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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Kroese, Robert: Mercury Falls

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

God--or at least the mind-numbingly complex bureaucracy that administers His domains--has a plan for us, and it turns out that it involves the destruction of life as we know it, and sooner rather than later. The Apolcalypse is very nigh indeed, its imminence evidenced by the fact that the Antichrist walks the earth. Thirty-seven-year-old Karl Grissom, a part-time pizza delivery guy who lives with his mother, was selected for the role in a contest run to promote a series of young adult fantasies. Human reporter Christine Temetri gets thrust into the thick of things apocalyptic when she's handed one of the Four Attaché Cases of the Apocalypse (that "horsemen" thing wasn't quite accurate) while covering a flare-up in the Middle East. This leads her to hook up with her latest apocalyptic cult leader--interviewing them is her specialty--who happens to be Mercury, the fallen angel of the book's title. Maybe "fallen" isn't quite right: Mercury isn't playing for the other team, but he's had it with the pencil-pushers and he's playing by his own rules. Together, he and Christine set their sights on averting the Apocalypse, or at least minimizing the casualties.

Robert Kroese's debut novel is clever. The plot is clever, the writing is clever. The principals engage in witty banter, ostensibly insouciant in the face of nearly certain doom.

"'No worries,' Mercury said. 'I think I've figured out a way for everyone to live happily ever after.'

'Everybody?'

'Well, almost everybody. And not so much happy as only mildly disgruntled.'

'And the 'ever after' part?'

'Actually,' said Mercury thoughtfully, 'it's more like 'for the very short time future.' So, to modify my original statement slightly, I've probably found a way to keep almost everyone from becoming more than mildly disgruntled for the very near future.'"

Reading the book, one appreciates the author's ingenuity as well as the fact that he writes well. But it's not an easy book to become invested in. One doesn't really care about the characters, and the machinations of the many parties involved in planning or planning to thwart the Apocalypse are eventually too complex to bother following. By the end the cleverness just seems too much. I think the book would have been better if it were perhaps a third shorter, so that Armageddon wrapped up before the reader has time to lose interest. This, of course, is my own take. My eventual lack of patience with the book may just be due to my preferences: readers who were able to enjoy more than one Jasper Fforde novel (I couldn't) are likely to enjoy Kroese as well.

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