The second book in the Orion SF series.

Publication year: 1988
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki
Running Time: 11 hrs and 21 minutes

At the end of the previous book, Orion was reunited with his lady love, Anya, in the future “now”. They are going to leave together on a space ship for their new adventure together. However, in the next moment Orion wakes up on a sea ship, under a lash, and without any memories of himself or how he got there. He finds out that the ship is headed towards the city of Troy to wage war. Orion is one of the thess, a masterless man, not a slave but he also doesn’t have anyone who wants to keep him alive. An old man called Polates talks with Orion helps him. Soon, Orion starts to remember who he is and what happened to him: he and Anya had been on a star ship who blew up. She died and Orion blames the Golden One Ahriman who couldn’t let a “goddess” to be with a creature Ahriman had created.

The Golden One visits Orion in dreams. Ahriman is called Apollo here. Apollo wants Orion to help the Trojans to defeat the Greek because the Trojans are more civilized and will be able to unify the world in a way that the Greek, fighting amongst themselves in their city-states, can’t. When Orion refuses, Apollo says that he can bring Anya back to life.

The plot is fast-paced. After the battle for Troy, Orion meets the Hebrews, and later he and his group go to Egypt. The book has a lot of hand-to-hand combat with ancient weapons. The SF elements are mostly the time-travel plot and the gods; Orion lives in historical times without any modern conveniences.

I found Orion to be weirdly inconsistent. At one point, he comments that the attackers aren’t going to call themselves Greek for over a thousand years. He also thinks that the Hebrews are religious zealots, and have no problem saying to others that gods can die and aren’t really divine. Yet, at the same time, he doesn’t seem to remember any details about the Trojan war; there’s no quips about how Homer will tell the fall of Troy. He also doesn’t make any comments about how the Hebrews will be seen in the future or, er, about the quite famous Biblical story he takes part in. He has modern attitudes and doesn’t bother to hide them.

There are also more gods this time; a whole pantheon of them. Not all of them support Apollo, either. They keep their guises as the Greek gods even though Orion knows that they are likely just advanced humans from the future. Strangely, even though Athena/Anya died in the future, she isn’t in this time, either and the other gods say that she’s dead. Why would she be dead in the past? The answer makes sense plot wise (if she was alive, she and Orion would be together and there wouldn’t be adventures) but makes no sense otherwise.

Like in the first book, there are few continuous supporting characters. Most of them change when Orion and his group move on. The old storyteller is mostly likely Homer although this isn’t said explicitly.

A fun historical/SF adventure if you don’t mind reading about brutal treatment of women and slaves.

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