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The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove
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The Age of Ra (original 2009; edition 2010)

by James Lovegrove

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173968,650 (3.17)1 / 7
Member:dowd
Title:The Age of Ra
Authors:James Lovegrove
Info:Rebellion Publishing Limited (2010), Kindle Edition
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The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove (2009)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Let me start with "I don't get it" and then try to redeem myself. I get the concept, sort of. I know Egyptian history and ancient religions, and I love sci-fi so I can suspend belief and accept a modern type society in an alternate universe. I think where I got lost (and lost interest) was when we were taken to the world of the gods and listening to their bickering.

So, this wasn't a book for me. But there are thousands more out there just waiting for me to find them. And thousands of people just waiting to find and love this one. Happy hunting to us all. ( )
  storeyonastory | Jul 16, 2014 |
See that cover? That is a kick ass cover. So the next time you're in a bookstore, stop and gaze upon its beauty--then return the book to the shelf and slowly back away because that moment, the moment where you gaze upon that glorious golden image of Ra and then wonder at the contradictory image of a modern day soldier in front of a battlefield and think WTF--that's as good as it's going to get, baby.

I have put off reviewing this for days because reviewing it seems cruel, like kicking a three legged puppy for not being able to run fast enough. I knew that I was in deep suck by page 20, so it's my fault that I kept reading. And I know, I know--there will be those who say, why did you keep reading if you hated the book so much? A) I bought it, so I felt a misguided need to get my money's worth, B) this is my busy time of year, so reading a crappy book almost ensured I would more readily turn my attention to grading semester finals, and C) I can't count the number of times I have despised a book right up until the very end and something clicked, the other shoe dropped, all was revealed and, hallelujah, it's a literary miracle--the book was amazing! There were no miracles this time. I clapped my hands and really believed, but Tinkerbell never came back to life. This sucker was DOA and should have come with a DNR. Damn, I kicked the three legged dog, didn't I?

Age of Ra has an interesting premise. The gods of old are real, they go to battle for dominion over man, the Pantheon of Egypt wins by destroying all other gods. This idea isn't entirely new, but usually these types of books focus on Greek and Roman mythology. The Egyptian slant seemed promising. But this type of book has been done better by Gaiman's American Gods or even Max Gladstone's created mythology in the Craft Sequence books Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise. There are several issues:

1. All nations now worship Egyptian deities, but align themselves with different gods (some Asian countries worship Anubis, England worships Osiris, South America worships Horus--you get the idea). These countries now choose their allies and their enemies based upon which gods their chosen deity considers friends and enemies. The god also blesses his or her people with his divine power, or ba, as a power source to charge weapons and vehicles (but, don't worry, if your god forgets to send you some of his mojo, there's still gasoline). This sums up all the interaction the gods have with their people; much of the book consists of military battles that simply throw the gods' names around but really don't rely upon the gods at all. So all that amazing gods-among-men anticipation I had built up was a serious letdown.

2. The Egyptian gods defeated all other gods 100 years ago, yet the novel is set in what seems to be roughly the present day. Within a century and in the face of the knowledge that the gods are real, one would think the Egyptian culture and mindset would have radically changed society and redrawn the map. Nope. Apparently not. We still have Russia, Japan, China, and all the other countries and societies speaking and acting as they always have.

3. The integration of Egyptian culture into present day is unimaginative and lazy at best. We still have the United States, but its president is now known as the Pastor President. We still have Britain, but its head of state is now His Pharaonic Majesty. We still have Mercedes Benz, but it's now known as the Mercedes Lotus. We still have tanks, but they're known as Scarabs. The world-building is weak.

4. It's also laughable that, in a world that still has high tech weaponry and alternate fuel sources, our hero enters combat with a crook and flail. Or that mummies so clueless they make zombies look like the life of the party are sent into battle against tanks and artillery. Or that high priests use wooden birds to carry their consciousness for reconnaissance missions, but, if that fails, they send out the planes we would normally use for reconnaissance. Because a high priest in a trance forever is always preferable to the intel a plane could send back in a fraction of the time. The inclusion of modern technology in the book renders the Ancient Egyptian inspired tech moot and useless by comparison.

5. Cardboard, stereotyped characters so one-dimensional that they make the Kardashians seem human; an obligatory will-they-won't-they romance with less passion than a Liza Minnelli marriage; plot twists so obvious they practically nudge you ("You'll be so surprised! You'll never guess what's going to happen! Here it comes, here it comes! Did it get ya?").

6. The best part of the book? The gods. One can tell that Lovegrove really did his research here and he's smart enough to realize that the gods have to adapt and change somewhat to move the plot forward. Holding them to their archetypal roles would have added little interest whatsoever. As Ra begins to develop a consciousness outside of his divine role and manipulate the Pantheon to avert disaster, it's easy to think something might be salvaged. However, the god chapters are too few and far between (and ultimately anticlimactic) to add much to the narrative.

There was an idea here, somewhere beneath all the problems, but it never delivers on the promise presented by that beautiful cover.

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder ( )
  snat | Dec 14, 2013 |
I picked this up after reading a glowing review on a blog. I've since noticed that almost every review on said blog is a little too glowing...as in, I couldn't find a negative review. So I should have been more wary.

The Age of Ra takes place in a world where the Egyptian pantheon of gods has arisen again to dominance in the world, and with good reason--they are real, and they have defeated all other deities.

As it was, I think the idea behind the book has merit, but the execution was feeble. The character development never seems quite plausible, and the meshing between worlds--well, it left me unsatisfied. Perhaps I have read too much Percy Jackson or Harry Potter, but conventional armies with mere allegiance to opposing gods just doesn't measure up. I want to see the real influence of the gods in more than just a secondary way.

That aside, the book almost got three stars for originality, but I dropped it to two for a weak and dragging plot. ( )
1 vote publiusdb | Aug 22, 2013 |
When I picked up The Age of Ra it appealed to me because of the blending of ancient Egyptian mythology with modern concepts. It falls into the genre, I suppose, of 'Alternate History' novels, and as such does so in a very effective way. They gods of Egypt have defeated the gods of all other pantheons, and now are the only spiritual power governing the Earth, and govern they do - including war between the various nations, who each worship a different member of the ancient Egyptian 'first family.'

Those readers that balk at vulgarity will perhaps want to skim over the first part of the book - the part that shows the battles between waring soldiers of the various deities, because as one would expect, such characters use the same coarse language as we see modern soldiers using in most depictions (films and books) of modern warfare. However, once beyond that section, the books settles down into a fast paced adventure with many thought provoking observations made by the characters in both the 'modern' parts of the book, and in the sections dealing with the interactions between the gods in the Egyptian pantheon. The reader might also come to his or her own deep conclusions based on the actions and trials of the characters in the book.

The descriptions are well written and on the whole, the characters well rounded (although perhaps some of the gods came across as somewhat too whiny to me). The plot is one that is engaging on many levels, catering to those desiring action and adventure, as well as those that prefer a more cerebral journey, and all in all it makes for a book that is somewhat difficult to put down.

My only problem is that I'm not sure I would want to read any of the other books in the Pantheon Triptych, because I'm simply not interested enough in the other world pantheons to want to pick up the other books - this is a shame, as I like the author's style and the way he approaches the subject matter in this book. ( )
1 vote cedargrove | Jan 11, 2013 |
Here's a book that crosses all sorts of lines. The Age of Ra is, as the name suggests, a book that deals with the gods of the Ancient Egyptians, but it is also a book that deals with a contemporary timeline, as the cover image suggests. Just the concept of the ancient gods being worshiped in modern times will be enough of a draw to make many pick up the book and start reading, but this story goes far beyond that. It is an alternate era, where ALL the gods are real and those from Egypt have beaten out everyone else to dominate the world. Countries and continents have picked certain gods to worship and their relationships with the rest of the world are based on the gods' relationships with each other. It is truly very well thought out in this regard.

The very beginning of the book was very vulgar and dark, but you have to realize that you are dealing with the army in battle situations. There are times soldiers let things fly out of their mouths that they wouldn't normally say otherwise. A reader can't judge the book based on these pages alone. If they upset you, skim through, but keep on reading. The entire story is well worth the dirty truth at the start. Though there were some things that were slightly predictable, the writing was very detailed and managed to convey emotion as well as the visuals within the plot.

On concept alone, this book is worth looking into, but what keeps you going is the uniqueness and quality of the writing within. There are other books in the series. If Ancient Egypt doesn't pull you in, perhaps one of the other ancient civilizations will, just be prepared to read whatever you pick from cover to cover. I simply couldn't put this book down. ( )
  mirrani | Dec 21, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
The Age of Ra barely hints as to what the author is capable, and is a poor example of his work. As an attempt to cross military action and SF, it ends up being neither and fails on both fronts.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, Nathan Brazil (Feb 1, 2010)
 
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For
Theodore Finch Xavier Lovegrove
DoB: 27 July 2006
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The sun went down like a tin duck at a shooting gallery.
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Book description
The Ancient Egyptian Gods hav e defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the Earth, dividing it into warring factions. Lt David Westwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of the Gods' influence. There, he encounters the followers of a humanist leader known as the Lightbringer, who has vowed to rid mankind of the shackles of divine oppression. As the world heads towards an apocalyptic battle, there is far more to this freedom fighter than it seems...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184416747X, Mass Market Paperback)

An alternate history of the world where the Egyptian gods have defeated all others and have carved up the planet between themselves. Only a band of Freedom Fighters and their enigmatic leader can free the Earth from their divine tyranny.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The ancient Egyptian gods have defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the earth, dividing it into warring factions. Lt. David Westwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of the gods' influence. There, he encounters the followers of a humanist leader known as the Lightbringer, who has vowed to rid mankind of the shackles of divine oppression. As the world heads towards an apocalyptic battle, there is far more to this freedom fighter than it seems...… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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