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Iliumby Dan Simmons
Synopses & Reviews
From the towering heights of Olympos Mons on Mars, the mighty Zeus and his immortal family of gods, goddesses, and demigods look down upon a momentous battle, observing — and often influencing — the legendary exploits of Paris, Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, and the clashing armies of Greece and Troy.
Thomas Hockenberry, former twenty-first-century professor and Iliad scholar, watches as well. It is Hockenberry's duty to observe and report on the Trojan War's progress to the so-called deities who saw fit to return him from the dead. But the muse he serves has a new assignment for the wary scholic, one dictated by Aphrodite herself. With the help of fortieth-century technology, Hockenberry is to infiltrate Olympos, spy on its divine inhabitants...and ultimately destroy Aphrodite's sister and rival, the goddess Pallas Athena.
On an Earth profoundly changed since the departure of the Post-Humans centuries earlier, the great events on the bloody plains of Ilium serve as mere entertainment. Its scenes of unrivaled heroics and unequaled carnage add excitement to human lives devoid of courage, strife, labor, and purpose. But this eloi-like existence is not enough for Harman, a man in the last year of his last Twenty. That rarest of post-postmodern men — an "adventurer" — he intends to explore far beyond the boundaries of his world before his allotted time expires, in search of a lost past, a devastating truth, and an escape from his own inevitable "final tax."
Meanwhile, from the radiation-swept reaches of Jovian space, four sentient machines race to investigate — and, perhaps, terminate — the potentially catastrophic emissions of unexplained quantum-flux emanating from a mountain-top miles above the terraformed surface of Mars.
"Hugo and Stoker winner Simmons (Hyperion) makes a spectacular return to large-scale space opera in this elegant monster of a novel. Many centuries in the future, Earth's small, more or less human population lives an enjoyable, if drone-like existence. Elsewhere, on some alternate Earth, or perhaps it's the distant past, the battle for Troy is in its ninth year. Oddly, its combatants, Hector, Achilles and the rest, seem to be following a script, speaking their lines exactly as Homer reported them in The Iliad. The Gods, who live on Olympus Mons on the planet Mars, may be post-humans, or aliens, or, well, Gods; it isn't entirely clear. Thomas Hockenberry, a late-20th-century professor of the classics from De Pauw University in Indiana, has, along with other scholars from his era, apparently been resurrected by the Gods. His job is to take notes on the war and compare its progress to Homer's tale, noting even the smallest deviations. Meanwhile, the 'moravecs,' a civilization of diverse, partially organic AIs clustered on the moons of Jupiter, have been disturbed by the quantum activity they've registered from the inner solar system and have sent an expedition to Mars to investigate. It will come as no surprise to the author's fans that the expedition's members include specialists in Shakespeare and Proust. Beautifully written, chock full of literary references, grand scenery and fascinating characters, this book represents Simmons at his best." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Dan Simmons launches a new multi-volume epic with Ilium — one that recalls his ambitious Hyperion series — and its opening novel is a doozie, as three colorful plotlines eventually merge in impressive fashion." The Washington Post
"Just as unwieldy and pretentious as it sounds, but Simmons never lets the story get away from him, using copious amounts of wit to keep the action grounded — and utterly addictive." Kirkus Reviews
"Broadly literate sf fans with a high tolerance for uneven pacing will be the readers who are best able to orient themselves. An impressive if not transparently accessible novel, and as such no surprise coming from Simmons." Booklist
"Simmon's imaginative retelling of The Iliad forms the framework for a tale of epic proportions. Ancient themes of love, honor, duty, and courage play out on the stages of the distant past and the even more distant future. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"For answers to the mysteries laid out in Ilium...you will have to wait for the promised sequel. For now, matching wits with Simmons and his lively creations should be reward enough." Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review
"Ilium is a multinarrative novel that entertains, edifies and will have readers perching on the edges of their chairs as they flip pages....[A] well-crafted, entertaining example of what sort of heights a novelist can reach when writing without fear or shame or self consciousness." Denver Post
"A tremendous tale of astonishing breadth and complexity that held its shape and rhythm, despite my months-long journey through nearly 600 pages, stolen a few at a time from the wee small hours when I could read only for myself." BookReporter.com
From the Hugo Award-winning author of the Hyperion Cantos comes the first book of a breathtaking new saga based on the themes of Homer's The Iliad and Shakespeare's The Tempest.
The Trojan War rages at the foot of Olympos Mons on Mars — observed and influenced from on high by Zeus and his immortal family — and twenty-first-century professor Thomas Hockenberry is there to play a role in the insidious private wars of vengeful gods and goddesses. On Earth, a small band of the few remaining humans pursues a lost past and devastating truth — as four sentient machines depart from Jovian space to investigate, perhaps terminate, the potentially catastrophic emissions emanating from a mountaintop miles above the terraformed surface of the Red Planet.
About the Author
Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion and their sequels, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin's Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works including Summer of Night, its sequel A Winter Haunting, and Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. Simmons makes his home in Colorado.
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