There’s something about old gods in the digital age that just works. It makes sense; stories and characters that have lasted millennia are going to fit into any context. James Lovegrove has taken advantage of this with his Pantheon series. His previous, all of which stand-alone, explore how modern man would interact with the ancient and terrible, yet in a fun and pulp-action sort of way that makes them consistently entertaining.
Age of Heroes takes a slight departure from the formula to explore the world of demi-gods. The premise is pretty simple; the gods of ancient Greece departed the mortal realm some period of time ago, but left their children here on Earth. Heracles, Hippolyta, Orpheus, Orion, Theseus and so on have all been chilling out for millennia, lurking amongst man.
That is until a conspiracy of tooled-up mortals turns up, using the weapons of the gods to murder the immortals. This set-up allows Lovegrove to blend two of the things he loves to write about; superheroes and para-military badasses. Of course, the army types are from different nations, just to mix it up a bit and lend an ‘80s action movie feel to the whole affair. It’s a pretty straightforward story, yet very compelling. Much like a high-octane Arnie flick, the story doesn’t dwell too long on details, giving the reader just enough investment to make the next bit of adventure more interesting.
The author is also having a lot of fun with the story. Theseus, for example, writes pulp action books. This sets him up for some rather interesting meta references on the nature of these sort of books (of which Age of Heroes is one), and Lovegrove even takes the time to have a laugh at the website Goodreads. Hippolyta is particularly well drawn as a character, but even then the story can’t resist a sly pop culture reference or two. There is some depth, but mostly this serves to make the various Greek demi-gods just a bit more modern and bit more interesting.
Age of Heroes is cracking pulp fun. Well worth a read, especially if you love Greek gods or superheroes of any type.