Historical Fiction Book Review: I, the Sun by Janet Morris

i the sunIn this age of formula fiction and uber-mass market storytelling, historical fiction has become the instrument of the romance market. A hundred romances set in medieval Scotland or Renaissance Italy, or Victorian England. It is the mainstay of a class of fiction that is as prolific as it is average.

And that is profoundly disappointing to me. I love history. I love reading historical nonfiction and I itch to read fiction that can bring history to life. It could be—it should be—the greatest fiction—stories of historical, bigger than life figures that actually lived—people whose real lives are at least as interesting and filled with drama as Aragorn’s or Tywin Lannister’s or Luke Skywalker’s.

I, the Sun is that story.

This book is, far and away, my favorite book of the year—and I read a lot of books. Anyone with a penchant for historical fiction or fantasy fiction should find a reason to sit down, open this one up and throw themselves into it—body and soul.

The ancient world is a time that has interested me in the past, but could never really lure me away from my deep love of history in feudal Asia and Europe. But, this book changed many of my predispositions, and stoked in me a new interest in the ancient world.

One might think that a work of this caliber would require some knowledge of the history of this great civilization, but I knew nothing of the Hittites or their greatest King Suppiluliumas before reading this story.

I didn’t need it.

In this excellent work, the reader quickly becomes immersed in the world. The description is so sharp and beautiful and real, that the reader feels transported into the Bronze Age world, surrounded by all the cultural and physical realities of a dark and very real existence. It closes in on you, sweeps you away. The world of the Hittite king is more deep and thrilling and filled with intrigue than any fantasy world.

What’s more – this story is filled with all of the great things that I love about stories of conquest, imminent death, a bigger-than-life leader, bloody combat and the lamentations of the vanquished. I can now officially say – I rode in a chariot, side by side with a conqueror, dust filling my nostrils, my eyes, choking, clinging for my life.

King Suppiluliumas is not your typical story book conqueror. He is a man of ever-developing character, responding with great, decisive strokes to the many conflicts he finds in the world and events around him. No flat character here: he is filled with regret, but never dissuaded by continuous inner combat with dark insecurities and strong beliefs that challenge the status quo in a world where that meant death.

You will know him. You will grow with him from a young person shunted off into a brutal childhood to the ruler of (arguably) the most powerful empire of the time. His was not an easy life, and his rise to power was no easy path. You will experience it all in grim reds and browns: a story steeped in trail dust, blood and tears.

If you like fantasy. If you like history. If you like adventure. This is the story for you. I dare you to open this book and delve into its dark, and very real story.


Get the Book here

See the Janet Morris’ Author Page here.

 

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