Spoils of War by Aleksandr Voinov and Raev Gray
When Achilleus, the greatest warrior who ever lived, falls before Troy (or Ilion, as it was known), Ares, God of War, stands ready to take his spirit with him to his palace. There, Ares demands that Achilleus yield to him. But can the embrace of a god and the offer of immortality make Achilleus forget his one true love, Patroklos?
As a mythology lover, this short story is a quick delight filled with nuance, detail, and surprising emotion. When Achilleus dies on the battlefield Ares steals away with him to discuss an impressive offer. However, no offer is free and not only does Achilleus have to deal with the God of War’s price but also with his conflicting emotions and desires.
Here the brief scene is well written with a lot of background material littered in rather casually. There are almost too many names dropped and a few could have been taken out without losing any effect. The level of detail is impressive though from the small nuances of wall reliefs to flaming chariots. The main thrust of the story is the conflicting desires of love and rage, war and retirement. After so many years of waging war and vengeance, Achilleus must decide if he can ever really give that up. After so long, the power and rage that comes from blood, war, sex, and mortality is a heady combination that is not easily denied. Especially in the face of immortality and immeasurable power.
Ares and Achilleus are well suited in the short scene, which is explicit, yet there is a happy ending of sorts. I personally wish that final scene had extended just a few minutes more but perhaps that would have ended too cliché and I could imagine a sappy “running on the beach” scene, yet still sweet and romantic. Either way the thread of love mixed with the violence of the time and characters is a nice contrast. The only other negative is that sometimes the point of view changed sharply when I wasn’t expecting it and I was confused as to who was thinking what/when.
Overall for a very quick short scene, this really delivers especially for those mythology fans that will enjoy a quick look at fiery and charismatic Gods. Definitely check this out, it’s worth reading.
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