Thursday, 22 March 2012

ALTERNATE HISTORY STEAMPUNK REVIEW: The Pillars of Hercules - David Constantine

Release Date: 20/03/12


Alexander, Prince of Macedon, is the terror of the world. Persia, Egypt, Athens after another, mighty nations are falling before the fearsome conqueror. Some say Alexander is actually the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the living incarnation of Hercules himself. Worse yet, some say Alexander believes this...The ambitious prince is aided in his conquest by unstoppable war-machines based on the forbidden knowledge of his former tutor, the legendary scientist-mage known as Aristotle. Greek fire, mechanical golems, and gigantic siege-engines lay waste to Alexander's enemies as his armies march relentlessly west - toward the very edge of the world. Beyond the Pillars of Hercules, past the gateway to the outer ocean, lies the rumored remnants of Atlantis: ancient artifacts of such tremendous power that they may be all that stands between Alexander and conquest of the entire world. Alexander desires that power for himself, but an unlikely band of fugitives - including a Gaulish barbarian, a cynical Greek archer, a cunning Persian princess, and a sorcerer's daughter - must find it first ...before Alexander unleashes godlike forces that will shatter civilization. "The Pillars of Hercules" is an epic adventure that captures the grandeur and mystery of the ancient world as it might have been, where science and magic are one and the same.


To be honest I picked up this title more from curiosity as to how the amalgamation of Steampunk and Historical Fantasy would work together but as a cat owner I should have realised that it wasn’t the best course of action. The book was convoluted and whilst I don’t mind a little tinkering with timelines to keep things interesting and to fit more in keeping with the story, this tale really took a lot of liberties as there were major flaws throughout.

Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for one who has read quite a few books on Alexander it can be more than tiresome and when you throw into the mix a lot of double dealing and concealing of facts until after the event, it can come across as a mishmash of concepts that sadly never reach their potential, especially when you add way too many characters to keep a solid idea of who is who upon.

All in, the idea was more than interesting and I suppose that it could work quite well in another time or place. However for the period that the authors chosen and the overactive imaginations within, the author sadly didn’t have enough substance or plot outline to keep the story moving on an even keel for me as a reader. That’s not to say others won’t enjoy it, but when you add all the flaws up together it will be a book I think a large number of people will spend their money on whilst not getting their full bang for their funds. A great shame.

1 comment:

T. James said...

It is a pity when a good premise is lost because the author apparently didn't have enough people test for continuity and other problems. Essential for readability of you are going to have a story that jumps around...