Sunday, April 10, 2011

Age of Ra by James Lovegrove

Okay, I admit it - I'm a sucker for a pretty face, a hot body, and a flashy book cover. This one caught my eye and, on a whim, I decided to pick it up. If the cover was the tease, then the premise itself was pure temptation.

Imagine a world in which the gods are real, in which they've gone to war, and in which the ancient Egyptian ones have defeated all others. Odin, Zeus, Allah, Jesus . . . all of them, dead and gone. The major powers of the world are still at war (yeah, like that's a surprise!), but under the banners of their own patron Egyptian gods. So, you've got men and women armed with ancient weapons (flails, maces, and sickles), modern weapons (guns, tanks, and planes), magical weapons (god-powered staves and bombs), and even armies of mummies resurrected from the battlefield.

Most of the book follows the adventures of a British Lieutenant, sole survivor of his platoon, who is rescued from the brink of death and taken to Freegypt - an atheist country that doesn't answer to any of the gods. There he encounters the Lightbringer, a masked revolutionary who is leading the atheists of Freegypt into battle to destroy all of the gods. Of course, all is not what it seems, and motives in this war are no more pure than any other.

Ultimately, what sets the books apart from just another Stargate clone are the scenes involving the gods themselves. Lovegrove plays with the stories of the Egyptian mythology and weaves them into his tale very nicely. Incest, bisexuality, homosexuality, and shapeshifting deception all play a role in the petty conflicts that ultimately drive their earth-bound armies. Fun, exciting, and sometimes even profound (without being preachy), this a book worth picking up.