Etruscans: Beloved of the Gods

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9780312875510: Etruscans: Beloved of the Gods

Bestselling historical novelist Morgan Llywelyn teams up with Irish fantasy writer Michael Scott to write an epic fantasy based on the mythology of ancient Rome.

As the Romans expand their rule from their newly founded capital city, the civilization of their elegant forerunners, the Etruscans, is waning. Into this era of flux and change strides a young figure destined to become one of the classical world's greatest mythic heroes.

When Vesi, a young Etruscan noblewoman, is raped by a supernatural being who was once human, a child is conceived. Outcast from Etruria, Vesi bears a son she calls Horatrim: a child who is dangerous both to the Etruscans and to his own father, he is gifted with arcane knowledge and supernatural abilities, but has a human heart. Separated from his mother, he travels to Rome and is adopted by a businessman who changes his name to Horatius--a name that will ring down the ages. More than glory awaits the young man, however: his demon sire is pursuing Horatrim to kill him.

This is fantasy of the highest order. Into a bold and colorful weave of action and adventure, Llywelyn and Scott skillfully incorporate the classical themes underlying imaginative fiction.

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Review:

Slumming it out of their native Eire for a spell, Morgan Llywelyn (1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion) and Michael Scott (Irish Folk and Fairy Tales) have turned their erudite scholarship and lyric prose to the far south: The Etruscans recounts a mythic tale of the Rasne, the "Silver People," a prosperous and sophisticated culture dwelling in what is now Tuscany that was forced out by the rise of Rome (or rather absorbed, as was the custom in those days).

Reminiscent of other well-crafted historical fantasies (such as Guy Gavriel Kay's two-part Sarantine Mosaic), the duo takes a simple but compelling story arc--buttressed by meticulous research--and brings it alive with a restrained infusion of magic and fable. The universe of the Rasne/Etruscans hangs between three worlds: "Flesh is tied to Earthworld, Spirit to Otherworld, Death to Netherworld." Scott and Llywelyn's characters exist at the intersection of these balanced but competing planes, always aware and influenced by the supernatural in otherwise mundane lives, caught between good and evil, life and death. The historically sound plot catches the Rasne just as Rome is rising to power; a young Etruscan girl is raped by a demon (a siu), but through the arcane influence of her forebears, her super-powered offspring will prove to be a hero of the ages--a man the Romans will know as Horatius. Skillful prose and moving characterizations carry the day for Llywelyn and Scott, making The Etruscans a worthy read, likely to become a classic for fans of the genre. --Paul Hughes

About the Author:

Since 1980, Morgan Llywelyn has created an entire body of work chronicling the Celts and Ireland, from the earliest times to the present day. Her critically acclaimed novels, both of history and of mythology, have been translated into many languages. She is an Irish citizen and lives in Dublin.

Michael Scott is one of Ireland's most prolific authors. His young adult bestseller The Alchemyst, published in May 2007, spent sixteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Mark Burnett (Survivor) is producing the film for New Line Pictures.

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