When I first heard of David Constantine's The Pillars of Hercules, I was instantly intrigued. Now that the novel will be released tomorrow, I invited the author to tell us a bit more about the idea that led to the creation of the book. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.
You can visit David Constantine's official website here.
Here's the blurb:
Alexander, Prince of Macedon, is the terror of the world. Persia, Egypt, Athens . . . one after another, mighty nations are falling before the fearsome conqueror. Some say Alexander is actually the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the living incarnation of Hercules himself. Worse yet, some say Alexander believes this . . . .
The ambitious prince is aided in his conquest by unstoppable war-machines based on the forbidden knowledge of his former tutor, the legendary scientist-mage known as Aristotle. Greek fire, mechanical golems, and gigantic siege--engines lay waste to Alexander's enemies as his armies march relentlessly west--toward the very edge of the world.
Beyond the Pillars of Hercules, past the gateway to the outer ocean, lies the rumored remnants of Atlantis: ancient artifacts of such tremendous power that they may be all that stands between Alexander and conquest of the entire world. Alexander desires that power for himself, but an unlikely band of fugitives--including a Gaulish barbarian, a cynical Greek archer, a cunning Persian princess, and a sorcerer's daughter--must find it first . . . before Alexander unleashes godlike forces that will shatter civilization.
The Pillars of Hercules is an epic adventure that captures the grandeur and mystery of the ancient world as it might have been, where science and magic are one and the same.
THE PILLARS OF HERCULES is what happens when you cross steampunk with Alexander the Great. Because, after all, steampunk is way too cool to be left to the stodgy Victorians....
But the really intriguing thing about the ancient world is just how much steampunk was in it already. Many people don't realize that the steam engine itself was invented in the first century by Heron of Alexandria, only to never be put to practical use. Or that an ancient shipwreck discovered in 1901 contained a device called the Antikythera that has been called the world's first analog computer. In plotting out PILLARS, I took such technology to its logical culmination to imagine a world-that-might-have-been. While the average character in PILLARS views such innovation as magic, the world's leaders are more pragmatic. Indeed, most of the machinery being created is driven by military exigency, as the the empires of Athens and Macedonia lock horns in the ultimate conflict. Athens has an invincible navy, but Macedonia possesses the ultimate army....
Led by Alexander himself. A figure I've always found fascinating, all the more so as the idealized Alexander we often see in fiction bears very little resemblance to the view now emerging in modern scholarship. Of course, in my version of history he has yet to earn the sobriquet "Great", and isn't even king: his father Philip is still alive, though father and son hate each other about as much as they did in real life. (So court life in Macedonia is one of political hardball.) Alexander is surrounded by his key followers: his lover Hephaestion, his chief of staff Eumenes, as well as his generals Ptolemy, Craterus and Perdiccas. As the book begins, the Macedonian military has conquered Persia and is turning West, to settle with Athens once and for all.
Yet there are those who whisper that the war of Athens and Macedonia is merely the surface layer of a far deeper conflict... that Alexander's real objective in the West lies far beyond the Pillars of Hercules, past the gateway to the Outer Ocean, where an oracle has said the rumored remnants of Atlantis can be found. That same oracle has also told Alexander that he is the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the living incarnation of Hercules. Now at last he has the means to bring that prophecy to life. And all that stands in his way are an unlikely band of fugitives: a Gaulish barbarian, a cynical Greek archer, a Persian princess, and the daughter of the sorceror-scientist known as Aristotle...