Home > Book Reviews > The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove

The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove

James Lovegrove conceived of a fascinating alternate timeline in his The Age of Ra:  a world where the ancient gods of Egypt gaze back at Earth, conquer the other religions’ pantheon of gods, and then each adopts one of the continents to sponsor and protect.

Lovegrove obscures the point in time in which the Egyptian gods return, but it appears that it was sometime in the past:  1700s or 1800s perhaps?  Although frustrating a bit to never really find out, it was fun to catch a quick glimpse from time to time.

The novel focuses on a British paramilitary soldier, furthering the interests and designs of Osiris.  Each of the gods influence their adherents through signs and dreams via their priests.  Certain advanced weapons are powered by ba, a sort of divine essence generated from the worship, praise, or perhaps just recognition of the gods by men.

Each group of citizens begins to take on the characteristics and loyalties of their patron god or goddess.  For example, the Europeans and Americans are generally in alliance because of Osiris’s and Isis’s love for their son Horus.  Anubis, a god of the underworld, influences the Japanese and other Southeast Asian nations to adopt kamikaze methods and a whole-hearted acceptance of death.  Only Freegypt has no patron, because the gods could not agree who should rule their original land.

The plot revolves around an insurgency forming in Freegypt to free mankind from the whims of the gods, to deny those gods any worship so as to give mankind free will again.  Can mankind revolt against the gods?

Some of the most interesting passages of the book, however, occur as little interludes from the main action.  Some chapters focus on the machinations of the gods themselves, particularly those of the Ennead, the nine major gods of the Egyptian pantheon.  Ra’s voyage in the Solar Barque, the apathy of the older generation of gods, and the secret infidelity of Nephthys all show creativity on Lovegrove’s part.  I quite enjoyed having to use wikipedia to reacquaint myself with the ancient myths.

The biggest problem I had with the writing was the needless use of prurient obscenities and gratuitous sexual situations, none of which were relevant to the plot.

3 1/2 stars out of 5

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