In this series opener, Strawthorne takes a large-scale approach to sci-fi storytelling à la Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker and Last and First Men. Here there are two parallel plot lines. In ancient (by human standards) Sumer, the cradle of civilization, a struggling 1221 B.C. couple pray to the gods and are rewarded with the birth of a fine son, Talmido. Although orphaned as a youth and pressed as a slave into the Assyrian army, Talmido displays courage, leadership, and intellect, which make him a popular figure with the warrior classes and the people.
Strawthorne details a pantheon of entities from far, far higher dimensions, beginning with an “Originator,” creating all time and space and populating it with subordinate beings and, finally, carbon-based, organic life. Some of these beings experiment with humans to answer questions of ethics, free will, and programmed determinism. Talmido has been awarded immortality and superior stamina and mental abilities as part of this grand experiment. (Meanwhile, a Luciferian-type “Authorial” defiantly concocts a civilization of his own on another, hidden world.)
The narrative largely describes Talmido’s rise as leader of a rebellion that quells the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. The god's stuff is often dispersed throughout descriptions of battles, intrigues, parleys, and troop strategies of a bygone epoch.
The big question is whether readers who enjoy a well-researched journey through ancient Mesopotamian military history and macrocosmic sci-fi metaphysics will be intrigued enough? And will sci-fi fans embrace an ambitious epic about an ancient warrior in the Fertile Crescent?
A sci-fi infused saga of ancient historical events and military operations.