For those of you who have not yet read the book, here is a teaser--- Mr. Moorcock's foreword:
In the fine tradition of Mary Renault, Henry Treece, Thomas Burnett Swann or Rex Warner, Michael Ehart has given us an outstanding story of the ancient world. This is a narrative concerning the fantastic unlike most books published today as fantasy fiction. It resonates with the authenticity of genuine myth, bringing a deep, true sense of the past; a conviction which does not borrow from genre but mines our profoundest dreams and memories; the kind which give birth to myths. As Ehart's protagonist, the beautifully realized warrior woman sometimes known as Ninshi, tells us "Songs all end up right. Life does not." Yet, as she demonstrates, it is part of the human condition that we are forever striving to make things end up like the songs.
This novel demonstrates the difference between a good folk tale, a genre story and an enduring myth. The genre story usually dodges the facts of genuine tragedy while the myth, or the story which retains the quality of myth, does not.
Michael Ehart's story of dark bloodshed, torment and betrayal invokes the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia, of Ur and Babylon, set against landscapes we all now know so well from our nightly news bulletins. These are the places where our oldest mythologies began and where our youngest ones are now being created. He provides us with telling images as well as some tremendous descriptions, none more so than the terrifying monster of the title.
This is a grim and gripping tale appealing to all of us who grew up fascinated by our Indo-European heritage, by Fraser's Golden Bough or Graves's White Goddess, by Zoroaster and the Epic of Gilgamesh or tales of the Minotaur, even Beowulf and The Green Knight.
This book is a thoroughly engaging page-turner. It's a very long time since I read a fantastic tale as good as this. Michael Ehart is an impressive talent.
-- Michael Moorcock
Now you know why I was walking on air when I received this!