I finished reading THE AGE OF RA by British science fiction author James Lovegrove the other day. It's the third book of his "Godpunk" series that I've read. "Godpunk" is a series in concept only as each novel is a stand alone in which various ancient religions and pantheons play a major part in the narratives. The first of these that I read, AGE OF AZTEC, I loved. It had a pulp fiction/comic book character as the protagonist up against Aztec deities returning to earth. It was fast paced and action packed.
The second "Godpunk" book I read was AGE OF VOODOO, which was a B horror/action movie on steroids. It started off slow with way too much talk and exposition but kicked into high gear in the second half of the book.
AGE OF RA starts out strong then quickly stalls, never actually managing to get back into first gear for the duration of the book. It's an intriguing premise. The entire world worships various gods of the ancient Egyptian pantheon with countries pledging their allegiance to their respective gods and goddesses. Every nation is tied to a god except for Freegypt, which refuses to worship any of the gods. David Westwynter, a British soldier, finds his way into Freegypt after his squad of paratroopers are ambushed and killed with Westwynter left for dead. In Freegypt he meets a beautiful woman, Zafirah and a mysterious, masked figure known only as The Lightbringer. The Lightbringer has more than one secret up his sleeve but his primary mission is to lead the forces of Freegypt against neighboring nation states in an attempt to topple the stranglehold the gods have on the world. It's a doomed gambit but all is not what it seems.
To say anymore would be to ruin a couple of major plot twists that radically effect the course of events. AGE OF RA is not a bad book. It's a compelling concept that deals with issues of fraternity, faith and belief. There are some well written battle scenes but the book lacks the propulsive narrative drive that AZTEC and VOODOO had. I kept reading but I wasn't turning the pages as quickly as I did with Lovegrove's other books. AGE OF RA is certainly worth reading but if you haven't sampled any of the "Godpunk" novels, start with AGE OF AZTEC like I did. It's the best of the three I've read so far.
You know what would have made AGE OF RA a real winner in my book? An appearance by this lady:
I know, this is a book I'm talking about, not a movie but hey, Ann-Margret is like bacon. She makes everything better.