DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age
Edited by Harry Turtledove and Noreen Doyle
Tor / 368p / $25.95
(June 1, 2004)
ISBN: 0765302861 (hardcover)

Book CoverThis surprisingly enjoyable and intelligent anthology ­- surprising because the premise (stories based in "[t]he Bronze Age...era of Troy, of Gilgamesh, of the dawning of human mastery over the earth") is so obviously piggybacked to the otherwise unrelated movie, Troy ­- was released in hardcover in June 2004. With any luck it will be reissued eventually (without a cinematic piggyback ride) in softcover next year. The tome leads off with Geneıs Wolfeıs "The Lost Pilgrim," a tale of a future time-traveler in the wrong time (also included in his spectacular new collection, Innocents Aboard). It ends with the late Poul Andersonıs "The Bog Sword," a story that sends a scientist back to share the mind of an ancestor at the beginning of the end of the Bronze Age. He emerges knowing that, as another character says, "History isnıt melodrama. Itıs tragedy." Between these two tales lie another dozen highly readable historical fantasies. High points include stories by both editors -- Turtledove's take on centaurs in "The Horse of Bronze" and Doyle's Egyptian-based "Ankhtifi the Brave Is Dying" -- as well as Karen Jordan Allen's "Orqo Afloat on the Wilkamayu" set at the foundation of the Incan Empire in the Andes of South America. A few stories stumble, but, overall, itıs definitely worthwhile. (Written for CFQ Oct/Nov issue, 2004)

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Copyright © 2004 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.