Slaves of the Shinar
This is the debut novel for Justin Allen, and its whole title is Slaves of the Shinar: An Epic Fantasy of the Ancient World. The title is misleading, because I am of the solid opinion that this book is not fantasy, but is rather historical fiction, and pretty good historical fiction at that. Perhaps it is classed as fantasy by the publisher because of the creative manner in which Allen sets his story in very early (I assume pre-Hammurabi) Mesopotamia, at the pre-dawn of civilization.
It is an interesting story of people uniting against a common foe, but by being set in an ancient, bronze age (probably copper age, actually) era, it is very different from what most fantasy fare offers.
I usually read the typical medieval fantasy, and this was a really nice change. However, I believe it should be marketed as an historical novel, not a fantasy. The only fantastic eleme... Read More
Justin Allen(1974- )
Justin Allen was born in Boise, Idaho. He graduated from Boise State University with a degree in philosophy, and from Columbia University with an MFA in fiction. Besides writing fiction, Justin is also an active dancer, having performed with such companies as Dances Patrelle, Eidolon Ballet, and Idaho Dance Theatre. In 2009, his work in writing and dance came together in the form of a new ballet, “Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allan Poe,” with choreography by Francis Patrelle, music by Patrick Soluri, and all based upon an original story by Justin Allen. For 2010 he has been commissioned to produce a second story for ballet, this time for Eidolon Ballet, to be called “The Beatitudes,” which will be choreographed by Melanie Cortier. Justin’s wife is a social worker. Learn more at Justin Allen’s website.
Slaves of the Shinar
Year of the Horse by Justin Allen
Justin Allen’sYear of the Horse is one of the more original fantasy amalgamations I’ve come across — a mix of fantasy, historical western, and coming-of-age boys’ adventure tale peppered with some Devil and Daniel Webster / Washington Irving / Mark Twain / Zane Grey, and topped off by a heaping of multi-culturalism. Does it all work? Not in all places, but certainly often enough to keep the reader enjoyably engaged.
The story is told from the perspective of Yen-Tzu-lu (mostly known as Lu), a young Chinese boy living in his Grandfather K’Ung’s store in Chinatown St. Frances with his mother and alchemist grandfather. Into the store walks the famous and mysterious gunslinger Jack Straw, who shockingly seems to know Lu’s grandfather. Next thing he knows, Lu is the “explosives expert” of a team led by Jack and including Chino (a pistol-toting Californian/Mexi... Read More