Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Age of Zeus

Its time for another godly pantheon related sci-fi military dystopia by James Lovegrove, The Age of Zeus. And it’s a page turner. Where it took about approx 8-9 days for me to finish Age of Ra; I finished this one within 2 days.

Here is the summary:

The Olympians appeared a decade ago, living incarnations of the Ancient Greek gods on a mission to bring permanent order and stability to the world. Resistance has proved futile, and now humankind isunder the jackboot of divine oppression. Then former London police officer Sam Akehurst receives an invitation too tempting to turn down, the chance to join a small band of geurilla rebels armed with high-tech weapons and battlesuits. Calling themselves the Titans, they square off against the Olympians and their ferocious mythological monsters in a war of attrition which not all of them will survive!

But don't tell the title fool you into thinking this might be some sci-fi mythology. The Age of Zeus isn't a meticulous reinterpretation of age-old myths or some sort of stirring, philosophical treatise on modern society. Instead, this is a wild, action-packed adventure - essentially an excuse to blow up AD&D monsters with power armor. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So this is how the story goes like ten years ago the Olympians appeared. They are living incarnations of the Ancient Greek gods. Using their powers and monstrous creatures straight out of mythology, the Olympians went about saving the world by enslaving it. The divine guardians now rule the world by force. Any who speak out against them die. This is often followed by the Pantheon dishing out harsh discipline. (For example, Hong Kong no longer exists.) Resistance has proved futile. All of humankind now bows to those on Mount Olympus. Those who dare to disagree with anything, wisely keeps silent. Samantha "Sam" Akehurst is a former detective sergeant with the London Metropolitan police force. Sam responds to an invitation for a chance to join a small group of rebels armed with high-tech battlesuits and weapons. Calling themselves the Titans, this group is going to war against the all-mighty gods.

Although the author calls these books part of his Pantheon trilogy, they are not a series and there's no reason why they can't be read individually or in any order. The commonality is that they're variations on a theme. It seems like he had so many ideas of how the basic idea of gods taking over the near-future Earth could play out that he decided to write a few of them.

There was more action and humor than in Age of Ra. While the theme of Ra was "as above so below" or something like that, the theme of this is more a traditional freedom rebellion. There is even an allusion to Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The quesrion is, what price are we willing to pay for peace? Of course the author weighted the story a bit by making the gods, who ended war on Earth by taking total control, do so through violence against innocents, then rub everyone's faces in their helplessness by letting their monsters roam free or using them to punish people who showed signs of rebellion. Innocent children and elderly people where often the victims, a price much harder for people to accept than most.

It didn't have the dreamy reflectiveness of Ra, but much more raw intensity. The characterization is pretty weak. I barely got a sense of who the main characters of Sam and Landesman were, much less the rest of the team. It's much more about the mission, the gods, monsters and technology, and the journey taken by Sam, Landesman and the team in their battle to rid the earth of these "gods."

Age of Zeus is quite different from Ra, though it is closer to what I expected Ra to be with a mixture of low-bro comedy (mythporn says it all with titles that are hilarious in a sick way so to speak, though there is no explicit language beyond those titles but those are quite explicit), monsters and urban combat with enhanced technology, while Ra turned out to be one of the most philosophical mil-sf novel that I've read.

This book on the whole has very few set-up points, and drops you into the action immediately. Note that this book is not for the squeamish, as confrontations with the monsters/gods are depicted in a very graphic manner. The action is intense, fast, and brutal. If you like military sci-fi, this is the book for you. Granted, this book does not do anything amazing or try anything that hasn't been done before, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It is a brilliant combination of modern warfare and Greek mythology. Though the synopsis has the sound of Fantasy, believe me when I say this is Science Fiction. One must read the entire story to fully understand my meaning. Author James Lovegrove's writing style is intense. His plot is creative, impressive, and could almost be called noble - no matter which side of the battle line the reader may mentally stand on. Lovegrove is on his way to greatness.


Genre :      Fiction, Mythology, Sci-fi Military 


Publisher: Solaris


Rate:              5/5 (It was awesome)

2 comments:

  1. I was really interested in Greek Mythology during my teenage years. This book sounds interesting and it is a genre that I have yet to indulge in. Based on your review, I will more than likely pick this one up.

    XOXO,

    TBP

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  2. Same here. Out of all the various pantheons of the world - greek pantheon is the one i'm most familiar with and they are quite interesting to read about too

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