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Gilgamesh the King (Gilgamesh #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  454 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Read but well kept, slight aging. A mesmerizing retelling of the legendary Sumerian monarch, in fantastical tale of ambition, power and obsession, set against the background of an ancient and fearsome world. (fic)
Paperback, 299 pages
Published 1986 by Pan (London) (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 906)
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Aug 31, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gilgamesh that Robert Silverberg describes is a combination of Leonidas (as portrayed by Gerard Butler in 300), Conan (as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Ted Nugent: he is an alpha male with an attitude, a manly man of testosteronian power and ursine manliness, with a steaming hot side order of god-like virile manly manness.

I read five pages and dropped and GAVE MYSELF TEN PUSHUPS!!!

The almost pre-historic, shrouded in myth and legend setting made me think of Creation by Gore Vidal a
Feb 10, 2016 AdiTurbo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've learned so much from this novel - about the culture, history and beliefs of the early people of Mesopotamia. Silverberg researched the subject well, and managed to bring to life the old myths of Gilgamesh, who went looking for eternal life. This modern version really helped me understand these old peoples' way of thinking, how natural phenomena connected with their religious beliefs, and how they explained them. Beyond that, there are many universal things in this story in terms of the huma ...more
Jeff Miller
Sep 24, 2016 Jeff Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much enjoyed the story and the audiobook version. An ancient heroes epic adapted with a nice flow to it story wise. Not quite what I expected, but that was a good thing.
Christian Schwoerke
Gilgamesh lived approximately 5000 years ago, in the Tigris-Euphrates valley of what is now Iraq, in 2800 BC. His saga was “composed” orally at roughly the same time, first appearing in Sumerian cuneiform in roughly 2000 BC, then were later copied and translated into Akkadian and Hittite versions over the next 1000 years. Tablets whose dates ranged from 1700 BC to 700 BC have been found throughout Mesopotamia and even beyond, indication of the durability and the extent of this saga. (To give fur ...more
Sep 15, 2016 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Very different in style from his SF novels but also very enjoyable. Factional type novel set in prehistory times (approx 5000 years ago) and dealing with Gilgamesh, who became King of the Sumerians. While it deals a lot with the capriciousness of the gods and has plenty of fantasy elements these are all dealt with as would be by ancient society and all have a rational interpretation. Deals to a large extent with the lust for power and the struggle between the high priestess of the Kingdom and th ...more
Mar 07, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written, and while I have a few minor quibbles, little of them have to do with the writing or the story itself. This is an adaptation of the story of Gilgamesh, perhaps the oldest narrative in existence. It also attempts to de-mythologize the events of the epic, and place it firmly in a realistic milieu. I find this both to be a strength and a weakness. All events can be explained rationally, but the book does a very good job of depicting some of the cultural beliefs of the S ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 20, 2012 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tom Miley
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
I brought this book along for the plane trip from Chicago to San Francisco as a gift for my host (and former roommate) Tom Miley and his wife. It is a modern retelling of the Gilgamesh story and not, in my opinion, especially insightful as regards the milieux of the original. The focus is more on the character of the protagonist.
Stephen Poltz
Sep 23, 2015 Stephen Poltz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The “Epic of Gilgamesh” is an ancient epic Sumerian poem about the exploits of Gilgamesh, the greatest king of Uruk in Mesopotamia. It tells the tale of how he overworked his people to build a great kingdom, his friendship with the wild man Enkidu who was sent by the gods to distract him, his battles with the goddess Inanna, the earliest account of the great flood, and his journey seeking immortality. Silverberg’s book is a novelization of the epic with some liberties taken, particularly the int ...more
Sep 22, 2014 Samuli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Finnish edition, Vaskikirjat 2008)
Käännös vaikutti toimivalta. Ihmiskunnan vanhin säilynyt tarina soljui vaivattomasti eteenpäin.

Kirjailija oli tehnyt hyvää työtä siirtäessään vanhan legendarunoelman modernimpaan formaattiin. Tunnelma ei kärsinyt, vaikka eeposta ei lukenutkaan rasvalampun valossa savitauluilta, ja jotkut kerrontaratkaisut oli tehty niin, että tarinaa pystyi tulkitsemaan sekä myyttinä, että realistisemmista näkökohdista käsin.

Vain toinen Sumerilaisista suosikkijumaluuksista/-sa
Jack Pramitte
Très belle édition, couverture imitation cuir.
Julie Davis
Feb 23, 2011 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on my podcast's featuring the Epic of Gilgamesh recently, Jesse from SFFaudio offered me this audiobook review copy. I have only listened to the first hour or so but it is interesting thus far. It may help that I have the bare bones of the Gilgamesh epic in mind. Again, I am put in mind of the Mary Stewart Merlin trilogy or the Mary Renault stories in the old style of story telling. The reading is very good so far and that is, naturally, a big plus.

I am really enjoying this tale, wh
J'ai lu ce livre essentiellement parce que ma fille semble devoir étudier cette oeuvre l'année prochaine ... Mais j'y reviendrai.
Il raconte donc la vie de Gilgamesh, devenu roi d'Uruk à la suite d'une habile machination d'un royaume ambitionnant de prendre de la place d'Uruk (première ville du monde à l'époque, semble-t-il). Il devient donc roi, dans une ville dominée principalement par la déesse de la Lune et sa déesse ... avec laquelle il a des relations amoureuses sacrées faciles, mais person
Mielenkiintoista oli tutustua ihmiskunnan vanhimpaan taruun ymmärrettävässä muodossa, vaikka tekstissä on luonnollisesti kirjailijan omiakin näkemyksiä. Koko taruun ei olisi tullut tutustuttua ilman tätä kirjaa. Tämä teos luulisi kiinnostavan muitakin lukijoita, kuin fantasiasta kiinnostuneita. Vaikka alkuteos on ikivanha, kirjan kertomus ja tyyli eivät olleet yhtään vanhanaikaisia. Silverbergillä on taito hyppysissään. Kerronta soljuu helposti ja tapahtumat kuvataan mielenkiintoisesti. Lukemine ...more
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
I don't usually associate the name Robert Silverberg with historical fiction, but this one was good. It is a story set in Mesopotamia, and tries to show how life might have been for people in the Middle East during the Biblical era.
Sep 23, 2016 Bekki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Interesting View of Gilgamesh

I have read several stories about Gilgamesh's life, and this a very enjoyable account. A fascinating account of his possible adventures.
Aug 11, 2014 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a reason first person narrative is rarely used in fiction. It makes for tedious reading. This retelling of the epic of Gilgamesh is told in first person, past tense, so it is very much like listening to an older person telling the story of their lives. That's not a bad thing, in general, but when the stories are primarily focused on the teller, it becomes a portrait in narcissism, interesting really only to the teller. Nonetheless, I have a deep interest in the subject matter, and a lon ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg's take on the Gilgamesh story is certainly interesting -- I can't think of any other novel set in ancient Sumeria. But Silverberg's relentless demythologizing of a figure most people are not all that familiar with soon becomes a dreary game where the reader just tries to guess which fantastic element is being explained away in a given passage. The character of course has a lot of potential for introspection and Silverberg's biggest failure is in not making him all that interesting -- ...more
Lisa Nelson
Apr 30, 2016 Lisa Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A truly amazing re-telling of the oldest saga on record. Silverberg makes the legend of Gilgamesh come alive.
David Miles
Jun 06, 2015 David Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written. Silverberg definitely had a feel for the mythic quality of story of the hero Gilgamesh.
Feb 19, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It made an ancient saga accessible to this modern reader. I very much enjoyed it.
Sep 22, 2012 Nicolas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Une relecture du mythe de gilgamesh par l'un des plus grands auteurs de sf. Une œuvre magistrale ou le événements mythiques prennent vie sous vos yeux. Tout la science de l'auteur est mis à profit pour rendre logique et réaliste chaque étape du mythe et vous faire douter sur le surnaturel. Il s'applique à comprendre comment a un époque lointaine chaque événement prenait un tour magique. En même temps le personnage de gilgamesh plus grand que tout vous absorbe. Fantastique!
Jul 06, 2012 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Silverberg is always good, often great, here he is at his greatest. An epic story retold in modern format. The great King who conquers all, but what he fears most—death. A dream-like quality, mythic, primitive, primal, intimate, compelling and surprisingly real. The sequel, where Gilgamesh continues his life and adventures in the afterlife, is equally good.
I did read the novel way before this 2005 edition, but no longer have those details.
Aug 29, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually enjoy ancient literature and earned an M.A. studying mythology, but I couldn't connect with Gilgamesh. Maybe it's because the culture is so foreign or maybe it's because Gilgamesh is so flawed, but I had a hard time finishing it. After reading it, I decided to require only small sections for my son and focus our time on more enjoyable pieces on literature.
Jaime Contreras
Since I had never read the legend of Gilgamesh and I am not a huge science fiction/fantasy fan, I was skeptical when I started reading this book. In the end, I was entertained and would recommend this book. It is a tapestry of exotic lands, heroes and feats. I consider this a classic of fantasy.
Mihai Giurgiulescu
Went through this a while ago so I can't comment on what impressed me at the time, but I remember it was an interesting and enjoyable read. Silverberg's recreation of the ancient story was definitely a feast of imagination.
Sep 20, 2012 Lionel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Une fresque historico-fantastique très réussie, c'est pas souvent qu'on a droit à un setting babylonien. Low fantasy, à lire absolument !
Sep 29, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i had no idea what this was when i picked it up.

reads kind of like historical fiction. in a really weird fantasy-like way.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
A great take on the epic - loved it. Brilliant as a primer to introduce into the full version.
Oct 19, 2010 Zjay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic rendition of the masterpiece. The tension between Ishtar and Gilgamesh is electrifying.
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Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine’s Castle, as well as At Winter’s End, also available in a Bison Books edition. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Sc ...more
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