Envy of the Gods, a science-fiction novel, has a cast of five main characters that struggle through a rise to leadership, tough ethical decisions, the re-discovery and use of ancient textbooks, and a society that strives for a better, more efficient way of life.
In a ruthless and brutal age, much like our age of barbarian kingdoms, the novel takes the reader through immense social and governmental changes. Cold, power hungry Duke Atan Ishtba is on his way towards unchallenged dominance of surrounding kingdoms. Yet Raphela's intense beauty not only brought him to his knees. All his efforts at wooing her with jewels and finery are only in vain. Her heart lay with the rightful leader who is destined to rule the land with a caring and enterprising heart. Between the two they bring education to the masses, equality to women and better economic situations for the general public.
This is not done through some kind of super-human power, but rather through genuine hard work, learning to use their minds creatively and through the generosity of the Ancients – who left behind a written legacy of their advanced knowledge. The loyal support of friends like Mahtso and Fatell, help these two through their many adventures.
The author never tells us much about the Ancients, the terrain or other such background information. I was clueless, until it was made clear in the end, that the book is based in another world entirely. Certainly, the characters were quite likely to be of humanoid life. Envy of the Gods is very interesting indeed, and deserves a second read.
I do, however, feel it is necessary to voice some negative comments. The back cover does not explain the book very well at all and the front cover image does not have much appeal. I felt, that at times, some of the events were not exactly believable or could fit a realistic timetable. But then, science-fiction genres can push many boundaries that other genres cannot.
This 320-page novel by Andrea Savitch is the first in the trilogy and though it does not require subsequent novels, the author has created sufficient curiosity to entice readers to wonder where she will take them next.
Author: Andrea Savitch
Publisher: Bridgeway Books