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And can you see?

Seer Book Cover Seer
Titanomachy #1
S E Welsh
Fantasy, Mythology
Luminosity Publishing LLP
May 22, 2020
252

A Seer has surfaced-but she's blind! Chloe Santos is an immortal with a whole world of problems. She's blackmailed into investigating a kidnapping with links to her past. It could put herself, and everyone she cares about, in danger. Chloe Santos is an immortal with a whole world of problems. The victim of an attempted murder that left her blind, horribly disfigured, and stuck with powers everyone thought eradicated, it's safe to say she's at a low point in her life. But then she's blackmailed into investigating a kidnapping with links to her past. It could put herself, and everyone she cares about, in danger. Including her Warrior Soulmate. Phobos has a millennia of blood on his hands. As the son of Ares, he's done horrific things in the name of keeping the continued existence of immortals a secret. Only all of that changes when he meets his Soulmate. Allegiances shift, trust is thin and Chloe has to decide if she should risk everything to make the world a better place. Even if that means sacrificing her own chance at happiness. READER ADVISORY: This Paranormal Romance contains a strong-willed goddess and her protective Warrior Soulmate who don't appreciate the term 'vanilla' when it comes to the bedroom.

Nice to know that the Greek Gods/Goddesses, their forebears, their children and great grandchildren (how many greats here?) are still alive, well mostly, still fighting amongst themselves, and generally being the nuisance they always were.

As for the book, I thought it started well but the impetus slowed down about half-way through and the battle description was muddy and confusing.

I thought there was some nice exploration of Greek mythology but also thought that some readers may not be familiar with all the niceties of who married who, how some came to be born,  and so on , and thus why they were arguing with each other. Some of it got explained, but not enough maybe?

So here is some information that I wrote up a while back for another book about the Greek myths as I was confused and needed to get my head straight. Not sure that all this helped. But here goes….

A very short blog… All about the Greeks and the gods they invented.

Once upon the time there was only Darkness (Erebus) who married Light (Aether) and then things got confused…. This is the Creation Myth according to the Theogony by the Greek poet Hesiod.

Sothen there was Chaos whois the parent of Nix. Chaos also gave birth to Erebus, Gaia, Tartarus and Eros. Gaia being created as the home of the Gods. But also known as Earth.

The Greek myths are far from clear and straightforward as there was a great deal of marrying of siblings and parents so trying to work out familial hierarchies gets very confused. And also, books and researchers will interpret the original Greek myths differently. However, the best available set of family hierarchies can be found at the site www.theoi.com which also has a breakdown of most of the creatures from the myths into different categories.

Nix was the goddess of the Night and was born near the beginning of creation and was the mother of Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death). She is found in the shadows and one can only catch glimpses of her. Her consort is Erebus (the primeval darkness). Note that there was a lot of marrying of siblings and even parents to children (and then they wondered why some of the children were a bit peculiar…)

Gaia was the mother of Uranus (Heaven) and Okeanos (Ocean). Now Uranus married Gaia – yes, his mother… and had children with her, but Uranus asked Tartarus to take the 12 Giants (his children with Gaia and also called the Titans) as he didn’t like them.

Tartarus was the Underworld but also a God.

Gaia was very unhappy about this and thus asked the Titans to kill Uranus. Cronus (one of the Titans) agreed. Cronus then castrated Uranus and threw his penis into the sea. Uranus’ blood created more Giants on the earth but in the sea his penis (as it was cut off his sperm were expelled) created Aphrodite the first deity within the 12 Olympians.

Cronus he then sent all his siblings into Tartarus except Rhea who he married. And they ruled the world and all creation together.

The children of Cronus and Rhea are: Hades; Poseidon; Hestia; Demeter; Hera; and Zeus

Cronus was told of a prophecy that one of his sons would overpower him and rule in his place, so he then ate all his children except Zeus as, when he was born, Rhea substituted a rock for him. Cronus swallowed the rock instead without noticing.

Zeus was smuggled away by Gaia and grew up safely and was raised on the Greek island of Crete. Then Gaia gave Zeus a potion that, with the help of Metis (another Titan), would make Cronus expel all his swallowed siblings, who would now be fully grown.

Having been expelled from Cronus’ stomach, the 5 children fled to Mount Olympus and Aphrodite. Zeus also released everyone from Tartarus.

Led by Zeus, the six brothers and sisters (Demeter, Hera, Hestia, Hades and Poseidon) rebelled against their father against whom they were victorious, throwing Cronus into Tartarus (the dark world under Earth).

After that, the rebel gods of ancient Greece divided the universe between them. Zeus was the supreme god, ruling over all others, and all of them lived on the peak of Mount Olympus in Greece.

But…

Cronus and his sibling Titans then went to war with the gods on Mt Olympus. Zeus et al won and imprisoned Cronus in Tartarus again. The other Titans were put to work. Eg Atlas to hold the skies, and Prometheus was chained to a rock . Zeus was now ruling on Mt Olympus with Poseidon, Artemis, Apollo, Hades and Perseus.

And then there were more….

Mnemosyne is the Titan goddess of memory and remembrance, inventiveness of languages and words. She is the daughter of Ouranos (Heaven) and thus also a goddess of Time. She represented rote memorisation which was required of course before the invention of writing. She was the mother of the Muses who were the patron goddesses of poets and the oral tradition. She presided over the underground oracle of Trophonios.

Hades is the god of the Underworld, the Dead and Riches. He is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon and fought the Titans with them. His hildren are MacariaMelinoe and ZagreusThere were  several sections to the Underworld, including Elysium (Islands of the Blessed), the Asphodel Meadows (for the ‘shades’ of heroes) and Tartarus where the gods kept imprisoning people they didn’t like.

The dead entered the world through the river Acheron, being ferried by Charon who charged the one coin that you placed in the mouth of the newly dead.

There were five rivers in the Underworld: Acheron (sorrow or woe); Cocytus (lamentation); Phlegethon (fire); Styx (hate) and  Lethe  (oblivion) although some traditions also call Lethe the sea of tears

Before the palace of Hades sit the three judges of the Underworld: Minos ,Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus. There souls are judged, returned to Asphodel if they are neither virtuous nor evil, sent to Tartarus if they are impious or evil, or sent to Elysium with the “blameless” heroes.

Some more marriages and births:

Zeus M Hera (women and marriage) = Ares; Hephaestus (Blacksmiths)

Poseidon M Amphitrite (sea goddess)

Zeus M Demeter = Persephone

Persephone: well we all know the story of her and Hades – She is also called Kore. Kore meaning the ‘maiden’.

That said, tradition also has her having relations with her father Zeus and this being the mother of Dionysius. This tradition predates that of the Olympians.

Demeter M Poseidon

Zeus M Leto  (daughter of Titans) = Apollo, Artemis

Zeus M Maia (daughter of Atlas) = Hermes

Prometheus then created the first men out of clay and taught them a civilised life style. Zeus refused to give them fire, but Prometheus gave it to them anyway. Zeus created the first woman in retribution!!!! ie Pandora. Epimetheseus persuaded Pandora to open her jar. Out flew a collection of ailments that Zeus had sent to torment mankind. These included: old age, jealousy, anger, laziness, fear of death, uncontrolled passion, the dangers of childbirth etc. So this is an explanation of how all these bad things came to be.

There are a number of places you can read about these myths eg Ovid’s, The Metamorphosis. This is one of the most substantial of the early works of scholarship, which went about codifying the extant myths, the ones which had existed in the forms of the poems and stories which floated about the Mediterranean basin for a thousand years or more before he wrote them down.

The second is Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. As it was written in the English language you don’t have to rely on someone’s translation.

The third is a modern work Roberto Calasso’s, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.

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You can’t dance when soldiers are approaching

The Last Waltz Book Cover The Last Waltz
by Dorothy Mack
Historical Fiction , Romance
Sapere Books
Pub Date 20 Nov 2019

Can Adrienne reverse her family’s misfortune? When her gambling father dies, young Adrienne Castle must find a way to support her family. In desperation, she visits a gaming house in disguise, intent on winning back some of her father’s lost fortune using her skill at cards. But when her brother falls ill and her luck runs out, Adrienne is forced to seek the aid of a wealthy distant cousin, Lord Dominic Creighton. With a beautiful fiancée and a promising military career, Dominic has everything he could wish for and to her surprise, Adrienne finds him generous and warm-hearted. Despite her poverty and lack of experience in respectable society, Dominic tries to make her feel comfortable in his world. And as their bond grows, it seems that Adrienne is in danger of staking her heart on a man who is already in love with another…

This historical story is set in Brussels just before the time of the Battle of Waterloo, June 1815 Allied forces, consisting of British, Dutch, Belgian and German soldiers, thwarted the attempts of European domination by the French general and emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. This battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Waterloo was the definitive battle for Wellington and and Napoleon and the war  which took the lives of 5 million people.  See: https://booksgosocial.com/2019/10/29/the-regency-decade-1815-part-one-waterloo/

This site tells us a little about what was happening in Brussels from 1812 after until just before the Battle and the novel continues with this society as its backdrop. There was a social whirl that ex-pat Britons and their Continental compatriots enjoyed, including of course, the Officers from the Allied Forces – who were very dashing and usually of a high social rank as such rank was purchased for the young family scions.

So  against this background we have the story of a small family struggling with poverty but well-bred and distantly related to those with more money and titles.  It was common amongst the better off in English society to take in poorer relatives and help them either to launch themselves into Society, or to find suitable employment. Here we have a child with rheumatic fever, which of course is serious even today and then could easily kill or leave sufferers with heart conditions.  Whilst this disease is now rare, in the late eighteenth century it was more common and also becoming recognised as a result of streptococcal infections that include pharyngitis, impetigo, and scarlet fever but rarely recognised as the continuum of these illnesses. It becomes Rheumatic Fever when it begins to affect the organs. Scarlet fever seems to occur in waves and thus rheumatic fever follows.

Part of the storyline involved the game of Piquet and gambling. Piquet is a card game rarely played these days, it is a 2 player game with 32 cards. Similar to whist it has card combinations and tricks but where the object is to reach 100 points within 6 deals. If you fail to reach 100 then you are penalised. I guess you gamble on winning the 100 points. There is a set of complicated instructions about being called the Elder or the Younger that you can obtain if you really want to play by a gentleman called David Parlett. Interestingly the rules now played were not established until much later in the 19th century than this book is set even though the game started in the 16th century. You can also buy sets of Piquet cards.

I liked this story. It was complex and long enough to develop the characters and their situation and imbed it into a historical context. The style was easy to read and flowed well.

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The Red Horseman

War
(The Four Horsemen)
Laura Thalassa
Fairy Tales , Myths & Fairy Tales Low Fantasy
Independent
11 Jul 2019

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp. Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist. However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.

War: 2nd horseman of the Apocalypse

War (The Four Horsemen Book 2)

Now you know that there has to be a happy  ending by default, but getting there can be quite traumatic. Especially here where War is the male in question, and clearly modelled on a Tartar Warlord with Horde. The author says that the languages are based on ancient ones but garbled a little. I confess, I hadn’t even given that a thought. Good job the author knows her languages!

I had been waiting for this book to come out and was disappointed. I had hoped it would be longer , more like the previous ones, and for me, the actions were somewhat repetitive. See a city. Send in the cavalry. Send in the infantry. Sack and rape and loot.

For me a little real strategy would have been a bonus (see  chess or medieval warfare or Sun Tzu); some real sieges; some war engines; some mining of walls etc etc would have added to the story; plus the whole field burning behind the army and so on. It seemed to me that the author had not read enough, or lacked knowledge of, warfare and strategy.

And I didn’t connect with the heroine.

So I am not sure whether to give it a 3 or a 2. Shame.

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