by Dan Simmons

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Beneath the gaze of the gods, the mighty armies of Greece and Troy met in fierce and glorious combat, scrupulously following the text set forth in Homer's timeless narrative. But that was before twenty-first-century scholar Thomas Hockenberry stirred the bloody brew, causing an enraged Achilles to join forces with his archenemy Hector and turn his murderous wrath on Zeus and the entire pantheon of divine manipulators; before the swift and terrible mechanical creatures that catered for centuries to the pitiful idle remnants of Earth's human race began massing in the millions, to exterminate rather than serve.

And now all bets are off.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380817931
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/25/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 912
Sales rank: 149,797
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.82(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, and their sequels, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin's Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works, including Summer of Night and its sequel A Winter Haunting, Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. Simmons makes his home in Colorado.

Read an Excerpt


By Dan Simmons


ISBN: 0-380-97894-6

Chapter One

Helen of Troy awakes just before dawn to the sound of air raid sirens. She feels along the cushions of her bed but her current lover, Hockenberry, is gone - slipped out into the night again before the servants wake, acting as he always does after their nights of lovemaking, acting as if he has done something shameful, no doubt stealing his way home this very minute through the alleys and back streets where the torches burn least bright. Helen thinks that Hockenberry is a strange and sad man. Then she remembers.

My husband is dead.

This fact, Paris killed in single combat with the merciless Apollo, has been reality for nine days - the great funeral involving both Trojans and Achaeans will begin in three hours if the god-chariot now over the city does not destroy Ilium completely in the next few minutes - but Helen still cannot believe that her Paris is gone. Paris, son of Priam, defeated on the field of battle? Paris dead? Paris thrown down into the shaded caverns of Hades without beauty of body or the elegance of action? Unthinkable.

This is Paris, her beautiful boy-child who had stolen her away from Menelaus, past the guards and across the green lawns of Lacedaemon. This is Paris, her most attentive lover even after this long decade of tiring war, he whom she had often secretly referred to as her "plunging stallion full-fed at the manger."

Helen slips out of bed and crosses to the outer balcony, parting the gauzy curtains as she emerges into the pre-dawn light of Ilium. It is midwinter and the marble is cold under her bare feet. The sky is still dark enough that she can see forty or fifty searchlights stabbing skyward, searching for the god or goddess and the flying chariot. Muffled plasma explosions ripple across the half dome of the moravecs' energy field that shields the city. Suddenly, multiple beams of coherent light - shafts of solid blue, emerald green, blood red - lance upward from Ilium's perimeter defenses. As Helen watches, a single huge explosion shakes the northern quadrant of the city, sending its shockwave echoing across the topless towers of Ilium and stirring the curls of Helen's long, dark hair from her shoulders. The gods have begun using physical bombs to penetrate the force shield in recent weeks, the single-molecule bomb casings quantum phase-shifting through the moravecs' shield. Or so Hockenberry and the amusing little metal creature, Mahnmut, have tried to explain to her.

Helen of Troy does not give a fig about machines.

Paris is dead. The thought is simply unsupportable. Helen has been prepared to die with Paris on the day that the Achaeans, led by her former husband, Menelaus, and by his brother Agamemnon, ultimately breach the walls, as breach they must according to her prophetess friend Cassandra, putting every man and boy-child in the city to death, raping the women and hauling them off to slavery in the Greek Isles. Helen has been ready for that day - ready to die by her own hand or by the sword of Menelaus - but somehow she has never really believed that her dear, vain, godlike Paris, her plunging stallion, her beautiful warriorhusband, could die first. Through more than nine years of siege and glorious battle, Helen has trusted the gods to keep her beloved Paris alive and intact and in her bed. And they did. And now they have killed him.

She calls back the last time she saw her Trojan husband, ten days earlier, heading out from the city to enter into single combat with the god Apollo. Paris had never looked more confident in his armor of elegant, gleaming bronze, his head flung back, his long hair flowing back over his shoulders like a stallion's mane, his white teeth flashing as Helen and thousands of others watched and cheered from the wall above the Scaean Gate. His fast feet had sped him on, "sure and sleek in his glory," as King Priam's favorite bard liked to sing. But this day they had sped him on to his own slaughter by the hands of furious Apollo.

And now he's dead, thinks Helen, and, if the whispered reports I've overheard are accurate, his body is a scorched and blasted thing, his bones broken, his perfect, golden face burned into an obscenely grinning skull, his blue eyes melted to tallow, tatters of barbecued flesh stringing back from his scorched cheekbones like ... like ... firstlings - like those charred first bits of ceremonial meat tossed from the sacrificial fire because they have been deemed unworthy. Helen shivers in the cold wind coming up with the dawn and watches smoke rise above the rooftops of Troy.

Three antiaircraft rockets from the Achaean encampment to the south roar skyward in search of the retreating god-chariot. Helen catches a glimpse of that retreating chariot - a brief gleaming as bright as the morning star, pursued now by the exhaust trails from the Greek rockets. Without warning, the shining speck quantum shifts out of sight, leaving the morning sky empty. Flee back to besieged Olympos, you cowards, thinks Helen of Troy.

The all-clear sirens begin to whine. The street below Helen's apartments in Paris's estate so near Priam's battered palace are suddenly filled with running men, bucket brigades rushing to the northwest where smoke still rises into the winter air. Moravec flying machines hum over the rooftops, looking like nothing so much as chitinous black hornets with their barbed landing gear and swiveling projectors. Some, she knows from experience and from Hockenberry's late-night rants, will fly what he calls air cover, too late to help, while others will aid in putting out the fire. Then Trojans and moravecs both will pull mangled bodies from the rubble for hours. Since Helen knows almost everyone in the city, she wonders numbly who will be in the ranks of those sent down to sunless Hades so early this morning ...


Excerpted from Olympos by Dan Simmons Excerpted by permission.
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Olympos 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Qui-GonReborn More than 1 year ago
900 pages of heart-stopping dynamics. 900 pages of pulse-pounding tension. 900 pages of mind-dazzling possibility. 900 pages of pure genius. 900 pages is a lot to read, a lot to digest, and if you're going to do it...this is the only way to fly. Dan Simmons has presented what stands as one of the pinnacles -- if not the apex -- of modern science-fiction: a stunning blend of so many aspects of our own lives, some of which we never even noticed before, blasted into a perspective you could only ever dream of. At times the power of his simple words are so compelling that one can just sit staring motionless at the ceiling, trying to blink back tears. Phenomenal, astounding work. Stephen King said it best, "I am in awe of Dan Simmons."
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seriously - if you need to have things spelled out to you, Olympus and Ilium aren't for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy piecing things together through deftly parseled-out clues, these are wonderful books. As with one of sci-fi's other giants, Gene Wolfe, Simmons assumes the reader will actually read the book rather than skim for plot points. Wait until you're in the mood for some mental heavy lifting, than give yourself a good weekend or two to enjoy Ilium and Olympus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dan Simmons has done it again. Olympos is a worthy follow-up to the magnificent Ilium. Highly recommended.
harstan More than 1 year ago
While Helen mourns the death of her husband with the help of her lover twentieth century scholar Hockenberry, the Greek and Trojan warriors have united to fight the Olympic Gods who caused much of the conflict with their meddling (see ILIUM). However, the Gods have not been sitting back for a millennium as they are used to interfering, intruding and attacking mortals so they begin a counter assault. Abetting the humans is the moravecs space robots, but that might still prove inadequate as the allies war with the Gods they once worshipped. --- While Helen dresses for Paris¿ funeral following some lovemaking with traveling historian Hockenberry, in other dimensions the robotic voynix revolt against their dissolute human masters and Prospero and Caliban battle the Tempest god Setebos. Meanwhile Achilles mourns his beloved dead Amazon queen as Odysseus journeys to an alternate Earth. Soon these seemingly divergent happenings will converge with Trekkies appearing while Helen buries Paris before and after making love with Hockenberry. --- The storytelling talent of Dan Simmons is incredible as he somehow brings together this Homeric epic that feels more complex than the DNA helix yet the multiple story lines blend into a cohesive delightful satirical tempest of a novel. The story line combines humor with action adventure in a terrific time alternating science fiction thriller. Readers need to set aside several days to read this enthralling work slowly as Mr. Simmons ¿sneaks¿ in all sorts of tidbits. Readers will treasure this sequel that is as good as or perhaps better than the highly regarded ILIUM.--- Harriet Klausner
thelorelei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought Dan Simmons had written himself into a corner with "Ilium," his mind-bending, classic literature sampling, time hopping saga of future Earth and Mars, genetically improved humans, post-humans, cyborgs, and alternative universes. Luckily, it turns out that Mr. Simmons is a nimble author, and he knew what he was doing when he spun himself a narrative web this complicated. While "Olympos" was in itself an engaging read, with plenty of action, emotion, and tragedy, I was especially pleased to find that the story went beyond these surface pleasures, and the author had a deeper point to make about the power of human creativity and history and consciousness. I will probably add these two books to my permanent collection.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was struck beforehand by the number of surprisingly negative reviews for Olympos. It seemed almost as though the general opinion was that this duology comes off the rails in its second half. I thought the previous book (Ilium) was fantastic, admiring its craftsmanship, so I stubbornly forged ahead. But I decided to outline in advance the questions I would use to decide for myself whether this really was a sequel worth pursuing. Now that I've finished reading it, I can answer those (while trying to remain spoiler-free):Does Olympos maintain the same pacing and style as Ilium? Yes, very similar to Ilium. Once it gets moving, the cliff-hanger style for chapter endings kicks in again. Some of the Greek and Trojan characters get to tell their point-of-view, which they didn't in Ilium, and it serves the story. Dan Simmons primarily writes horror novels and this was evident in Ilium. It's evident again here, so be ready for that. One cautionary note is that Olympos is arguably more fantasy-esque than the first book; everything still develops very logically and remains consistent (the series doesn't suddenly become Alice in Wonderland), but if you're big on sci-fi while not so much on fantasy then you might find this a turn-off. There's the occasional scene that's rather surreal, yet it's always explicable.Does it answer the questions left by Ilium?Yes. It was clear to me in the first volume that there were more great beings than the Greek Gods at work in this universe, and that these would have to be further explored. You may recall in Ilium we met Prospero briefly, and heard of Setebos. This novel reveals considerably more about them. Along the way we get several minor revelations that tie together the different elements and answer the mysteries set up in Ilium. Just as I'd hoped for, Olympos reveals "the strings behind the puppet show". You'll end this duology with an excellent grasp on how this universe came to be and how it operates, who all these players are, and what they want.Are Ilium's storylines resolved, with satisfying conclusions?Yes. I'm thinking here of the three stories from Ilium: the old-style humans on Earth, the moravecs from Jupiter, and Hockenberry. When I say satisfying conclusions, I mean adequate coverage and wrap-up for each of them. You're made to wait a while at first regarding what the old-style humans have been up to, but things pick up right where they left off with Hockenberry and the moravecs. Then Hockenberry takes a back seat for a while. But when it's all said and done, you're provided an ending that will satisfy for each thread.Does Olympos model itself on Homer's Odyssey, like the first book did with the Iliad?I asked this one as a matter of curiosity. The answer is, yes and no; arguably not as directly. That's nothing that should determine whether you read it or not, unless you were especially looking forward to a closer retelling. Odysseus does play a very key role in the story.Were there any unusual indications of prejudice on the part of the author?No. This question was triggered by some particularly curious reviews decrying the author's portrayal of Muslims. This must stem from instances in Olympos where, as facts about this future Earth's history emerge [warning: a very small spoiler here], much wrongdoing and prejudice is attributed to a defunct political entity identified as the Global Caliphate. No where does Simmons' narrative paint all Muslims with one brush or attribute folly to their religion in a general way. Rather, the theme is that humanity is destined to travel dangerous paths in repetition under one religion, ideology, etc. or another, and that it might as easily occur in a given instance via any other.My opinion: you should read Olympos if Ilium was a great ride for you and you liked its mix of sci-fi with fantasy overtones, nothing especially rubbed you the wrong way, and you want to see how things turn out. Doesn't that go for every series? I think
Bbec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
the editor of this should be sacked. terribly obvious mistakes. It's a boys book, but kept me reading none the less.
TimothyBurke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like Simmons' big-scale SF work and loathe his horror writing, particularly Song of Kali. This is the first time that I think he's done poorly in the former category. I really enjoyed Ilium, the first book in this series, but this one is a hugely disappointing conclusion. Very little is explained satisfactorily, the plot unravels into confusion, the sharpness of the characterization evaporates, and there's a lot of bloat. I can't help but have the feeling that Simmons wrote Ilium without a clear sense of the resolution of a lot of what he set in motion.
webguy94301 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great follow-up to the first book and interesting way to blend history, mythology and science fiction into one story... great author
anabellebf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Simmons' usual play with genres at its best. Who wouldn't like to think Prospero really existed, or that Proust's theories were real?
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By the end of Ilium, the first part of this book (as Simmons put it, imagine if they published War first and then waited a year or two for Peace), the Trojan War had gone completely off course, as the Greeks and the Trojans had formed an alliance in a war against the gods. The moravec expedition from the moons of Jupiter had joined forces with the Greeks/Trojans, and meanwhile the postliterate Eden of human Earth had fallen, with the robotic servants that had protected the humans turning against them and the technology that had guaranteed them exactly a century of life (for a price) destroyed.In Olympos, the Mars/Ilium plot and the Earth plot come together, although the characters from the two halves do not interact until the last hundred pages. There is an odd development involving a submarine near the end of the book as well- a strange threat that does not seem to relate to any of the others, and which is introduced a comparatively short time before it is solved, given that we are talking about at least sixteen hundred pages for the entire story. Its function seems to be only to put one of the humans at risk of death, and to remove a moravec ship, and surely there would be a way to accomplish those things that would be more related to the rest of the book?We knew from the first book that Hockenberry was severely opposed to the idea of homosexuality in the Iliad, saying that those who see it are looking from a modern perspective. That may be true, however it is as impossible to know that it was *not* there as it is to know for a fact that it was. I mention this again because at the end of Olympos, Hockenberry is just as hostile in emphasizing that he and a fellow scholic friend are partners in the business sense- not that anybody would expect Hockenberry to mean anything else, as he has shown no sign of being anything besides straight, but the passage suggests that the entire concept of male partners in the sexual sense is bizarre. A character being rather homophobic would be less unsettling if he weren't the only first-person narrator in the book.Those things said, this is an epic work, about the great potential of humanity for good and evil, and the fact that it has flaws should not stop anybody from reading it.
rphbamf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
jakobp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being a huge fan of Hyperion and its sequls, this book was a total disappointment. If Simmons could stick to writing SF and stop making narrow-minded commentary on recent political events, expressing islamophobia as well as anti-European sentiments it could have been enjoyable. The book is sadly just a platform for Simmons's political views which seem to be characterized by judgmental mentality and ignorance.
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