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The Age of Ra
James Lovegrove
Solaris, 448 pages

The Age of Ra
James Lovegrove
James Lovegrove, who also writes as J.M.H. Lovegrove, is an Arthur C. Clarke Award short-listed author. He was born on Christmas Eve, 1965. Despite the rumour and the year and a half he spent in Chicago between 1995 and 1996, he remains inarguably, ineluctably, irretrievably, irrevocably British. He lives in Lewes, East Sussex.

James Lovegrove Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Age of Ra
SF Site Review: Worldstorm
SF Site Review: Untied Kingdom
SF Site Review: The Hope
SF Site Review: Imagined Slights
SF Site Review: The Foreigners
SF Site Review: The Foreigners
SF Site Review: The Krilov Continuum
SF Site Review: The Hand That Feeds

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Andy Remic

Guns? Check. Tanks? Check. Mad explosions? Check. Insane missions? Check. Ba lance battles powered by energy from divine pantheons? Er... check. Rampant horny squabbling gods? Check. Gods running rampant over a futuristic Egyptianesque Earth? Check. British soldiers in love with hot fiery women? Check, check and triple check, sah!

This is like no book I've ever read. And I mean that in a good way. It's a kind of weird cross between Terry Pratchett's Pyramids, Andy Remic's War Machine (haha!), Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers and that happy frisky comedy, The Mummy. It's an original, high-octane and more importantly, entertaining take on the premise of Egyptian Gods coming to life, or at least making their divine presence felt, and claiming dominion over a futuristic Earth. James Lovegrove drops into the mix a triumvirate of well-crafted, interesting and fun characters, and you have the recipe for a rollicking adventure through various countries which reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones and James Bond, mixed up with a deviated version of Stargate.

Lt. David Westwynter is a man's man, a good bloke with a good strong head on his shoulders. He's a rough-and-tumble, likeable hero, stumbling through Freegypt after losing most of his unit. Until he meets the fiery Zafira (yes yes, I've heard all the Vauxhall jokes, and they're very funny) and we thence become voyeurs on this gradually building, fiery relationship. Lovegrove writes with skill, humanity, and with some superb comedic touches: "At dawn, as much through luck as skill, David managed to catch and kill a lizard. He chiselled off its head with a sharp stone and they took turns to drink drips of its blood. Then they took turns to vomit."

I found myself tuned in (and turned on) to Lovegrove's writing, his action, his characters and his humour. Lovegrove's prose is as slick as his author photograph, and this man should have been picked as James Bond. If I wasn't married, I'd woo him with chocolates, if only so I could get my hands on an early copy of the next book (Age of Zeus, published 2010 by Solaris Books). Also, being a bit of an old Goth (and I mean the old, old Goths, who liked The Sisters of Mercy and Bau Haus, etc.), I found myself disturbingly attracted to the Nephs -- the bad guys. Ace! Lovegrove has found a platform to ridicule the Fields of the Nephilim under guise of a fast-paced semi-military adventure.

We have fights with monks, Scarab tanks, religious fervour and crocodiles. And mummies, baby, mummies! Dead troops fed through a Reanimation Facility (in a pyramid, where else?) to create mummy troops (with their brains in Canopic jars). Genius. As troops they're dumb, yes, and I would have preferred a bit more zest to my undead battles, but Lovegrove does a great job of integrating these shambling rogues into the novel as a whole -- and anyway, they make great cannon fodder for the Lightbringer and his guns 'n bombs posse.

Overall then, The Age of Ra is a very good book indeed. I enjoyed it thoroughly, from the extremely professional slick writing, the interesting characterisation, tight plotting and a brilliantly realised and original setting. We have epic battles, tension and pathos. And I loved Zafira. Loved her to bits. Girl power, and all that. Zigga zig ah. For anybody who enjoys a mix of Egyptology and Action, I thoroughly recommend this book. Indeed, for anybody who doesn't like Egyptology and Action, still check it out. In this day and age, huge dollops of originality are hard to come by, but Lovegrove has managed a feat of stunning creativity that will leave you hungering for more. Read The Age of Ra. It's an experience you won't regret!

Copyright © 2011 Andy Remic

Andy Remic is a larger-than-life chainsaw warrior, sexual athlete and chef. He has twelve SFF novels published by Orbit, Solaris and Angry Robot. Remic is working on various new projects and threatens he will never stop. He also runs ebook publishers Anarchy Books. Read more at: and

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