Beyond Hades by Luke Romyn
To call Luke Romyn’s “Beyond Hades” a thrill ride would be an understatement. His mashup of Greek mythology and science fiction took me to so many dimensions in such a hurry that the only metaphor I can come up with is riding a roller coaster. It’s quite a rush. When you close his book and the adventure is over, you may be left shaking your head and wondering, “What did I get myself into?”
The first book in the “Prometheus Wars” series (not to be confused with the recent Ridley Scott movie), “Hades” tells the story of Talbot Harrison, an archeologist who must step in to help the U.S. military close a portal to another dimension opened by his brother Thomas, an expert in Greek mythology who disappeared through the gateway, before the mythical creatures of Greek lore enter our world and destroy it. Backed by a military rendered ineffective against giant monsters unleashed upon the Earth, Talbot embarks on a journey through multiple dimensions, from Atlantis to Mount Olympus to Tartarus, to close the portal between dimensions before they merge into one and humanity perishes. Talbot falls in with Wes, an almost superhuman Australian Special Armed Services commando with a good aim, quick wit, and vulgar tongue. Together they fight to save the world before the monsters do them in.
The twists and turns in this story as it passes from dimension to dimension make for a ride that leaves the reader both enthralled and perplexed. The narrative left me in anticipation as it carried me through Romyn’s universe as I wondered what or where Talbot would go next. The heavy reliance on mythological creatures and name spellings I had never heard of – such as “Kharon” instead of the more common spelling Charon – left me confused at times. Eventually, I figured it out like a roller coaster rider when the car pulls into the station. Kudos to Romyn for doing his research and laying out a comprehensive, if not completely accurate, portrayal of Greek mythology. I’m looking forward to finding out if he did the same for Norse myths in the follow-up, “Slaves of Valhalla.”
Romyn’s thriller really is unbelievable with all of its fantastic imagery, but that’s not a criticism. It’s highly unlikely you will read about a garbage truck teleporter or a human putting Zeus in a chokehold in any other novel. Once you suspend belief, anything, including the transformation of Talbot from academic geek to warrior in mere days, is possible.
I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it with one caveat. If you’re looking for anything other than a nonstop adrenaline rush akin to watching a bloody action-packed video game, be sure to check your bag at the door.
Beyond Hades is now available at: