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Mythic Tales: City of the Gods Vol1 (Volume 1) Paperback – January 26, 2012
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Joining Verne and Mercere are writers Ken St. Andre, Jefferson Swycaffer, Anita Martinez, Jay Allen Sanford, Robert Kassebaum, Randy Lindsay, and Wendall Brown.
Each contributor pens their own unique style on the gods and mortals which lives in the City and its surrounding realms.
Tales of D'Molay, Mazu, Sekhmet and her companion Tenh-Mer, Glaucus, and others from the novel are along side stories of Bast, Coyote, a Jaguari named J'aith, and two mortal boys: Nianzu and Parham.
Also included are two forgotten tales from Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker, adding to the rich flavor of this compilation. And there is a sneak peek of the next City of the Gods novel: Guardian.
As with the first novel, fantastic illustrations from Steve Crompton, Liz Danforth, and Gustave Dore fill the book, giving a sense of completeness to the stories presented.
Mythic Tales is an excellent starting place to the City of the Gods. One does not need to read the novel first.
But rest assure, you will want to afterward.
City of the Gods: Forgotten
City of the Gods: Map Pack
First of all, the different mythologies of the world are cleverly used and combined to create a unique, coherent fantasy universe, with its main characters, plots, factions, and of course an underlying intrigue/mystery that will probably lead you to buy all the other books :-)
Secondly, most of the short stories are well written, funny, creative, and sometimes quite mad. Randy Lindsay's Coyote's Tale is a good example. You will see how Coyote, the Native American Trickster God, follows three young Norse gods, abducts the slave girl they brought along, sneaks into their secret keep and steals back a great totem under the very nose of all the nordic gods and... but I don't want to spoil the story.
Have you heard about Mordecai, the bat-man, and his stalactapipe organ? Or about the secret war between Mafdet, goddess of the cats, and Anubis, the jackal-headed god? How D'Molay, a freelance thief and main character of the whole intrigue, stole the Orb of Ra and somehow managed to stay alive and avoid being caught in another feud between gods?
Mythic Tales: City of the Gods merely hints at the many mysteries of the fantasy world created by M. Scott Verne and Wynn Mercere. If you play RPGs, I've heard you could even buy a campaign book complete with maps.
You will also find a short story by Edgar Allan Poe and one by Bram Stoker in the anthology. While I enjoyed reading both, I think they should not have been included in the book, because they are unrelated to the City of the Gods, and their style and general tone is quite out of place in an otherwise rather cheeky anthology. I much prefer the verve of Ken St. Andre (who is, inter alia, the creator of the Tunnels & Trolls RPG) or the humor of Jefferson P. Swycaffer, to take but two examples.
All in all, solid quality and a good buy.