by Carrie Vaughn
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765325549
Date: 20 July 2010 List Price $23.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In Hopes Font, Colorado, Frank Walker is dying. His Los Angeles based daughter, Evie, decides to spend time with her dad before he passes on; so she moves into his dilapidated house. Evie is taken aback by the strange visitors who arrive, but barely acknowledge her or her dad. Instead they rudely go to the basement and leave carrying all sorts of oddities like a glass slipper that cannot have any usefulness or value. She muses that their behavior is odder than the characters in the comic books that she authors.
In ancient Troy, Sinon the Liar sneaks inside the walled city with a ruse concocted by him and his cousin Odysseus; inside he convinces the hesitant Trojans to accept the seemingly abandoned wooden horse. This leads to the Greek victory. However Apollo is angry with the subterfuge's lack of honor. He blames the grunt for the affront; ignoring the leader who abetted the trick as this always occurs in war with the leaders recognized by the books as deserved heroes while the troops are dead, maimed, or punished. The sneak attack in Apollo's belief lives in infamy; so fuming he abducts Sinon, forcing the Liar to become his cup-bearer submissive.
In Colorado, Evie has taken over the protection of the basement from her late dad. Hera arrives demanding Evie give her the golden apple that actually started the Trojan War as Helen who launched those thousand ships was a victor's afterthought. Evie wants to refuse as she fears what the goddess will do with Discord's Apple. She also struggles with her attraction to Alex, the mysterious stranger who keeps cursing in Greek. Others like Merlin and Arthur arrive for what looks like combat inside a storeroom.
This is an intriguing, fun but bizarre anti-war fantasy with a delightful spin on the Trojan War, Camelot, Jesus the wonderful preacher, and Greek mythology as the absurd and wonderful, converge on a basement storeroom in modern day Colorado. In some ways the artifacts inside the storeroom steal the show as the audiences wonders who will show up next and for what.
Evie is terrific as she reacts to the horde of pushy visitors and how some cannot enter the inner sanctum of the basement that her dad guarded and now she does. Her comic books were over the top of the Sierras, but her real life in dad's basement is over the top of the Rocky Mountains. She is falling in love with Alex, but not sure whether she trusts him with her heart, her basement, and especially the apple. No plot giveaways as to what he wants of her.
The support cast is an interesting assortment out of mythology or the town. With visitors like Robin Goodfellow, who Evie knocks some sense into with a slam dunk frying pan hit, the story line is as zany as any on the market today.
With Kitty on respite from her werewolf show, fans will enjoy Carrie Vaughn's action-packed urban fantasy thriller that shifts effortlessly between past and present as the secondary characters defend their premise that war is the humane way to settle disputes.