City of the Gods–the Book   2 comments

Aavi, the gorgeous blonde, spends more time outside the city than in it.

City of the Gods is an epic fantasy about the loss of faith and what that can do to a man’s spirit.  It starts out as a take on the Pygmalion legend–what would happen if a statue came to life, and a man fell in love with her/it.  It starts out as an epic tale of  gods and pantheons in conflict.  It starts out as a quest for identity–Aavi–not her real name–does not remember very much–she can walk and talk, but that’s about it.  She doesn’t even remember food and how to eat.  As you can tell, a lot of different things are going on here, and it’s not all on the surface.

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.  The original chapbook that I reviewed last year shows some of this amazing art in color–a feast for the eyes and the spirit of the reader.  The realities of publishing a 300 page novel have reduced that art to gray-scale for the interior, but it’s still gorgeous work.  Whenever I see a job well done, I like to salute the person that did it.  I take this opportunity to tip my hat and express admiration for my friend Steven S. Crompton for the way he has arranged this work.

I haven’t said much about the authors M. Scott Verne and Wynn Mercer.  They are also friends of mine and I know a secret about them that I am not at liberty to reveal.  One thing I can say–those names are pseudonyms.

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.

I’m in position to receive a lot of free books as review copies.  The authors probably would have given me a copy.  I bought my copy.  It’s worth buying and it will have an honored place in my personal fantasy collection until I die.  Go, thou, and buy your own copy.  If you like fantasy at all,  you won’t regret it.


Posted March 11, 2011 by atroll in Uncategorized

2 responses to “City of the Gods–the Book

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  1. Sounds like an interesting read. I’ve actually heard of Mazu, but only because I saw a short cultural segment on CCTV that told all about her.

  2. Pingback: City of the Gods Revisited « Atroll's Entertainment

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