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ReDeus: Divine Tales by Aaron Rosenberg, Dayton Ward, Steven H. Wilson, Robert Greenberger, Paul Kupperberg, Dave Galanter, Allyn Gibson, Phil Giunta, William Leisner, Scott Pearson, and  Lawrence M. Schoen
Review by Drew Bittner
Clockworks Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781892544032
Date: 19 July 2012 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Nobody expected the 2012 Olympics to go like this. Indeed, that was the start of a new age: the return of the gods. All of them, from the Greco-Roman pantheon to the Norse to the Native American to... well, all of them.

With the Vatican under siege and Manhattan seemingly the only place none of the gods can claim, humanity is forced to reckon with beings far beyond the touch of technology. When faith is the battleground, who will be left standing?

ReDeus: Divine Tales is a collection of short stories set in this very alternate now-and-future, with tales that range from the just-aftermath to a few decades hence. Each pantheon has claimed its ancestral territory, but are aggressively claiming their own wherever they might be; several of the stories involve ordinary folk caught up in this struggle for believers, often facing discrimination and intolerance, while others become champions for humanity itself.

In "The Year Without a Santa Claus", William Leisner sets the stage with the story of an American family living under the rule of the Native American gods--who do not tolerate ANY display of Judeo-Christian worship, even to the display of Santa Claus. What is a father to do when his children want Christmas in a land that's turned hostile to them? Even small acts of defiance can have unexpected consequences...

Scott Pearson's "Tale of the Nouveau Templar" tells the story of Etienne, a knight brought back from the era of the Crusades, who discovers his faith in God is in doubt. In a strange time, far from home, he must choose who and for what he will fight.

Allyn Gibson's "The Ginger Kid" offers an insight into the power of belief and baseball, while Aaron Rosenberg's "Balancing the Scales" involves a police investigation of a murder where the Indian gods may be to blame. But why? The truth behind this crime is stranger than it appears.

An entertainment reporter gets far more than the story she sought in "A God Walks into a Bar" by Robert Greenberger (one of the best in the collection), as a cunning fellow sets a snare--and she finds that even an ordinary human can sometimes outwit a god.

The last story, "No Other Gods Before Me" by Paul Kupperberg, shows a Christian church close to the breaking point, even in the safe haven of New York City. An unlikely trio come together, with one of them intending to achieve the impossible. If he can pull it off, mankind may have a chance after all. But it will take a miracle...

There are several other stories as well, but this should give some idea of what lies in wait for the canny reader.

The brainchild of Greenberger, Kupperberg and Rosenberg, ReDeus delivers on its far-reaching premise, taking readers from the hell of an America where freedom is forgotten to the frosty North Atlantic (where a broken harp may finally end an ancient battle) and beyond. The stories are high quality and sustain the theme neatly, delivering some food for thought along the way.

Recommended.

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