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A Dance to the Music of Time: Third…
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A Dance to the Music of Time: Third Movement, Autumn

by Anthony Powell

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745918,902 (4.18)46
  1. 01
    The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh (thorold)
    thorold: Evelyn Waugh's Sword of honour trilogy covers much the same ground as the 3rd quarter of A dance to the music of time, based on their authors' experiences as slightly elderly and very unmilitary junior officers during World War II.
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The Valley of Bones

The Soldier's Art 4 stars

Sullen reverberations of one kind or another - blitz in England, withdrawal in Greece - had been providing the most recent noises-off in rehearsals that never seemed to end, breeding a wish that the billed performance would at last ring up its curtain, whatever form that took. However, the date of the opening night rested in hands other than our own; meanwhile nobody could doubt that more rehearsing, plenty more rehearsing, was going to be needed for a long time to come.

The book starts with Nick buying an army greatcoat at a shop that is a theatrical costumier as well as supplying uniforms, and throughout this book Nick sees himself as being in the wings rehearsing for a real part in the war, although he still posted to Northern Ireland in a port city that is regularly bombed. But when he is on leave in London during the Blitz, the reality of war its home when relatives and friends are killed in the bombing.

Nick is embarrassed when Stringham turns up as his mess waiter and is upset when his meddling leads Widmerpool to transfer him to a Mobile Laundry unit which is about to be sent abroad, although Widmerpool can't see what Nick is fussing about. Nick is finding army life dull and is chafing to get away from Widmerpool who is constantly scheming to get his own way over his rivals, but seems destined to being posted to another dull job at the Infantry Training Centre until he is sent a lifeline at the very end of the book.

The Military Philosophers ( )
  isabelx | Dec 29, 2015 |
I'm reading Anthony Powell's 12-book "A Dance to the Music of Time" this year, one book per month. This volume contains books seven, eight and nine, which I'm reading in July, August and September. I'm reviewing the books as I go.

I was disappointed with "The Valley of Bones," which was my least favorite of the series of so far. Our narrator, Nick Jenkins, is now in the Army at the start of World War II. I didn't find his Army buddies particularly interesting... the only bright spots of this book were his leave trip to visit his family and the ending, where he renews his association with the ever-present Widmerpool. Powell has was perhaps too successful in portraying Nick's boredom with his military "career" because I was bored with it as well. I'm hopeful the next installment will be more interesting. 3 stars.

I enjoyed "The Soldier's Art" much more than the previous installment, even though there was still a focus on World War II. I find I enjoy our narrator Nick much more at his dinner parties as opposed to his activities while soldiering. This installment takes place during the London Blitz, which has tragic consequences for a few of the characters. 4 stars.

I'll admit I've grown weary of the war years, so "The Military Philosophers" was a bit of a slog. The final 50 or so pages made up for it, even though several events were pretty well foreshadowed so it was easy to see them coming. Definitely not my favorite book in the series. 3 stars. ( )
  amerynth | Sep 21, 2014 |
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.
( )
  mlbelize | Jan 27, 2014 |
This omnibus volume contains three of Anthony Powell's novels, The Valley of Bones", "The Soldier's Art", and "The Military Philosophers". The whole work, with its twelve scenes, is a great portrait of British Life in the Mid Twentieth Century and should not be missed by those desiring to be well-read. Powell, an editor at Faber and Faber was well placed to observe most of the social currents of the time and had the eye to see them. though his writing is all from the POV of one character Nick Jenkins, that person would be a valuable friend to all those he was in contact with. There's too much for a short review. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 29, 2013 |
Valley of Bones reviewed here:

http://kaggsysbookishramblings.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/recent-reads-the-valley-...

The Soldier's Art reviewed here:

http://kaggsysbookishramblings.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/recent-reads-the-soldier...

(Incidentally this one was so good it made me up my star rating to 5!)

The Military Philosophers reviewed here:

http://kaggsysbookishramblings.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/recent-reads-the-militar... ( )
  kaggsy | Jul 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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For Arthur and Rosemary
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Snow from yesterday's fall still lay in patches and the morning air was glacial.
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Omnibus volume of:

7 -- The Valley of Bones;
8 -- The Soldier’s Art; and
9 -- The Military Philosophers.

NOTE: The Simon Vance audiobook, combined here, is unabridged.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226677176, Paperback)

Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.
In this third volume of A Dance to the Music of Time, we again meet Widmerpool, doggedly rising in rank; Jenkins, shifted from one dismal army post to another; Stringham, heroically emerging from alcoholism; Templer, still on his eternal sexual quest. Here, too, we are introduced to Pamela Flitton, one of the most beautiful and dangerous women in modern fiction. Wickedly barbed in its wit, uncanny in its seismographic recording of human emotions and social currents, this saga stands as an unsurpassed rendering of England's finest yet most costly hour.

Includes these novels:
The Valley of Bones
The Soldier's Art
The Military Philosophers

"Anthony Powell is the best living English novelist by far. His admirers are addicts, let us face it, held in thrall by a magician."—Chicago Tribune

"A book which creates a world and explores it in depth, which ponders changing relationships and values, which creates brilliantly living and diverse characters and then watches them grow and change in their milieu. . . . Powell's world is as large and as complex as Proust's."—Elizabeth Janeway, New York Times

"One of the most important works of fiction since the Second World War. . . . The novel looked, as it began, something like a comedy of manners; then, for a while, like a tragedy of manners; now like a vastly entertaining, deeply melancholy, yet somehow courageous statement about human experience."—Naomi Bliven, New Yorker

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Donated by Mrs A Condren, Archivist 1985-2001 (ABB55453). A dance to the music of time, Volume 3.

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