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Like Mayflies in a Stream [Kindle Edition]

Shauna Roberts
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
You Save: $7.96 (67%)

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Book Description

In the great city of Uruk, there is no peace when Gilgamesh is restless, and he is never at rest. Shamhat, a priestess of Inanna, goes into the wilderness to find and civilize a match for Uruk's violently active God-King. Like Mayflies in a Stream brings new life to the Epic of Gilgamesh, diving into one of the earliest conflicts between civilization and wilderness, civic order and freedom, romance and sexuality. A book of the Hadley Rille Books Archaeology Series.

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Editorial Reviews


"Like Mayflies in a Stream is fast-paced, crisp and vivid from the outset, depicting events, characters and scenes (particularly battle scenes) with a visceral and almost cinematographic style. ... Despite the entertaining narrative, Like Mayflies in a Stream is based on historical scholarship that encompasses the greater cultural landscape of Sumer and its people's lifestyles. In particular, the novel addresses the difficulties facing women. ... I thoroughly enjoyed this book and became drawn into its world; it's a rattling good yarn with characters we care for in situations that make us feel for them." --HerStoria magazine
"I was caught in the flow of the narrative. Roberts realizes her players well, showing multiple sides to mythic characters, and the details she puts into this historical re-imagining of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" really bring the story to life. ... The emotional and political twists and turns are best experienced firsthand. I recommend this novel for both its fast pacing and insightfulness, as well as for its historical grounding, and I look forward to more from Hadley Rille Books' Archaeology Series." --GUD Magazine

Product Details

  • File Size: 369 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Hadley Rille Books (November 6, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004BA5GK4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction at its Best November 4, 2009
Shamhat is one the strongest female protagonists you will find in a book of fiction, but she isn't a child of the sixties or a modern feminist. She is a priestess and servant of the goddess Inanna, tending to her temple duties in Mesopotamia in 2800 BCE. In Shauna Roberts' LIKE MAYFLIES IN A STREAM, Shamhat struggles to preserve faithfulness to her goddess, a task that conflicts with the personality of King Gilgamesh, who focuses on lust and feats of strength rather than the good of his people.

Shamhat's conflict results from two dreams, one received by Inanna's chief priest, Nanna-Ur-Sag, and another, one received by Gilgamesh himself. From his dream, Nanna-Ur-Sag believes that a powerful man from the desert is destined to restore order, balance, and justice to Uruk. Gilgamesh, on the other hand, believes that a powerful man from the desert is destined to be the one companion strong enough to complete his restless and reckless personality.

A wild man, Enkidu, indeed lives in the desert, but to lure him into the city--Shamhat's mission as dictated by Gilgamesh--the priestess must lose the trappings of her holy office and use her highly advanced sexual artifice, usually used only on a sacredd feast day of Inanna, to humanize Enkidu and convince him to journey from the desert to the city. If she is successful, however, will Enkidu fulfill the vision of Gilgamesh's dream, or that of Nanna-Ur Sag's?

A lesser writer might well have lost the narrative structure of such a novel in trying to execute a plot faithful to ancient Sumerian customs and terminology.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Historical Fiction January 2, 2010
Years ago, while in college, I was required to read The Epic of Gilgamesh for Freshmen World Civilization. I remembered liking the story, but the writing style made the book a chore to get through. If LIKE MAYFLIES IN A STREAM were available back then, it would have made all the difference in the world to that college freshmen.

Shauna Roberts writes with such detail that you feel as if you are in the ancient city of Uruk, seeing the sights, hearing the noise, and smelling the smells of the city and desert where the wild man, Enkidu, resides. Told from the perspective of Priestess Shamhat, a fascinatingly strong female character, LIKE MAYFLIES IN A STREAM makes you forget that you're getting a history lesson. This novel will suck you in and transport you back to a time and civilization that is still a mystery in many ways.

It is a entertaining read that should be required reading for today's World Civilization classes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! September 20, 2010
Forget history. Forget accuracy and detail. This retelling of The Epic of Gilgamesh is a simply fantastic novel. The writing is clean and compelling, the storytelling brilliant. There's plenty of action, a kind and sensitive heart to the story and one of the best heroines I've ever encountered.

Okay, now the history. Now the accuracy and detail. Like Mayflies in a stream is one of the best historicals I've read, especially considering the period in which it's set. Shauna Roberts clearly knows her stuff. Better still, she manages not to dump her knowledge in our laps. Instead she creates a subtle, thorough and convincing portrait of this lost world, seamlessly bringing the modern reader into a culture very different from our own. It's an impressive feat of literary sleight-of-hand. Just beautifully done.

From start to finish, Like Mayflies in a Stream swept me up and refused to let me go...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings the Past to Life January 16, 2013
By Mary K.
Shauna Roberts brings to life an era and culture that I previously knew almost nothing about. Her prose is lean and clean, her description elegant, and the characters well-developed. She has taken her knowledge of archeology and anthropology to tell us an entertaining as well as enlightenting story of one of the great figures of ancient Mesopotamia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Sumer Lives Again November 27, 2011
By SiamSam
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Prior to reading Dr. Shauna Robert's "Like Mayflies in a Stream" all that I knew of ancient Mesopotamia was a picture of a fossilized footprint in my set of childrens' encyclopedias, the fabulous ziggurat at Ur, a small section of pre-rolled characters in my beloved D&D Legends and Lore book and a few days of study in my Mythology 101 class in high school. Dr Roberts, who has a clear passion for the subject, brings it all back to life in this revisitation of the story of Enkidu from the wild and Gilgamesh.

Similar to Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code", Dr. Roberts skillfully integrates mythological characters with invented ones sprinkled with a learned primer of life and culture in ancient Mesopotamia. The reader gets a taste of it all, from fabrics and textures to foods and drinks the ancients prepared and enjoyed. She also attempts to "normalize" the mythologicals a bit by making them more mortal and removing some of their more superhuman aspects (for example, I recall from my old reading that Shamhat made love to Enkidu for six days and nights as she integrated him into human culture--it doesn't quite happen that way in the book though that would have been way cool).
Dr. Roberts does an amazing job depicting Gilgamesh, the great hero of the Sumerian pantheon. As I recall, Gilgamesh was a real wildcard, helping one moment and creating chaos the next. The Gilgamesh in the story embodies that chaos, wrestling, racing and beating his people into submission.

I highly recommend "Like Mayflies in a Stream" to any who enjoy a good bit of fiction and romance, mixed in with a literal journey through a rich but forgotten culture.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written!
Before starting this book, I knew nothing about The Epic of Gilgamesh. While I love reading about archaeology and archaeologists, I've shied away from books attempting to actually... Read more
Published on June 7, 2012 by Lynn Franklin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent book by a really good author. The writing style makes you feel as if you are right there in the story with the characters. Very easy to read, superb description. Read more
Published on May 6, 2012 by Jahslave
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, visceral, immediate historical fiction
Like Mayflies In A Stream retells the story of Gilgamesh from the point of view of Shamhat, the priestess of Inanna sent "civilize" the wild man Enkidu and bring him back to be... Read more
Published on June 17, 2011 by Heather
4.0 out of 5 stars A Multi-Faceted Myth
While I found the cover off-putting for a handful of reasons, once inside I was caught in the flow of the narrative. Read more
Published on March 15, 2011 by Kaolin Fire
5.0 out of 5 stars Both retells and re-imagines The Epic of Gilgamesh. Well done
King Gilgamesh is powerful and beloved by his god, but he's a menace to Urek, the greatest city in the world. Read more
Published on August 3, 2010 by booksforabuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildman Tames King Gilgamesh
Plot summary: Set in ancient Sumeria, King Gilgamesh is a bad king to his city. So a priestess is sent out to the desert to bring back a wild man, who is supposed to be as big as... Read more
Published on April 28, 2010 by David M. Brasington
5.0 out of 5 stars History Made Alive
I highly recommend "Like Mayflies in a Stream." The book is a retelling of certain aspects of the Gilgamesh legend, but it's told primarily from the point of view of the woman... Read more
Published on October 27, 2009 by Charles Gramlich
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected pleasure
When I read the back cover blurb that this novel would be "archeologically accurate" I died a little inside, expecting a dry, boring plod through the dusty shelves of... Read more
Published on October 8, 2009 by Grady Hendrix
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More About the Author

Shauna Roberts (1956-) was born in Dayton, Ohio, and grew up in nearby Beavercreek. Since receiving degrees in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), she has been a science and medical writer and copyeditor. Currently a resident of California, she also writes historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. She is a 2009 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop and was the 2011 winner of the Speculative Literature Foundation's Older Writer Grant.

Readers, please be aware that the fantasy novel Twisted Fate: Heather and Andon, published by the vanity press Publish America and credited to Shauna Roberts, is NOT by the multi-award-winning writer Shauna Roberts, whose author page this is.


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