A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement includes these three novels:
The Valley of Bones
The Soldier's Art
The Military Philosophers
- The Valley of Bones heralds the beginning of the war and Jenkins' life in the military. We find Jenkins, a thirty something year old second-lieutenant in an infantry regiment trying to now adapt to the new rules and regulations which now constitute his life in the military. We are also given more information about the life of Widmerpool who has managed to get promoted to the Divisional Headquarters. Brief appearances of some of the earlier characters make their way into this book but it is the introduction of a host of new characters who give a glimpse of the people caught up in the struggle for preparation for war.
- The Soldier's Art. Jenkins is now firmly entrenched in the military life with Widmerpool as his direct superior. The characteristics shown previously are now fully on display and making life interesting to say the least. A brief appearance by one of my favorite characters, Charles Stringham, is made in a very unexpected role. A few of Jenkins' old friends, such as Moreland, also make appearances but mostly we are introduced to a new cast of characters to get to know.
- The Military Philosophers introduced still more characters and takes us through to the end of the war. We have seen many of the people we were introduced to in earlier books killed, forge new alliances, romances and even a few marriages.
The last novel in this book just didn't appeal to me as much as the others did. I really missed the earlier friends, wanted to know how they were getting on and what was new in their lives but sadly barely got a mention of their names during this time period. Conversely, I saw way too much of Widmerpool, my least favorite character. He is that person we all know, the self-centered, arrogant yet competent and extremely ambitious guy that will gladly step on you to get further ahead. Overall, I am really impressed with the sequence so far. Powell's ability to keep track of the numerous characters each with their own comings and goings is amazing.
Originally published on www.chapterofdreams.com