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The Revenge of Ishtar by Ludmila Zeman

The Revenge of Ishtar

by Ludmila Zeman

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In Ludmila Zeman’s The Revenge of Ishtar, she continues with her retelling of the famed Epic of Gilgamesh. This is the second of three books in which she recounts the main points of the original story, in a way that is appropriate for children and also gets to the essence of the story. Once again, the illustrations add a tremendous amount to the work. The endpapers and the borders at the top and bottom of most pages are motifs from ancient Mesopotamia, and she once again employs soft colors in shades of brown, gold, blue, green, and orange. Zeman opens the story with a brief overview of sorts, stating that Gilgamesh, “once the cruelest and loneliest of kings, had changed. He had learned through friendship with Enkidu, the wild man of the forest, how to be human and care for others”. With a scene from his court, similar to the closing pages of the first work by Zeman, Gilgamesh the King, she sets up the story. The next few pages bring us Humbaba, a great monster, and much destruction that he brings to Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and their loved ones. Gilgamesh and Enkidu resolve to go and fight him. Zeman show the two friends crossing through mountains, desert, and forest, with each region depicted in a different color palette. She describes “a thick forest of cedars” blocking their way, showing us another detail from this area of the world. Against the odds, Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill Humbaba, and suddenly Ishtar appears from the heavens, imploring Gilgamesh to become her husband. After refusing her offer, he states, “You do not tempt me with your riches or power. I have built a great city and I will not leave it. My people love me and I honor them”. But this enrages Ishtar and she seeks revenge on Gilgamesh, sending the Bull of Heaven to Uruk to destroy it. Gilgamesh and Enkidu instead kill the Bull of Heaven, and as a result, Ishtar sends a great sickness to weaken Enkidu, for Gilgamesh could not be harmed. In the scene showing Gilgamesh at Enkidu’s tomb, Zeman uses many images from the Mesopotamians, with a royal procession, winged figures, and inscriptions. The book ends with Gilgamesh vowing to find immortality, stating, “That will be my last quest”. Zeman has done an amazing job with The Revenge of Ishtar, in my opinion, making a complex historical work accessible to younger readers. Her vivid imagery adds to the work and makes you want to read the next installment immediately. I highly recommend this for younger readers but also to anyone studying early civilizations, and to history teachers of students both young and old. ( )
  jennyirwin | Apr 10, 2016 |
This tale has beautifully detailed drawings that go with the cultural focus of a myth from ancient Mesopotamia. The pictures in the book are framed by borders that look like ancient stone carvings and the costumes and buildings appear historically accurate. An adventurous journey is depicted with a great moral of loyalty, the importance of friendship and responsibility.
1 vote kwillis | Mar 15, 2009 |
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Book description
The sequel to Gilgamesh the King, this book continues the ancient epic which takes place between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0887764363, Paperback)

In this second volume in the Gilgamesh trilogy, Enkidu joins Gilgamesh in the quest to slay Humbaba, the monster who has attacked the city and caused great destruction, including the death of the beautiful singer, Shamat. Gilgamesh and Enkidu successfully slay the monster and in so doing, Gilgamesh attracts the attention of the goddess Ishtar. In rejecting her advances, he incurs her revenge and an attack by the Bull of Heaven. Enkidu manages to kill the bull, but is slain by Ishtar, striking at the bond between the two friends. Shattered, Gilgamesh vows he will destroy the last monster: death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Continues the epic of Gilgamesh as King Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu undertake heroic adventures, slay monsters, and save their city.

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Tundra Books

3 editions of this book were published by Tundra Books.

Editions: 0887764363, 0887763154, 0887765270

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