The First Heroes
The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. The stories are a mix of Historical Fiction, SF, Fantasy, and one of Altenate History. Fantasy comes from the myths of the era being incorporated in several of the stories. The Greek world is well represented, but China, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, Northern Europe and even Peru appear. All but one of the 14 stories worked for me, and even the exception (“Giliad” by Gregory Feeley) had some good scenes — it just did not hang together.
The last two stories particularly struck me. In “The Matter of the Ahhiyans” Lois Tilton built on some some tantalizing hints in the Hittite archives to write about the Trojan War as seen by an observer from that realm. The Hittite Empire lasted another 20-30 years after the time of the story, but the threats to it were growing. The attack on Troy, a western client state of the Empire, was one more problem for the harried Emperor and his ministers to juggle.
The book concludes with “The Bog Sword”, by the late Poul Anderson It is set at the end of the Bronze Age in Denmark, and is one of the last stories written by that grand master from science fiction’s golden age. A Celtic prisoner brings the knowledge of working iron to Denmark. His captors are eager to learn the new technology. However, they do not realize that this is not simply a matter of better weapons and tools. With iron vast economic, political, and social changes are to come.