Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hero for Hire by CB Pratt

Myths held the place of comic books when I was growing up, Judeo-Christian, Greek, Robin Hood and Arthurian to start and then moving on to Norse, Japanese and myth in general.  So I've been living something of a dream recently with the resurgence of fantasy based on world myths.  What with things like the Dresden Files, the Scion RPG by White Wolf, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson stories and now, it seems, Eno the Thracian.

The period is 2 years into the Trojan War, so most of the warriors and great heroes are out of the area and off in Asia Minor besieging Troy.  It is still eight years before the events of the Illiad and people are still expecting the city to fall at any given moment.  As Eno says, this leaves a Hero for Hire with a lot of work to do.  Whenever some monster or bandit raises their head, he or someone like him gets called in to handle it.  He lives in a rented room and dreams of settling down to found a school for heroes some day and then he goes grocery shopping one day and finds that Aphrodite has thrown a thunderbolt named Minthe in his direction leading him to look out for some quick big money jobs.

Another thing that seems to have come into style is the first person narration with the casual asides that are still most associated with noir style detective novels and thrillers.  The author handles it very well, sounding something like a mix between Michael Westen and Harry Dresden at many points.  Then there's another element to the conversation.  Most characters that take to this style of narration are terminally irreverent, but while Eno remains down to Earth, he mostly remains extremely respectful of the various gods of the Greek pantheon.  The mixture of reverence and irreverence is an entertainingly odd one and somewhat unique.  Certainly there are traces of it in the other characters I mentioned, but not quite to this degree.

The Greeks in this series are of the Hellenic interpretations rather than the Classical.  What that means is that the readers should expect the Gods to be benevolent if somewhat imperfect beings of eldritch power rather than selfish and often cruel.  The gods have humanity's best interest in mind by all appearances though they sometimes fail to understand humans all that well.

Eno very much fits the mold of a Greek myth.  He's strong, skilled and clever, winning out on pure wits as often as he does on strength of arms.  And he has his fatal flaws.  They relatively minor, at least in this first story, but they always are at the start of a Greek hero's tale.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the series progresses.

The story has monsters and magic a plenty and even a handful of gods thrown here and there.

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