We're used to hearing about the latest tell-all memoir from one of today's sports figures, political insiders, or celebrity wannabes. But what if we discovered that one of history's greatest heroes had written his life story? That's the premise behind Robert Silverberg's amazing novel Gilgamesh the King.
The journey begins when six-year-old Gilgamesh's father dies. As he grows to manhood and eventually ascends to the throne, he faces many challenges along the way: political intrigue, war, the burden of leadership. But none are as difficult as his intense internal struggles against loneliness and his own mortality. Weaving together historical data, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and his own fertile imagination, Silverberg creates a rich and compassionate portrait of a man who lived about 2500 B.C.
©1984 Robert Silverberg (P)2010 Eloquent Voice, LLC
"Fantasy, myth and ancient history interweave seamlessly in this powerful retelling of the epic of Gilgamesh.... Silverberg extends his mastery of the fantasy genre to the re-creation of the magic and mystery of ancient Sumer, uncovering the deep human truths that lie beneath the legend. (Library Journal)
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"Mary Renault is better"
This reads like something Mary Renault would write and she would do a better job.
The story is based on probably the oldest known story ever written. That alone makes it interesting. It is the story of a King from his childhood to late adulthood. Like all Silverberg books the prose is good. RS is one of the more talented writers around. It is written in first person by the King. As a youth he is confused over all the religious rituals and little is done to explain them to him. He learns as he goes. He grows up in the story and he becomes what he thinks is nearly a God. He is big and strong and he sleeps with several women a night (It's good to be the King).
Though there are lots of demons and such mentioned in the story, we see through his adventures how these are just how they explain anything they do not understand. We also see how Kings do not have all the power as they must deal with the priests and the priestess and what the people expect. Though the main character thinks he is a God, he is very human in his thoughts and even though I did not like the main character, I have no doubt this was what he was like in real life and how I would probably be under the same circumstances.
I gave this 3 stars, some four and five star RS books would be: AT Winter's End, The Word Inside and Downward To Earth.
a beautifully put together book all of different sources to complete one amazing autobiography type feel to this ancient story. Gilgamesh is and always will be one of the best Tales to come from Sumer and related areas. I have been blown away by this book!
"Terrible narration kept me from getting far"
Really. The narration is awful. In an odd way. The breathy, whimsical, "poetry reading" sort of way the narrator read was not only annoying, but totally distracting from what might have been a very good story. The man had a kind of high pitched voice and took a really outlandish approach to his reading. The author has some great works out there, and the original epic of Gilgamesh can be a very cool story too If you understand the contextual undercurrent and popular innuendos and story telling styles of the times in which it was written. Just couldn't get through more than a couple chapters with this narrator though. Not good.
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