A warning to all who read this, if you have any intention of reading this book and have not yet read Ilium
, go no further. It will contain spoilers pertaining to the last book, though for this book there are none in this review. Further warning: The excellent review below by Timeshredder
contains spoilers for Olympos, so read futher if you don't mind them.
by Dan Simmons
Eos, 690 pgs(Hardback)
Setting and Dramatis Personae
Eight months have past since the events in Ilium happened, Prospero's Isle reddened the sky of Earth with its streaking debris, Hockenberry's orchestrated war with the Olympian Gods has continued under the protective force fields of Moravec technology. Humans across the solar system and time itself are struggling to survive against gods and monsters. Harman, Ada, and Daemon of Earth have built a fort to stand against the now murderous voynix. Achilles and Hector fight glorious aristeia with the Gods themselves on the red Martian plains at the foot of Olympus Mons.
At this point in the story these two threads have yet to converge. It is in this conclusive book that they do.
Simmons has a way of writing long epic books, so long that he breaks them into dualogies. He does this by creating multiple storylines that make sense only in their context which can only be fully explained in the second book. In so doing he creates a heap of suspense by keeping the explanations for all the incredible things that are going on.
Having read Ilium and desperately wanted to know how everything turns out, I jumped at Olympos as soon as I had access to it. Reading Ilium one sees a universe that has a great deal of unfathomable history, the reader has to say "I don't see how this could possibly occur." This is because Simmons has devised an ingenious way to take all of the gimmicks and plot devices he uses and hide them neatly and comfortably out of the way. Reading Olympos, I was not so nonplused by the unknowable gimmick, I was enjoying the ride and hoping that it would be revealed but attempting to look cool and appear aloof. And then it was there in front of me, utterly absurd but there and waiting for my mouth to hoist itself back up. And the characters in the book see the gimmick, see the entire plot and are themselves alarmed at the absurdity, which removed a lot of the sting from the blow. I warn others, this book will jerk you around.
A plus for those who disliked the Proustian dialectic conversations, they have not reappeared in this book and they have been put into context, which is even better in my opinion.
A wonderful ending to an epic story, an homage to the epic as a narrative form of writing and especially to Homer's Iliad. It brings to a close stories that finally make sense when held together in this thick tome. If you like wonderful plot arcs, orbits even, intelligent and witty writing and really good story lines(and have read Ilium) this is the book for you. If you haven't read Ilium, you shouldn't have read this node, for shame, that said and if the above also applies to you, this is the dualogy you've been looking for. And if you really want proof that Simmons has read a buttload of classic novels, you'll like this book.
"Rage--Sing, Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, murderous, doomed, sing of the rage that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling into Hades' Dark House so many sturdy souls, great fighters' souls, heroes' souls, but also made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, even as Zeus's will was done. Begin, O Muse, when the two first argued and clashed, the Greek king Agamemnon, lord of men, and the brilliant, godlike Achilles..."-Homer, Tran.s Orphu of Io