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The Age of Ra (Pantheon Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Definitely an interesting read

I picked this up not entirely know what to expect, but I was pleasantly suprised when I started reading. The background of this book is a fresh and interesting concept in that all the worlds religeous pantheons are dead with the exception of the Egyptian one. This has ...
I picked this up not entirely know what to expect, but I was pleasantly suprised when I started reading. The background of this book is a fresh and interesting concept in that all the worlds religeous pantheons are dead with the exception of the Egyptian one. This has led to the various countries adopting an Egyptian god as the one they worship, for instance japan worships Anubis.

The story is about a soldier that is betrayed by his country and goes on to help a prophet/rebel who is attempting to rid the world of the influence of the gods.

Another interesting thing about the story is the chapters that play out the book from the point-of-view of the gods and Ra trying to get the Gods to get along.

All in all, i would definitely recommend this book if your looking for something different.

posted by NightEdge on September 19, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

The Ancient Egyptian gods have defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the earth, dividing it into warring factions. Lt. David Westwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of t

Review:

The Age of Ra is interesting. It has a unique setting and reinvents the Egyptian gods in a very human manner full of flaws and failings. Events take place during the present day on planet Earth, but it is not the Earth we would all recognize. Around the ti...
Review:

The Age of Ra is interesting. It has a unique setting and reinvents the Egyptian gods in a very human manner full of flaws and failings. Events take place during the present day on planet Earth, but it is not the Earth we would all recognize. Around the time of Howard Carter, the Egyptian gods made themselves known to humanity and waged war upon all of the other human religions and deities that had ever existed. Once victory had been achieved, the gods then split the Earth amongst several of the more prominent members of the pantheon. Osiris, Isis, Nepthys, Set, Horus, & Horus's children all then organized their territories around their worship and used those earthly assets to wage war amongst each other. The Exception to this is Egypt. It has been renamed Freegypt as part of a treaty amongst the gods whereby it was agreed that the birthplace of the faith should be independent from any one god's rule. Human technological development has also been altered in that many of their devices and weapons are powered by the energy or "ba" of the gods.

The novel is also divided into two parallel story archs. The main arch follows elite paratrooper Lt. David Westwynter as he comes to term with his own personal issues and the fallout of being swept up in the wars of the gods. After a botched mission, Westwynter flees to Freegypt and ends up coming into contact with the Lightbringer, a messianic guerilla leader out to overthrow the gods and free humanity from their machinations. Westwynter ends up becoming part of the Lightbringers revolution and is forced to come to terms with his own personal issues.

The other story arch is very different. It follows the Sun God Ra as he interacts with the other members of the Egyptian pantheon. As king of the gods, Ra has a great deal of influence over his peers, but does not seem to actually rule over them and has no territory on Earth. Ra is a sympathetic figure. He is tired of the feuding between the gods and saddened at how all of their conflicts have spilled over onto human beings. As Ra attempts to broker peace amongst the gods, the Lightbringer's revolution affects the outcome of his plans.

The Good:

I like Lovegrove's writing style. His writing flows well and the narrative is balanced between the internal and external conflicts faced both by Ra and Westwynter. His treatment of dialogue is also well done and the characters speak and act genuinely. I was a bit put off by some of the over use of British slang.

Despite being a bit x-rated, I also enjoyed how the gods were depicted. Even though they are divine beings, their problems and motivations were understandable. Not a whole lot has been done with the mythology of Egypt and the novelty of having them featured was fresh and provided an exotic element to the story.

I enjoyed the setting of the novel. The human nations were interesting and the integration of divinely powered technology into human science was unique. It was clear how the gods had influenced the cultures under their respective control. One passage in the book that depicted some Anubian commandos stood out as having been well done. This was a well thought out and solidly constructed world for the story.

The Bad:

I liked David Westwynter as a character, but some of the focus upon his personal issues may have been overdone. Instead of coming off as a guy who struggles with taking emotional risks, he came off a like a kid at h

posted by James_Atlantic on June 3, 2010

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    The Ancient Egyptian gods have defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the earth, dividing it into warring factions. Lt. David Westwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of t

    Review:

    The Age of Ra is interesting. It has a unique setting and reinvents the Egyptian gods in a very human manner full of flaws and failings. Events take place during the present day on planet Earth, but it is not the Earth we would all recognize. Around the time of Howard Carter, the Egyptian gods made themselves known to humanity and waged war upon all of the other human religions and deities that had ever existed. Once victory had been achieved, the gods then split the Earth amongst several of the more prominent members of the pantheon. Osiris, Isis, Nepthys, Set, Horus, & Horus's children all then organized their territories around their worship and used those earthly assets to wage war amongst each other. The Exception to this is Egypt. It has been renamed Freegypt as part of a treaty amongst the gods whereby it was agreed that the birthplace of the faith should be independent from any one god's rule. Human technological development has also been altered in that many of their devices and weapons are powered by the energy or "ba" of the gods.

    The novel is also divided into two parallel story archs. The main arch follows elite paratrooper Lt. David Westwynter as he comes to term with his own personal issues and the fallout of being swept up in the wars of the gods. After a botched mission, Westwynter flees to Freegypt and ends up coming into contact with the Lightbringer, a messianic guerilla leader out to overthrow the gods and free humanity from their machinations. Westwynter ends up becoming part of the Lightbringers revolution and is forced to come to terms with his own personal issues.

    The other story arch is very different. It follows the Sun God Ra as he interacts with the other members of the Egyptian pantheon. As king of the gods, Ra has a great deal of influence over his peers, but does not seem to actually rule over them and has no territory on Earth. Ra is a sympathetic figure. He is tired of the feuding between the gods and saddened at how all of their conflicts have spilled over onto human beings. As Ra attempts to broker peace amongst the gods, the Lightbringer's revolution affects the outcome of his plans.

    The Good:

    I like Lovegrove's writing style. His writing flows well and the narrative is balanced between the internal and external conflicts faced both by Ra and Westwynter. His treatment of dialogue is also well done and the characters speak and act genuinely. I was a bit put off by some of the over use of British slang.

    Despite being a bit x-rated, I also enjoyed how the gods were depicted. Even though they are divine beings, their problems and motivations were understandable. Not a whole lot has been done with the mythology of Egypt and the novelty of having them featured was fresh and provided an exotic element to the story.

    I enjoyed the setting of the novel. The human nations were interesting and the integration of divinely powered technology into human science was unique. It was clear how the gods had influenced the cultures under their respective control. One passage in the book that depicted some Anubian commandos stood out as having been well done. This was a well thought out and solidly constructed world for the story.

    The Bad:

    I liked David Westwynter as a character, but some of the focus upon his personal issues may have been overdone. Instead of coming off as a guy who struggles with taking emotional risks, he came off a like a kid at h

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    Fun, but I was hoping for more

    Okay. I freely admit it. I picked this book up because of the cover. Take a second to check it out. Pretty cool, isn't it? My wife said it looked more like a video game than a book and I guess she's right.

    So the cover pulled me in, but it's the synopsis that hooked me. The Egyptian pantheon defeated all other gods and is now the single world religion. Except for in their home land, now renamed Freegypt (how precious is that?) where a sort of humanist messiah is planning to overthrow the gods. Now that's different.

    I had visions of a Dune-like (or Watchmen-esque if you prefer) epic of innovative world-building. What would the Earth be like if the Egyptian pantheon (and by extension ancient Egyptian culture) held sway over the world?

    Age of Ra does go into that a little bit. But this book is more action/military sci-fi than anything else. To be sure, the book is fun to read and the action is handled pretty well. But I have to say that the world building is a little disappointing. I would like to have known more about the effect the gods had on politics. What was presented seemed a little too close to our current status qou, but with the Egyptian Pantheon layered over the top.

    We hear about Ba (a mystical source of power obtained by proper devotion to one's god) powered weapons, but the rest of the world seemed pretty untouched. There are passing references to family cartouches and vehicles have something called drive spheres (which aren't ever really described), but mainly the world outside the main conflict is unexplained or at least under-explained.

    If you know going in that this is the novel version of a summer blockbuster action movie, it is pretty well written. In some ways, the tone of the book reminded me of another sci-fi action book, David Gunn's Death's Head. Both tell serious war stories brimming with action and violence that can be surprisingly humorous at times. Age of Ra didn't have quite as much flourish and depth as Death's Head did, but James Lovegrove did a good job on his action and pacing. Battles were clearly described and I never got lost in the thick of things.

    His character's stories are interesting enough and you do feel like the characters are making the decisions they make due to who they are rather than because the author was running them through the paces.

    I would have liked the gods to have been portrayed as a little more... godly. These are near immortal beings who don't measure time the same way we do and can be in multiple places at the same time. The author tells us this, yet has Osiris call his wooden phallus (it's a long story) a 'fake cock'. Another god tells Ra to 'sod off'. That would work if the gods were being played for laughs, but since they otherwise do speak in pseudo-archaic language, the times they use slang pulled me out of the story.

    Also, though they are a small part of the book, the mummy warriors seemed extremely silly. Though I believe the author did his home work on Egyptian culture and mythology, walking mummies have more to do with Hollywood than Horus.

    I'm kind of stuck on this one. One the one hand, it is very, very well written for what it is. On the other, I was expecting something different than what I got. I'm not sure it is really fair to blame the book for not being what I hoped for, but I was still disappointed with it nonetheless.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    .......

    I would have prefered other books by this author because they were longer and more in depth. All in all you can consider this book like that of something from the halo franchise, cartoony and action packed even though how things came to be are not very clear in this book. Still even if you arent looking for details and just want to read about someone or something getting shot then this is the book f you. Details are something you want to get from books like Age of Aztec or Age of Zeus, which have more to offer detail wise

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