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Icarus and the Wing Builder Paperback – June 12, 2014
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"I have read a lot of scholarly sources on the Bronze Age Aegean, and none has given me such a vivid picture of the ancient Aegean as the one I had from reading this story. Other than archaeological evidence, mythology is one of the main sources of information that we have for the ancient world. So even though this book is myth-based, it reads very much like a historical fiction." J. Johanis, author
About the Author
Robert Case has always been fascinated with the goddesses, heroes, and gods of Greek mythology, especially the very human legend of Icarus. Even as a youth, the author knew there had to be more to the story. Dropping out of college in the early 1970's, Bob traveled to the Aegean islands of the eastern Mediterranean for the first time, drawn to the land and its cultures, the beauty and the turmoil. There, he fell in love and began the research that would evolve into this first volume of a trilogy about the rise and fall of the Minoan civilization. Their fascinating history is the story that gave rise to the legend of Atlantis.
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Icarus and the Wing Builder is a solid novel that resides in the historical fiction genre. In the prologue, Case mentions that the historical record, if it can be called that, of Icarus and Daedalus (the wing builder) is very lacking. In fact, it seems all we really know is that Daedalus built the wings, and then Icarus used what Charlie Hunnam's detestable character in the film Cold Mountain aptly calls "the confidence of youth" to go and get himself killed. That's it. (Of course that's not it. Human flight is something that has always captivated the attention of nearly everyone. To prove this point, during pilot training, our instructors told the story of a few student pilots who crashed and died while having fun in a rental plane over a weekend, and then our instructors provided a home video that some random family took with an air of "look at that plane!" only moments before it slammed into the side of a cliff off camera. The lesson-there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old and bold pilots. ...Re-focusing then...)
Robert has a passion for Greece, a passion for history, and a passion for the plethora of imagery and lessons this unforgettable story has buried within it. As we all know, however, passion isn't always enough. That's what sets Case apart. He has already established himself as a credible speaker and storyteller, having been awarded as such by groups who award such things. Icarus and the Wing Builder (which is the first book of a trilogy he is calling The Minoan Trilogy) is the tasty treat created by this combination of passion and skill.
Sure, you could probably go your whole life without reading this book and not be too much the worse for it, but you would be worse. That's because Case's book is ultimately about hope. Hope, that pesky concept that just won't go away no matter how hard we try to blot it out.
Why did Daedalus and Icarus want to fly? Robert would answer that question by asking, "Why did you first want to fly? Because you know you did." And this fire that is so aptly illustrated by man's dream to soar through the sky-this hope-needs constant tending.
Getting into specifics now, let's bring ol' Mark Twain into the picture. I am a big fan of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, to include the last published prequel The Deerslayer. Mark Twain was not. In fact, Twain wrote a hilarious review of Cooper in which he says Cooper violates eighteen of the "nineteen rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction."* The first rule Cooper apparently violated, the one that is relevant to my eventual point here, is "that a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere."* Ever since reading this criticism of Cooper I have kept an eye out for tales which neither accomplish anything, nor arrive anywhere. You can imagine as I was editing Icarus and the Wing Builder that I was anxious to discover how Robert's story measured up. Let me be the first to say that Case's tale definitely does not break this rule. The book is chocked full of action, and Case never strays too far from the main storyline. The storyline being, of course, Daedalus and Icarus find themselves paired together by a twist of fate and in need of an escape. Along the way they run into several great characters, to include Naucreta, a former courtesan to King Minos. Case uses this book to flex a variety of writing skills. He plays it safe over all, but clearly has a firm grasp on palpable settings and landscapes, authentic dialogues, and likable characters whose trials and tribulations reflect those each of us face to a lesser degree in our own lives.
In the end, Icarus and the Wing Builder is a page-turning account of the events that led up to and surrounded that first flight. It is entertaining, sometimes surprising, and always well-written. Read it. And then join me in waiting for the movie.
Overall, I loved the trust that was built between Daedalus and his adopted son Icarus. They had a real true son and father bond that was unbreakable.
An imaginative reinterpretation of the Dadaelus myth.
Most recent customer reviews
I expected a re-telling of Icarus and the "wing-thing". What I got was a re-imagining of the whole deal, told in a way that should be...Read more