Synopsis: The Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen is the second book in the Gods Galore series about the Olympian
Gods in the 21st Century.
The Gods are still trying to control what we humans are up to. Unfortunately, they’re not
being particularly successful. The world is experiencing both plague and famine which Zeus
and the Gods’ Council never approved. What’s going on?
Athene is determined to find out, but before she can get going the God of War initiates an attack on Poseidon’s realm. It’s now all out conflict and the gods are taking sides – one side,
Whenever there’s a fight, Hebe’s bound to be involved. She soon signs up to an army regiment which is full of soldiers even smaller than she is. But war these days involves brains and not just brawn and there’s plenty of both ready to be deployed in this fight!
A mixture of Comedy and Fantasy, The Four Horsemen should appeal to readers of Terry
Pratchett and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson).
Guest Post: An Introduction to The Four Horsemen
The Four Horsemen was largely written during the war between Russia and Ukraine. Like many Europeans I have been passionately supportive of the brave Ukrainians who have had their lives turned upside down, if not destroyed, by the imperialistic ambitions of yet another tyrant. Unfortunately, our continent has a habit of throwing up these megalomaniacs every so often. It is for this reason that The Four Horsemen is dedicated to these brave people who are fighting to maintain their country as a free and independent nation. Since actions count louder than words, I have also decided to give all royalties I receive from the sale of the book to support the people of Ukraine. This could be to charitable organizations, or for the country’s eventual reconstruction, or even to provide support for the war effort. Being practical, I am making this commitment for a period of five years from the date of publication. However, let me assure readers that if I receive significant sums after that date, I will ensure they are redirected towards supporting Ukraine and its people.
The Four Horsemen is the second book in the Gods Galore series, which is a mixture of fantasy and comedy about the classical gods in the 21st Century AD. While many of the characters in the original Gods Galore novel reappear in this second book, it is very much written on a stand-alone basis. Put simply, it isn’t necessary to have read the original Gods Galore before reading The Four Horsemen. However, for those readers who requested a follow-up after my first effort, I hope they will appreciate how some of the ‘open’ issues have now been addressed.
The title of the book comes from The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse, being figures in Christian religion. The Four Horsemen are War, Death, Famine and Pestilence. Classical writings certainly recognized the first two: Mars being the God of War, and Death playing a central role in transferring the deceased to the Underworld. While famines and diseases existed in the ancient world, there were no specific figures to reflect these two scourges. However, in later years Famine and Pestilence became defined figures, and both now represent a further challenge for the classical gods as they try to cope with modern life.
The events in the book take place over many locations. However, one of them is very much at the heart of proceedings. This is the island of Lilliput which was first identified in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels written in the early 18thcentury. The Lilliputians are a small people, being no more than six inches tall, but they are both resourceful and intelligent and very much able to assist the gods in meeting their many challenges.
The book’s storyline is briefly summarized on the paperback’s back page, the key paragraphs of which I replicate below:
“The Gods are still trying to control what we humans are up to. Unfortunately, they’re not being particularly successful. The world is experiencing both plague and famine which Zeus and the Gods’ Council never approved. What’s going on?
Athene’s determined to find out, but before she can get going the God of War initiates an attack on Poseidon’s realm. It’s now all out conflict and the gods are taking sides – one side, in particular.
Wherever there’s a fight, Hebe’s involved. She soon signs up to an army regiment which is full of soldiers even smaller than she is. But war these days involves brains and not just brawn and there’s plenty of both ready to be deployed in this fight!”
One matter which some readers of Gods Galore raised was the fact that, while I generally used Greek names for the gods, I made two exceptions. These were Mars, the God of War, and Bacchus, the God of Wine, where I used their Roman names because, on balance, I believed they were more generally recognized than their Greek equivalents of Ares and Dionysus. In writing The Four Horsemen I took advice from the gods on this matter and, after some considerable debate on Mount Olympus, was instructed by Zeus to continue to use the names of Mars and Bacchus. I hope readers will accept I did my best to resolve this matter, but for those of you who still prefer the Greek names, please understand that I am following the wishes of the gods!
As with Gods Galore, I accept that there could be some classical scholars who may not fully appreciate the portrayal of various gods and goddesses in the book. All I can do is repeat what I wrote in the Introduction to my first novel. Like its forerunner, The Four Horsemen, has been written with the purpose of being an entertaining read; if its readers end up agreeing, then it has achieved all it set out to do. If it also generates some money for the Ukrainian people, so much the better!
Rupert Stanbury is a Cambridge graduate who previously had a professional and business career. He has always been an avid reader and recently decided to take up writing himself.His first book, Gods Galore, was published in November 2021 and this has now been followed by The Four Horsemen, a sequel.