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City of the Gods: Forgotten Paperback – January 24, 2011
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Our hero, a freeman called D'Molay, notices Aavi's entry into the world, and gets involved in helping her. Getting involved is always dangerous-in this case it leads to D'Molay being sucked into several quests and a war between the gods Set and Ares.
But, let's talk about the setting. The premise behind this novel is that all the ancient pagan gods of Earth had to leave our world behind and go somewhere else to live. They are still immortal, and retain their godly powers, but they can no longer interfere with or control our world. They live in an alternate world of undetermined size-it doesn't actually seem very big . Our protagonists travel back and forth across it just a few days of travel. There is a central metropolis on an island in the middle of a circular lake. The shores of the lake are divided into wedge-shaped realms (for lack of a better term) in which the gods of different pantheons hold sway. There is a Greek realm, an Egyptian realm, an Asiatic realm, an American realm, a Celtic realm and so forth. Theoretically every different realm should be represented, but of course the authors do not have room in their novel to represent that kind of diversity-they stick to just a few gods and goddesses that are fairly well known to the educated reader. The only real surprise was Mazu the Asian water goddess-I had never heard of her before. In this bizarre afterlife, there are plenty of humans. Most of them are servants/slaves of the deities they worshipped in life. They can live a long time, but they are not immortal. There is no clue as to what happens to the souls of mortals that die in this realm. Our hero, D'Molay, is a free man. He earns his living by doing errands for different deities, but he is not beholden to any of them. There aren't many free men in the Realm of the Gods, and that makes him valuable as an agent to different deities at different times.
In the course of the novel, Aavi is lost, enslaved, tortured, rescued, and finally her secret is revealed. D'Molay plays a big part in all these events, and he falls in love with her. He loves her so much that he would literally die for her. This is a pretty good adventure story. D'Molay is no Conanesque hero, but he's respectable for a mortal man as far as heroes go. But that's not really what the novel is all about. I'm not going to tell you, dear Reader, what is really going on. If you want to find out, you'll need to buy the novel and read it.
The City of the Gods exemplifies the finest kind of amateur writing, illustrating, and publishing. Most of the fantasies published by the big publishing companies aren't half as well done as this tale of amnesia in "heaven". In addition to a strong story, the reader also gets a phantasmagoria of classical art photoshopped into new and amazing panoramas that illustrate the story.
We live in an age when any moderately talented person can create and produce his or her own book/art/motion picture. I've done it myself, so it can't be that hard. Often this material is far more original and creative than the formula-driven pap that the big corporate publishers offer us. Even the best work of amateurs is fortunate to find a few dozen, hundred, or thousand readers/viewers/fans. The only publicity that City of the Gods will get is what the creators can produce for themselves on the internet-and perhaps a few reviews like this one. That's a shame. It deserves an audience of millions. It's that good.
--Ken St. Andre
I expected the same book but with the advantages of an electronic reader, however since I started reading I noticed differences; the first one was that the images were in color and then realized that there were a lot more images in the electronic version than my hardprint version. Add to it that the plot is great and the storytelling keeps you glued to the book. I love it.
I'm glad that I bought both versions.
There's even a rather nice map (and we all know how much I like maps!). The tiny quibble here is that this very handy map is tucked away at the very back of the book.
It's an interesting world, sort of an adjunct to Purgatory, a world where the Gods have gone after they left Earth. All the classic Mythologies are here: Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, Mayan, Chinese, and so forth. Although we meet many of the best known Deities of Myth, what's nice is that several of the lesser Deities are also given the spotlite: Zepherus, Eros, Sektmet, etc. In this realm, the various pantheons each have a Kingdom and also a quarter of the City of the Gods, which is on an island in the middle. Most inhabitants live only to serve the Gods and are immortal here until killed- or sacrificed.
Our Hero is not such a servant however, he is one of the few "Freemen" who serve no specific Deity of Pantheon. He is D'Molay and yes, many of us will have a good idea of who he was in his mortal life, although that is revealed later in the book. D'Molay makes for a good hero; brave, a good fighter, loyal, but still flawed.
The story starts when a beautiful girl falls naked out of the sky, almost at D'Molays feet. Who is she? Why does she have no navel? Why do all the Evil gods want her?
The dialog is a bit stilted. Hard to tell if that is due to the newishness of the authors, or it's part of the style.
Anyway, the book is a great read for those who like to read about the later doings of the classic Deities , or for those who just want a rousing adventure.
Note that I rcvd a review copy.
It has that look and feel of old illustrated books about mythology or legends, except that both the illustrations and the layout were mostly computer-made.
In a way, it looks like the modern version of a classic fairy tales book.
The same can be said, mutatis mutandis, of the book's content.
A classic story of epic combats and romantic love, and of heroes and gods, it is also an initiatory journey, much as the Odyssey, with unexpected developments.
The reader progressively learns who the main character is, who he once was and how he evolves.
The story becomes richer and the pace quicker as it progresses, and you find yourself at the end of the book before long.
A story about imaginary beings in a fantasy world, the novel is also about the cruel (sometimes "adult") realities of the world, and about mankind striving to rise above that world, longing for purity.
It is also, I believe, the first novel written by M. Scott Verne and Wynn Mercere: a promising debut!