The title is the singular word "Revelation," but is often mistakenly pluralized as "Revelations" in popular culture, and not all works of Harry Turtledove are free of this error.
Book of Revelation in "Ils ne passeront pas"Edit
At the Battle of Verdun, certain events described in the Book of Revelation took place. However, the combatants were so numbed to horror, none of them realized what they were witnessing.
According to Revelation 8:1 through 9:19, God, after the opening of the seven seals, issues seven angels a trumpet. When each angel sounded their trumpet, a series of events designed to destroy the Earth were supposed to take place. However, these events were perceived quite differently by French Army soldiers Pierre Barres and Jacques Fonsagrive.
When the first trumpet is sounded hail, fire and blood fall upon the Earth, and a third of its surface, along with a third of its trees and all of its grass, is consumed in flame. (Barres and Fonsagrive thought that the Germans had attached a flamethrower to an aeroplane. The flames thrown around were far less intimidating than an artillery barrage.)
Upon the sounding of the second, a great, flaming mountain falls into the sea. (The two soldiers assumed that the aeroplane had exploded, although Fonsagrive did comment on its similarity to a mountain of fire. It fell harmlessly into the Meuse River.)
With the third, the star Wormwood falls upon a third of the rivers and springs, poisoning them and the many men who drink from them. (The two men thought that Wormwood was simply a parachute flare. Moreover, the smell of wormwood, an ingredient in absinthe, was pervasive. They believed that it was some new German gas weapon.)
With the fourth trumpet, a third of the Sun, Moon and stars darken, leaving a third of the day in darkness. (The crescent moon abruptly vanished. Barres and Fonsagrive attributed this to the effects of the wormwood, and took a nap.)
The fifth trumpet calls down a star from the heavens, which opens the Abyss, darkening the sky with its fumes and unleashing a swarm of scorpion-like locusts. The locusts are commanded not to pursue plantlife of any kind, "but only those men which have not the seal of God on their foreheads," and to torment them for five months as though they had been struck by scorpions, but without death. They had the form of warhorses, with golden crowns, men's faces, women's hair, lions' teeth, iron breastplates, wings and scorpions' tails. They are led by a king, Abaddon. (Barres and Fonsagrive saw a shell fall to Earth. When they saw the locusts, they assumed that the wormwood was still causing them to see things, and simply machine gunned them down. Abaddon took several forms, none of which were familiar to Barres. Barres gunned him down. The German troops across no-man's land, also gunned the locusts and Abaddon down.)
The sixth angel releases the four angels who had been bound to the Euphrates ready to lead an army of 200 million horsemen to slay one third of mankind. (Still believing he was under the influence of wormwood, Barres machine-gunned the horsemen, believing them to be Germans. His comrades also fire with abandon, as did the Germans, eventually killing them all.)
Another angel, "robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face...like the sun, and his legs...like fiery pillars" would open a scroll, and shout, his voice sounding like seven thunders. (A strong rain began, and the two men heard seven thunder claps, although that meant nothing to them.)
In the Book, "in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets." (There was a seventh trumpet blast. The rain turned to hail, and then just stopped. Both Barres and Fonsagrive spoke with an other worldly voice, saying "It is done." While both were mildly surprised, neither pondered this for very long. The Battle of Verdun began again.)
- Biblical Allusions in Turtledove's Work#Book of Revelation, for more minor references.