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.