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The dragon of the Ishtar Gate Paperback – 1982


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Donning; Reprint edition (1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898651964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898651966
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,426,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Slater on September 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have discussed this book in a review of the paperback edition, in which I addressed some of the issues raised by previous reviewers. In this review I will point out some other characteristics of interest to possible readers.

This is an adventure novel, set during the reign of Xerxes, Originally published in 1961, it was the third written, and earliest in chronological order, of five loosely-related historical novels. The others are: "An Elephant for Aristotle" (1958), in the reign of Alexander the Great, involving a trek across Asia with a rather large gift for the philosopher; "The Bronze God of Rhodes" (1960), in which the background is the struggle among Alexander's successors, with the construction of the Colossus of Rhodes only one of the incidents; "The Arrows of Hercules" (1965), a story of war and military inventions in the time of Plato; and, finally, "The Golden Wind" (1969), concerning sea-borne trade and exploration in Hellenistic times.

"Dragon" is probably closest in mood to de Camp's fantasy novels, while "Bronze God" and "Arrows" are closer to his science fiction, with their description of engineering problems, and personality clashes among researchers and engineers. "Dragon" also reflects de Camp's then-recent acquaintance with the Conan stories and other works of Robert E. Howard. Bessas, the huge Persian nobleman, is not only a close match for Conan in physique, but his mood swings, fixation on his mother, and tendency to toss off verses, seems a reflection of Howard himself. (Fortunately, his poems reflect de Camp's verbal dexterity and wit, not Howard's melancholy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Austin Bruce Hallock on July 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
A great romp with lots of solid historical background. This is NOT fantasy, though the cover might lead one to think so. There are a couple of wizards and magicians, but their supernatural powers lie only in their own heads. The setting is the Persian Empire of Xerxes after his defeat at the hands of the Greeks, mid-5th century BCE. The action moves from Persia, through Assyria, the Levant, and Egypt, and into darkest Africa. Some of the daring-do is a bit implausible, and the mores of the early 1960s (when the book was written) occasionally poke through the costumes, but on the whole the work is very well researched, and rather fun for anyone who knows more than a little about this era. De Camp was a respected historian, as well as science-fiction and fantasy writer. Unfortunately, his straight historical novels are not so well known; all are currently out of print.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is to bad that L. Sprague De Camp is not still producing such wonderful books like this.
He describes the history of the Greeks, Persians and other nation states in a wonderful and colorful story.
While much of what he has written is speculation it is speculation based on the best available historical knowledge and research.
His take on the Kingdoms within the Persian Empire and their problems with cohesiness and communications is effectively the core or this adventurous story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this 1950s-era boy-fantasy swashbuckling tale. Recommended for lovers of humor and adventure. I am guessing that Terry Pratchett got some of his inspiration for Rincewind and his early Discworld novels from reading this book.
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