Black Sea Gods by Brian Braden
A thought-provoking read, Black Sea Gods is a little bit hard to get into, but once you do the trouble to get to know the characters and get into the story, it is quite addictive. It is the retelling of familiar Bible stories in a manner that seems to mix a few different elements of different religions.
The story follows Aizarg and a group of Lo people who one day find the fish gone from their waters and the animals fleeing together inland. Strange and disturbing things are happening all around and the Lo people do not understand. Instead of giving in to hopelessness and starvation, they consult their wise-woman. A small group including the leader of the people, Aizarg, sets out on a perilous journey far from all they know. Strife develops withing the group, as well as underlying jealous tones amongst some of the members. It will be a journey that tests the loyalty of each companion; some will pass the test, and some will fail.
On the way they meet a young slave girl who will be a guide to the city of the Narim and a fabled race known as ‘The Black Sea Gods’. As the story unfolds, more and more layers are revealed, and the familiar themes begin to show. The world as they know it is ending, and soon enough they realize time is of the essence. Their journey becomes a race for their lives and the lives of those they love. Aizarg must learn to trust the ‘true God’ and also those around him if he is to fulfill his purpose and keep a promise. The waters are rising and perilous events are being set in motion, and all the while time is running out.
The storyteller weaves an intricate and involved story, carrying different story lines with ease. The descriptions and conversations are well handled, and there are several memorable quotes that really attribute to the skill of the author.