An immortalized cavalry commander joins forces with the high-priest of the god of war.... Where myth meets legend, two men kiss and Tempus' world changes forever. Meet and mourn the Slaughter Priest in "A Man and His God." In this canonical short novel, the Sacred Band begins when Abarsis, Slaughter Priest, brings his Sacred Band to Tempus and dies in his arms.
In this pivotal story, the Sacred Band is formed from love and death....
"Tempus put an arm under Abarsis' head and gathered him up, pulling the wounded priest across his lap. “Hush, now.”
“Soon, soon,” said the paling lips. “I did well for you. Tell me so...that you are content. O Riddler, so well do I love you, I go to my god singing your praises. When I meet my father, I will tell him...I...fought beside you.”
“Go with more than that, Stepson,” whispered Tempus, who leaned forward and kissed him gently on the mouth; and Abarsis breathed out his soul while their lips yet touched."
This landmark short novel contains what may be the first male/male kiss in modern fantasy, and was widely reprinted, after appearing in somewhat different form in Thieves' World(r), in the Science Fiction Book Club, two Issac Asimov collections, and the Baen Book "Tempus" by Janet Morris.
©1981 Janet Morris & Chris Morris (P)2013 Janet Morris & Chris Morris
The narrator, David Kudler, breathes life into the story. It all starts with the words. The writing by Janet Morris is exquisite, which gives him rich material to showcase his incredible talent.
The voices in him are exceptionally varied in pitch and volume. David Kudler has a warm, versatile voice, and a great ear for character and dialect. The overall story is carried in the voice of the story teller, bringing to the fore every nuance in the writing. For me--being a fast reader who may skip some of the more subtle undertones while reading a print book--his narration truly makes me listen and take in the lyrical beauty in text. In addition to the story teller, he fleshes out many characters--Tempus, Abrasis, and others from the Sacred Squadron. He even gives 'The God in Tempus' head' an eerily resonant, other-worldly voice, which made me feel great owe.
Tempus is the center of the story. Abarsis, the Slaughter Priest from the North, brings his Sacred Band to Tempus, a warrior who is grappling with his curse and his blessing: he cannot die, nor can he enjoy his immortality. At the beginning of the story this lone mercenary is perceived by others as 'Death Himself'. By the end of the story, the wounded Abrasis takes his last breath in Tempus' arms. The scene features one of the most delicate descriptions of helping a dying man find a measure of comfort amidst the pain. As he breathes out his soul, Tempus seals his last moment with a symbolic signature of a kiss.
In addition to his amazing voices (notice the plural) David Kudler brings his deep understanding of mythology into this story. Since 1999, he has been in charge of publications for the Joseph Campbell Foundation (best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion.)
Take a listen to Kudler's voice, and you too would feel like cuddling in bed with the book, or perhaps with the character he plays.
Heroic. Mythical. Sophisticated.
It's hard to say if I like Tempus or Abarsis best, but Abarsis sacrifices all in this story of heroism that brought me to tears and made be believe there really was a Storm God at work in antiquity.
Kudler's voice is multifaceted, bringing different characters to life but always faithful to the written words. He whispers in my ear and takes me places I haven't been before. These characters are beloved by many, first met in the million-copy bestselling Thieves' World series, so the narrator must be up to the task of bringing them to life.
Yes, and I did. Listening takes about an hour and a half and I was sorry when the tale was told. I've listened to it several times since then and loved it every time.
If you're a lover of the Sacred Band of Stepsons, this story is one you'll treasure. If you've never read the Sacred Band tales of heroic fantasy, this is a great place to start. Dark, gritty, violent and passionate, these mercenaries of the god of war are complex and realistic heroes in the ancient world where magic and the gods go to war. You'll love them and hate them, but they'll always move you.
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