruction. The story stands on its own, but readers with a taste for literary allusions will enjoy spotting the origins of several key plot points, situations and character types in Norse saga, Greek myth and Arthurian legend. (Apr.)