Saturday, March 31, 2012

After Ilium, Stephen Swartz

After Ilium  is an engrossing work of modern literature, delivered with darkly cosmopolitan flair, by indie author Stephen Swartz.  As one reviewer said, 'don't read this if you are expecting a sappy romance novel!' There is a deep story here, and while there is a love affair, this book is much more of a thriller, mixing intrigue and politics with the romance. 
Set against the backdrop of the modern middle-east, After Ilium contrasts the old against the new in multiple ways throughout the story. Historical Ilium of the Trojan era is viewed through the eyes of the young history buff and tourist, Alex Parris as he tours Turkey and Greece, and we see the modern cities that thrive there now. The contrast of old against new provides a vivid tapestry that holds the reader.

The story begins when Alex Parris, a young American wakes up in a foreign hospital. He is terribly injured and his story is told in both flashbacks and dreams.

He has always been involved in the history of ancient Troy, or Ilium as it was called in ancient times. After finishing college Alex journeys to the ruined city that has fascinated him all his life, and on the way there he meets the mysterious and beautiful Elena.

Elena is older and very cosmopolitan. Rather naive at the outset, Alex is attracted to her foreign mannerisms and her aloofness challenges him. They begin a love affair that is filled with both passion and unanswered questions. 

Rather quickly things begin changing for the the worse, in his relationship with the beautiful Elena. Swartz' descriptions of both ancient and modern Ilium are clear and vivid.  The conversations and interactions between the characters are natural and unforced, drawing the reader in and immersing them in his tale.

Alex’s youth and inexperience lead him into a situation that culminates in a series of terrifying events. Nothing is as Alex believes it to be, and he is dragged into a series of nightmarish events that have one comonality - Elena. 

The way Swartz weaves the complex web of both Alex's dreams of ancient Ilium and his drugged memories of what happened to him after he met Elena is engrossing, and I found it hard to put down.

This is not a romance novel in any way. The mystery of what happened to Alex and how his love of the history of Ilium led to his predicament is at times violent and gritty.

I really enjoyed this book. There is no fluff here, just good, solid adventure, well-written and engrossing. After Ilium is a book that I would read again! 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an intriguing read! Thanks for the review!


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