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Ilium    by Dan Simmons order for
by Dan Simmons
Order:  USA  Can
Eos, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Ken Lux

This book is the first half of an impressive work by one of the leaders of modern Sci-fi, Horror and Suspense - Dan Simmons. I am a long time fan of this prodigious author's work. Though some of his novels have leaned away from my usual genre preferences, I have always been pleased with his story lines, his word play and the knack that he has to make you care about the luckless creations of his pen.

In this well crafted serving of multiple story lines, we first meet Thomas Hockenberry, a 20th century professor and Iliad scholar who finds himself resurrected in the company of the ancient gods of Olympus - Zeus, Athena, Apollo and more - all of whom are bigger than life and terrifying in their power. Also introduced are the futuristic Earth bound humans (derisively called Eloi from the de-evolved soon to be lunch characters in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine), aimlessly pursuing their empty lives with all needs met by strange mechanical servitors built by a non-human hand.

Add to the story the Moravecs - autonomous, sentient biomechanicals, seeded throughout the outer system during mankind's Lost Age. From this chaos, Dan Simmons weaves a tale of intricacy and destruction, cunning and despair. It's a captivating romp where you really don't know what's around the next corner, and if you are presumptuous enough to guess ... well don't bother, you'll be wrong! More than an enjoyable read, this book pulls you backward through a knot hole and leaves you panting for part two (yes, those dreaded words) due out in 2004.

I highly recommend Ilium to devotees of both Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is a captivating tale told by a master. My only complaint is the curse of hanging from this cliff awaiting for the second installment!

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