Colossus: Stone and Steel

Colossus: Stone and Steel

By: David Blixt

(http://www.davidblixt.com/)

Sordelet Ink (April 23, 2012)

An historical fiction review

Filled with factions and smarting from insults, ancient Judea rebels against Nero’s Rome.  With both sides sporting an injury, the insurrection sparks a war complete with heroes, poetry, and slaughter.  Through the eyes of twin masons, Judah the warrior and Asher the scholar, and the opportunistic leader Yosef, Blixt builds Colossus: Stone and Steel into a story where perceptions are paramount.  Where do you come from?  Who is your god?  What is your history?  Do you truly know your real purpose in life?  And above all, what would you sacrifice to prove your chosen answers real?

With broad strokes of suspense and meticulous details of authenticity, this novel asks a lot of its readers.  Blixt taxes memories and asks for tithes of understanding by refusing to create a simple narrative or reduce the questions brought up by dissension.  The conflicts in this work are myriad: cultural, political, religious, moral.  Even asking these difficult questions, Blixt’s writing assaults the emotions.  The reader gets entangled in the confusing mixture of attempted reason and subjective response that the characters experience.  It’s an absorbing work, driven by characters as much as ideas.  Tied to the fortunes of Judah, Asher, or any other noteworthy player, Colossus: Stone and Steel offers joy, relief, and thrills.  The historical reasons and horrifying barbarities of the war provide a different kind of appeal.  As usual, Blixt’s novel invites intellectual debate.

Like a Roman legion, Colossus: Stone and Steel attacks its subject thoroughly, aggressively, and with the full weight of history, symbolism, and authority behind it.  Only under Blixt’s command, destruction becomes a lens to study the world, as well as a call to comprehend its peoples.

Downton Abbey 3×1

Thoughts (and spoilers) in reaction to yon episode:

 

-When is this wedding we’ve heard so much about??  They keep talking about it and not mentioning how far into the future it is, leaving me in doubt of whether to expect it in this episode, for at least two thirds of this!  I was sitting there asking, “Tomorrow?” like three times before they actually admitted the big day was “tomorrow.”

-Why is Sybil not being more diplomatic?  As the sweet one constantly trying to reconcile her sisters, one would think she’d be more proactive in the Bronson-Downton drama.

-Edith’s obvious go-getter attitude is kindof adorable now.  Or maybe I choose to find it so as otherwise it’d be hard to take.  Her kiss was brazen!  Especially in front of her dad.

-I love the ‘too tall’ ribbing!  As the usual recipient of ‘short person’ jokes, I find it highly refreshing!

-Since when does Daisy talk like that?  I feel like she’s been using word of the day toilet paper since last season.

-Why are we right back to where we started with Matthew and Mosely?

-Way to support your man when he’s down, Cora.  ‘Wasn’t that foolish?”  Of course it was, but that’s hardly the way to go about things now.

-Bates, you have to share a room with this guy-now is when you decide to go all macho and dark?

-“I don’t approve of these costumes”?  Hush up, Branson.  It’s a wedding party-you WILL be wearing clothes chosen by others that you are not comfortable with.  Talk about wedding traditions, that certainly trumps “unlucky for the groom to see the bride.”  Plus, the costumes here are laudable, as ever.

-Maggie Smith, well played.  As always.

-Matthew, you decided to marry Mary in spite of the Lavinia affair.  This whole drama crisis is supposed to be over.  Man up and acknowledge that no matter what you’re in charge of things here and need to distribute money wisely for everyone, not just your little guilt trip.  Perhaps Daisy can remind you of all the jobs and people counting on Downton or something?  It’d be fun to see you interact with Daisy.

-Now that Robert has declared himself so happy his heart may burst through his chest, I officially call that he’ll die of a heart attack by the end of the season.

-Cora’s mom is late to the debate about Matthew inheriting Downton.  Give it a rest or be more obvious that you know it’s inevitable and just like to snark anyway.

-I feel let down by O’Brien’s simple request of Tom.  It’s the Valet Wars, here, people!  Did you just forget that?  Unworthy of you.

-Seriously, Anna, a month’s not that long and it’s not like you’re missing out on that many benefits of marriage, anyhow.  France will make for good discussion.  Besides, it’s Downton Abbey!  I have no doubt that you’ll happen to run into someone in France who can help shed light on Vera and Bates.  Or at least stand up for Bates.