- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (March 10 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312866275
- ISBN-13: 978-0312866273
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 31.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 703 g
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,271,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Etruscans Hardcover – Mar 1 2000
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Slumming it out of their native Eire for a spell, Morgan Llywelyn (1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion) and Michael Scott (Irish Folk and Fairy Tales) have turned their erudite scholarship and lyric prose to the far south: The Etruscans recounts a mythic tale of the Rasne, the "Silver People," a prosperous and sophisticated culture dwelling in what is now Tuscany that was forced out by the rise of Rome (or rather absorbed, as was the custom in those days).
Reminiscent of other well-crafted historical fantasies (such as Guy Gavriel Kay's two-part Sarantine Mosaic), the duo takes a simple but compelling story arc--buttressed by meticulous research--and brings it alive with a restrained infusion of magic and fable. The universe of the Rasne/Etruscans hangs between three worlds: "Flesh is tied to Earthworld, Spirit to Otherworld, Death to Netherworld." Scott and Llywelyn's characters exist at the intersection of these balanced but competing planes, always aware and influenced by the supernatural in otherwise mundane lives, caught between good and evil, life and death. The historically sound plot catches the Rasne just as Rome is rising to power; a young Etruscan girl is raped by a demon (a siu), but through the arcane influence of her forebears, her super-powered offspring will prove to be a hero of the ages--a man the Romans will know as Horatius. Skillful prose and moving characterizations carry the day for Llywelyn and Scott, making The Etruscans a worthy read, likely to become a classic for fans of the genre. --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
In this sturdy historical fantasy novel, Llywelyn, best known as a fictional chronicler of Irish history (1916, etc.), and U.K. anthologist Scott turn their attention to the legendary Roman hero Horatius (he of the last stand at the bridge). The book's premise is that gods and humans are mutually dependent on one another and shaped by one another's ambitions and feuds. A demon who's the incarnation of the builder of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one Bur-Sin, is fleeing the wrath of the serpent-goddess Pythia. In his flight, he impregnates Vasi, an Etruscan maiden. Etruscan law obliges Vasi and her mother to flee, but they have enough help, both natural and otherwise, to make their escape and safely deliver Vasi's son, Horatrim, who is then given abundant gifts by the gods and ancestral spirits. Unfortunately, the existence of the son will allow Pythia to follow Bur-Sin's trail and wreak her vengeance, so as the boy grows to manhood, the demon desperately pursues him. Eventually, one Horatius Cocles has to travel into the underworld with the shade of an Etruscan ruler and rescue his mother and a prostitute named Justine from the demon, who is now incarnated in the Etruscan prince Lars Porsena of Clusium. The authors' portrayal of an obscure time and place is convincing if uninspired. Horatius grows persuasively as a character as well as in age, however, and the final sequence in the underworld is well up to Llywelyn's usual vivid standard.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I enjoyed the depiction of the Netherworld and the Gods. It held my interest throughout, which was a refreshing departure from recent books that I had to slog through.
The plot never gets bogged down by dialogue or endless descriptive narrative. The authors keep it moving quickly from page 1 to the end.
Not the best book I've read lately, but far from the worst.
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