Slaves of Shinar

Slaves of Shinar

4.3 6
by Justin Allen
     
 

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Slaves of the Shinar is the story of a land consumed by war, of a people trying to survive, and of two men in the middle of it all, redefining themselves and their futures.
The storied land of Shinar can be both brutal and forgiving. For two men making their way under its harsh sun, it is a land of fate, blood, and strife. Uruk is a nomadic thief from the jungles… See more details below

Overview

Slaves of the Shinar is the story of a land consumed by war, of a people trying to survive, and of two men in the middle of it all, redefining themselves and their futures.
The storied land of Shinar can be both brutal and forgiving. For two men making their way under its harsh sun, it is a land of fate, blood, and strife. Uruk is a nomadic thief from the jungles of sub-Saharan Africa braving the hard walk across the desert. His destination is nothing less than the fabled city of Ur, its temples swollen with riches. Ander is a slave, and has been since youth. But when a chance at freedom presents itself, he strikes, vowing to destroy his captors by whatever means necessary. As these two men navigate the world they share—an ancient world, which first-time author Justin Allen has painstakingly researched—their stories converge in a tale of destiny, triumph, and death. Set against the chaotic and bloody backdrop of the Middle East’s first great war, this fantasy epic—part Homer, part Tolkien, part R. Scott Bakker—brings us into a gritty, realistic world where destiny is foretold by gods, and death is never more than a sword-stroke away.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Ancient Mesopotamian civilizations clash in Allen's promising debut. Uruk, a thief and warrior from the jungles of Africa, and Ander, a slave escaped from the brutal Niphilim people, cross paths in the megalopolis of Kan-Puram, where Uruk has gone seeking a friendlier place to ply his trade and where Ander has gone to rally opposition to the coming Niphilim onslaught. The "fantasy" label is perhaps misapplied; Uruk and Ander fight their battles-brutal enough for an Erikson set piece-with mundane weapons, brawn and brains, and only the wholly fictional Niphilim society prevents it from being legitimate historical fiction. No part of the story involves any significant supernatural element. Yet despite the lack of wizardry, gods or strange beasts, something in Allen's writing raises the mundane to the level of the fantastic, and the feel of magic crackles through the pages, even if it's nowhere to be found in the words. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Long before the rule of Gilgamesh, king of the Sumarian city of Uruk near the Euphrates River (present-day Iraq), people told stories of the land of Shinar. From this harsh and inhospitable land rose two men destined to become living legends: Uruk, a nomad from the jungles of Africa, and Ander, a young slave. When the region is invaded by the fierce Niphilim, blond, warlike people from the north, Uruk and Ander work together to unite their people and free them from tyranny and slavery. Despite the occasional stumble by first-time novelist Allen, an overabundance of minor characters (a glossary would have been very helpful), and the unlikely fact that the Niphilim army is composed primarily of Amazon-like female warriors, this is a thought-provoking glimpse into the beginnings of a land and people very much in the forefront of current events. For additional titles that deal with ancient Mesopotamian history, consider Sam Barone's Dawn of Empire. An alternate purchase for fantasy collections.
—Jane Henriksen Baird

Kirkus Reviews
Historical fantasy, something like a long-range prequel to the ancient Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, from newcomer Allen. The Shinar lies between two rivers, the Tiger and the Ibex, and is surrounded by harsh desert and unforgiving mountains. Its dark-haired inhabitants, with their Bronze Age technology, face invasion by blond warrior Niphilim from northerly Dagonor. The Niphilim, among whom females are the dominant fighters, stole the secret of iron-making from defeated Kenanites. Huge, powerful, black-skinned adventurer Uruk, from jungles of sub-Saharan Africa, reaches the city Ur, where he acquires a faithful companion, Dog, and steals a huge carnelian from a child-sacrificing Niphilim priestess; exchanging the jewel for a magnificent iron sword, he heads for the much larger city Kan-Puram. Pale-skinned Ander, escaping brutal enslavement in the Niphilim mines, heads south to Kan-Puram, where he attempts to rally the city's powerful priesthoods against the imminent Niphilim invasion. As Uruk makes contact with Jared, Kan-Puram's king of thieves, Ander encounters an immovable obstacle: Kilimon, the pacifist high priest of Moloch's cult, who refuses to countenance preparations for war. Kilimon's deputy, Shamash, contacts Jared and arranges to have Kilimon assassinated. Uruk instead arranges to kidnap the recalcitrant priest, and escapes with the help of Jared and Dog. So, as Ander attempts to weld a pitchfork-waving rabble into an army, Uruk and Jared organize the thieves. Still to come: gory battles, daring rescues, dreadful diseases and desperate deeds. An evocative, tenacious, often arresting series of incidents with no real center; worth a try for sheer spectacle but don't expect toomuch involvement. Agent: Katherine Fausset/Watkins Loomis Agency Inc.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585679164
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
07/19/2007
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.38(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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