Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Votan by John James, 232 pages.

I had not heard of this book until I read about it in Neal Gaiman's collection of essays and reviews, A View from the Cheap Seats. Photinus, a Greek trader, bouncing around the Roman Empire, must flee deeper into Germanic lands when he believes that his lover's husband, a Roman officer (I forget the rank) is on to him and seeking to have him killed. On his travels through the wilds of the Germanic lands, while seeking access to the sources of amber and gold, Photinus undergoes strange hardships, and with his wits and the help of Apollo, he come through them. Witnesses to his trials call him the all-father, and he takes the name Votan. Seeking to follow Apollo's commands and to, incidentally, replenish his fortunes, he seeks refuge in the trading village of the Aser. He meets Tyr, Loki, and others with familiar Norse names, and embarks on a series of adventures that will have his name, in a slightly different form, become a part of the mythology. Fans of Mary Renault, Neal Gaiman, and older fans of Rick Riordan will enjoy.

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