Monday, April 23, 2007

God of the Golden Fleece, by Fred Saberhagen



Fantasy fandom knows Fred Saberhagen through his more prolific series (Berserker and Swords) and perhaps to a lesser extent his Vampire books. In the late ‘90’s, he started writing about the gods of old; he focused on, but didn’t limit himself to, the Greek pantheon. In this installment [the fourth of five], Saberhagen chronicles the development of the newly-transferred Triton while telling Jason and Medea’s story, sort of.

Saberhagen definitely has no compunction in reworking the classic myths to perhaps tell a better story. I didn’t read the original original, and my memory of the general story is admittedly fuzzy, but I was surprised at who (and even more so, how) was brought down by the end. Saberhagen’s gods have their physical and territorial limitations, and their “powers” sometimes go completely out the window when when it comes to dealing with Giants; such is the hazard of being housed in a human host.

There’s only one left in the series, the reason for which I’ve read two explanations: 1) the publisher isn’t interested in more, and 2) the author was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during or soon after the publication of the last book and hasn’t been up to writing more (for this series, anyway—I didn’t dig deep enough to see if anything’s been forthcoming). I do have to say that I enjoyed the first two (Mask of Apollo, Ariadne’s Web) over the last two I’ve read, but I think that the next one, set with the Norse pantheon, will redeem the series as a whole. I’m curious to see if Saberhagen actually wraps the “big picture,” or if he left it open for either his return or another’s efforts to continue.

6 comments:

Nymeth said...

Oh, I love mythology retellings and I'd never heard of this series. I really need to check it out!

booklogged said...

That's sad about the author.

Carl V. said...

Saberhagen is one of those authors that I feel guilty about not having read any of his work. I really need to remedy that!

Carrie K said...

I'll have to check him out too. Perfect, I hadn't figured out my myth book for the OUAT challenge.

Sad about his diagnosis.

Marina said...

note to self: Reader is reading Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith, this blog doesn't accept comments

chittavrtti said...

I'm just finishing Snow-Walker which uses Northern Myths, I'll have to visit this one at the bookstore next time I'm there***CV