The Ivory Gate: Bk II of the Ashes of Olympus, by Julian Barr

‘This is no game ..  Zeus means for the Trojan bloodline to join that of the Latins. His empire will mean starvation for all gods. Go now. Shatter the peace, turn brother against brother.’ Hera to Athena and Ares.

 In The Way Home, the first book of The Ashes of Olympus trilogy, the survivors of Troy flee the Greeks and take to the wind dark sea to find a new home. Before reading on you might like to read my review here.

Now in The Ivory Gate Julian Barr continues this emotive and action packed story. We are reminded that Aeneas’ troubles, the fate of the Trojan’s and of the Latins, all arise from the feud between the goddesses Aphrodite and Hera. I enjoy how Julian Barr gives us gods you can not only fear but also feel for. Hera’s machinations, for instance, are driven by her quite understandable desire to protect her daughter, Queen Dido of Karkhedon (later known as ‘Carthage’).

default-1200x1200-layout1677-1eqi58s

Aphrodite recruits the Furies, Poseidon, Cyclops and Hephaestus, god of fire and forger of weapons. Hera ramps up this arms race by summoning not only the warrior Athena but also the war god himself, Ares.  And this is no mere spat among the Olympians. This is for their survival.

default-1200x628-layout239-1eqi69g

As the narrative moves from Karkhedon to Scilia and on to Italia, the mortals struggle on, protecting their loves and striving for their destinies even as the Olympians wreak havoc. Julian Barr brings to life Dido’s anguish at being abandoned by her lover Aeneas’ , his clumsy attempts to connect with his son Julos who resents being pulled away from Dido, the only mother figure he has known, Lavinia’s attempts to live up to her father’s memory, Beroe’s smouldering grief at the loss of her partner.

There are many reasons for me to give this trilogy my whole hearted recommendation: it brings to life the misty times of legend, it delivers Virgil’s stories in an exciting form to a modern audience, it contains maps and superb illustrations (like the one above), and anyway I simply love stories like this.

The Way Home and The Ivory Gate are published by Odyssey Books, ‘where books are an adventure’.

At Julian Barr’s website you can also read about his Tooth and Blade series in which Norse Myth meets fantasy.

The Ivory Gate is available: through BookDepository, and Amazon Kindle and  Barnes and Noble Nook.

*The images here are copyright, and shown by courtesy of the author and Odyssey Books.

Mark is the guardian of Mawson. Mawson is the writer-bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In and She Ran Away From Love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.