- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From the PublisherBut By the Chance of War examines mankind's impulse to make war in the context of four plays that are composed entirely of verse. Readers who enjoyed The Illiad and The Odyssey will find this an interesting experience. Each of the four verse plays takes place on a different battleground in a different historic period. The first of the four plays, Mathura, begins with the joining of two great armies of India, in the year 515 C.E, to fight the Ephthalite Huns. The second play, Niagara, involves the French, the English, and the Seneca in the year 1759 at Fort Niagara between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The Seneca remain loyal to the French but that loyalty is not reciprocated. Amiens, the third play, is set in France in 1918 and features soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, and South Africa battling the Germans in the last major offensive of World War I. Moriah, the last and shortest is set in Jerusalem in modern times. The United States comes to the aid of Israel when an accidental nuclear blast goes off. The plays can be read at different times in any order.
At nearly 500 pages of verse covering four different historic periods, this book is not one the average reader could expect to simply read cover to cover in a few days. The stories are developed slowly, and the person who reads solely for entertainment will be disappointed, but the reader who happens to appreciate this particular classical style will find it rewarding and perhaps discover the insights the back cover promises. The more sensible approach to this opus is to be patient, exploring each within the context of a series of book club discussions or even an entire course offered to students of poetics, classical literature, history, or philosophy. An epic work of this magnitude deserves that kind of time, attention, and scholarship.
RECOMMENDED by the USR Reviewed by Sandra Shwayder Sanchez , U.S. Book Reviews
But By Chance of War provides thought-provoking stories that examine the human impulse towards war, and is a recommendation for military collections interested in strong, dramatic fiction considering the impulse for conflict. AMIENS is set in France in 1918 and covers the battle surrounding the last major offensive of the German army during World War I, while the very different scenario in MORIAH is set in modern Jerusalem where a nuclear engagement spreads throughout the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Each story features characters who must come to grips with their impulses towards destruction - and each considers the religious and military influences of the times. Military and general lending libraries alike will find this a fine read.
Midwest Book Review: California Bookwatch
Sometimes a book will challenge us to root ourselves in its meaning and venture into new psychological or emotional territories that will ultimately cause us to reflect on how we see the world. Sometimes a book will challenge us in a more basic way, through narrative and formatting, and its creative expression goads us to work hard and embrace the infinite way in which literature can be portrayed. But By the Chance of War, a new and monumental work from Richard C. Lyons, is a book that encompasses both of these aspects, presenting the reader with a truly epic journey into the expansive ability of prose while encouraging our deep reflection on the subject within its pages. The territories Lyons explores are age-old and eternally conflicting: that of mankind’s historical gravitation toward war and the effects this destructive nature has continuously wreaked on society and the world throughout time.
But By the Chance of War presents four separate stories, all representing drastically different times of war and technology while also reflecting the stunted perception that has kept mankind rooted in its destructive mindset. Part One, Mathura, follows India’s ancient Gupta Empire in a fierce battle against the Ephthalite Huns. The story is brought alive by the passion of the prince, Chandra Gupta, as he struggles valiantly with the weight of his newly-inherited kingship and the betrayal of those close to him. Part Two, Niagara, documents the fall of Fort Niagara from the French to the British during the Seven Years’ War. Dominating the focus of the story is the stoic and determined Seneca Indian tribe, whose world has been disturbed by the armies from Europe and who must align themselves with surrender to the English after a betrayal from the French. Part Three is Amiens, which takes the reader to the trenches of the First World War where Colonel Byron Blunt strives to see the end of the war without losing another son to the fighting. Colonel Blunt’s struggle takes a disastrous turn when he finds treason within his family name. Lastly, Part Four’s Moriah takes us to nondescript modern times where America and Israel play central roles in a conflict that could lead the world to nuclear devastation. Perhaps the most alarming, significant and breathtaking story in the book, Moriah reflects the ultimate power struggle between mankind and most strongly evokes a sense of deep reflection from the reader as we’re moved to consider what time and technology might hold for the world.
One of the most spectacular things about But By the Chance of War is the mode in which the stories are written: a system of rhyming poetry woven into the formatting of a play. Each part of the book is given its own character list, map, and set of acts and scenes with which to relay its tale while the narrative of the characters presents a marked poetic style that beguiles its reader. Between the extraordinary formatting of the book and the expanse of history it relates, the details of which undoubtedly required monumental research, it’s clear to see why Lyons dedicated years of his life to the creation of this work. As with all such works, when a good deal of blood, sweat and tears goes into the making of it there’s a strong likelihood that the reader will be required to devote a a certain amount of perseverance to fully grasp the full concept of the book. Fascinated by the presentation of But By the Chance of War, I was enthusiastic to devote such time, to study the book and to thereby immerse myself in it most fully, and for my efforts I was greatly rewarded. But By the Chance of War is staggering and impressive, unlike anything of its kind in both scope and artist achievement.
-- Casee Marie, Literary Inklings
The epic poem is still a way to tell a story. "But By the Chance of War" is a collection of epic poems from Richard C. Lyons who used the neglected method to craft tales of many conflicts of international wars, the world at war, and other topics, ranging over from the past few centuries to the modern day. Intriguing and an original twist of the style, "But By Chance of War" is well worth considering for fans of quality poetry, highly recommended.
John Burroughs Burrough’s Bookshelf