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Between the Rivers

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  289 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
At the sun-drenched dawn of human history, in the great plain between the two great rivers, are the cities of men. And each city is ruled by its god.

But the god of the city of Gibil is lazy and has let the men of his city develop the habit of thinking for themselves. Now the men of Gibil have begun to devise arithmetic, and commerce, and are sending expeditions to trade wi
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 15th 1999 by Tor Fantasy (first published 1998)
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Very cool! I like this writer. Difficult to define this, historical fantasy maybe? The story takes place at the dawn of civilization in Mesopotamia, in a land where each city and place has a god that is actually alive and walking around. They are able to feel thoughts and directly control the people within their borders. The main character is a metalsmith and trader who aims to end the rule of the gods and allow a world ruled by men.
Brenda Clough
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the only book about the ancient Middle East I have ever read that is written in the style of their literature. Watch for the doubling, a literary device popular in things like the Psalms. Bob says to Sam, "I am going to the house of my father." Sam says back to Bob, "You are going to the house of your father." Expertly done!
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sf
At times a unique and immersive read, “Between the Rivers” is ably written, but unable to sustain itself for the entirety of the book.

Set in a Mesopotamian-like fantasy world where the gods are ever-present (though not omnipresent) in the lives of its inhabitants, Harry Turtledove’s novel is mostly a break from the traditional fantasy world inspired by Western Europe. It revolves around the son of a “master merchant”, Sharur, who comes from a city where the people are largely freed from the dir
Diana Sandberg
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Hmmm. The author is, apparently, a scholar of ancient history. This is a mildly engaging story and the style is presumably deliberately in imitation of the highly repetitive storytelling style of ancient tales like the Epic of Gilgamesh (not that I've read much of that, but I have read extracts). I find it an interesting idea and all that, but it was rather wearying to plod through almost 400 pages of it. The brain keeps wanting to race ahead while the narrative rings the minute changes on descr ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read. I really like a lot of the little details included in the book like how since coinage wasn't invented yet goods were traded and how everyone was so provincial in their attitudes towards people from other places. Anyway it was an easy read, I finished it in two days so it kept my interest. I've never read anything by this author before but I think I'll look for more of his stuff.
I'm not sure if the author was trying to make some kind of Randian point regarding the freedom an
Christine Frost
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
As someone who loves to study the ancient Near East, I found this to be a great story. The author took an unusual approach in how he made the gods real, and part of the everyday lives of the characters in this society. It felt as though the author really did a lot of research to make this early civilization as realistic as possible. While I felt the characterizations could have been stronger, the overall story was fantastic, and I was really captivated by how the plot unfolded. Great combination ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
As much as I normally love Harry Turtledove, the really odd grammar and sentence structure used in the dialogue makes this book a bit hard to read. They have a really formal third-person way of talking that takes some getting used to.

Plus the feminist part of me wanted some justice for their house slave.
Maggie Anton
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction and alternative history
Recommended to Maggie by: Gary Hoggatt
Shelves: ancient-persia
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even though it is alternative history, Turtledove's description of ancient Mesopotamia is pretty accurate. His premise on how the ancient gods lost their powers is clever and insightful. I loved the interaction between the gods, ghosts, and living characters.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who like Turledove's writing.
I like a lot of what Turtledove writes, but while this series wasn't bad, it is no where near as good as his works such as Misplaced Legion and The Tosev series. Not a bad read, but definitely not in the class of his other works.
Pam Bales
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, owned
Alternate universe science fiction at its best.
Jan 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
It starts off fun and interesting, then everything goes to hell.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great story set in a bronze-age fantasy land where cuneiform is still a cutting-edge technology and the gods take a very active and personal hand in the lives of men.
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it
An alright book, got kind of slow at times, and is VERY wordy, but the characters are kind of clever so it's entertaining.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Overall I guess it wasn't a bad book, but I like some of his other books much better. This takes place early in human history.
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce
More about Harry Turtledove...

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