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David Zindell's Neverness, A Requiem for Homo Sapiens and all things Science Fiction and Fantasy
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 Post subject: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 4:42 pm 
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I thought I would start a discussion of Latro in the Mist, as I begin my big reread with the new book coming out.

Today I read the prologue and the first chapter.

In the first chapter we meet a hurt soldier in the Persian armies at the time of one of the invasions of Greece, who has a serious head injury which affects his mind and memory. His physician tells him to start keeping a diary of sorts, to help him out, as each night's sleep wipes his memories clear. These are undoubedly the scrolls talked of in the prologue.

So then; this man whom they call Latro is someone who has earned the concern (if not loyalty) of at least two people - the doctor, and an unnamed black man who spends the day looking out for him.

And we do get a keen glimpse of what earned that concern and possible loyalty - Latro sees a river god and offers the only valuable thing he has - his sword - to the god in exchange for blessings on the black man who has been his friend that day. The god blesses the weapon and returns it to Latro, and says that he is sorry that he cannot heal him.

Now the Greeks did believe in gods that exist everywhere and meddle with everything (my son and I have been reading The Iliad and all of the divine interventions drive him nuts). So this interlude with the god would be right at home in Greek literature, though it does seem odd to us modern readers.

some representations of river gods:
homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/000Free/000RIVERGODS/RIVERGODSAlbum.html ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
<i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:12 am 
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If I don't find my copy of Soldier in the Mist soon, I'll probably end up buying another copy. It's been so long since I read it that I don't remember a lot of the story.

Nice link btw! <i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:56 am 
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With Wolfe, I definately want to reread the existing two books before the third book comes out this fall. He is a complex and many layered writer.

For example:
When Latro meets the gods ---
a. does he really meet them, as someone in Greek myth would?

b. is it all a delusion of his hurt brain?

c. is it all some sort of dream or alternate reality? (I find myself asking that with every Wolfe book I have thus far read ).

I haven't had much time, as I have been out of town for a couple of days, but I have gone on to read the next three chapters.

chapter two: At Hill
I wish Wolfe would identify his city states by the names we call them. While his method adds to the mistiness of the story, in my mind I always call the places Sparta and Athens. And would Hill be Grecian (as opposed to Egyptian) Thebes?
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thebes,_Greece

Anyway, Latro and his unnamed black friend have come with the Persian army to the city Latro calls Hill. They have no money, so the friend streals some food for them. Latro sees a statue of a water god in a fountain and gets very excited, having read about his meeting with such a god in his scroll. The towns people get excited in turn and have Latro taken to the temple of the god Apollo.

At the temple, Latro meets some people who will become very important to him, especially a little slave girl. the priestess makes prophecies over him. And he meets the great god Apollo himself, who comes to him as a golden giant (which makes sense, as Apollo is the god of the sun among many other things). Apollo speaks a prophecy to him, and tells Latro that even though healing is one of his attributes, he cannot heal him, as the injury is due to the Great Mother goddess.
images of Apollo:
atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/religion/blgrk_apollo.htm

chapter 3 : Io
In the third chapter Latro meets the little slave girl who we first met in Apollo's temple in Thebes. Her name is Io. He also meets a poet that Thebes sends with him on his quest for healing, named Pindaros. The three speak of the prophecies the priestess told about Latro the day before.

Then a group of maenids come by. These are people who dance naked, drink wine, and celebrate Dionysus, god of wine. In some legends they also become so wild they rip men apart with their bare hands. Luckily for Latro, these seem to be a gentler sort.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus

chapter four: Awakened by Moonlight

Latro awakens naked, snuggled up with a naked woman. He is ashamed by his perfectly natural reaction to that.

He walks out into the lake and then sees Artemis, twin sister to Apollo, and goddess of the moon as her brother is a god of the sun.

He talks for awhile with the priest of Dionysus, who teaches Io about the god he serves.

The woman he woke up next to is a beauty named Hilaeira. Pindaros tells her and the priest that their party is on their way to the shrine of the Great Mother at Lebadeia in answer to the prophecy at Apollo's temple.

Artemis:
www.pantheon.org/articles/a/artemis.html

******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
<i>Edited by: Duchess of Malfi at: 8/21/06 9:11 am
</i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:44 pm 
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Chapter Five: Among the Slaves of the Rope Makers

In this chapter, Latro and his entourage are taken captive by some Spartan slaves. They beat the men and unquestionably rape little Io and probably the maenid (the rapes occur offscreen, thank God).

Latro sees a god sleeping in the vines. He gains permission to go over to the god, and when he touches him, everyone can then see and hear him. This god is one associated with Dionysus, and is probably Silenus, Dionysus's tutor.
thanasis.com/dionys.htm
www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/m ... ilenus.htm

Silenus is depicted as being black, so Latro thinks he might help them, as his black friend has also been captured and beaten. The god indeed helps them, playing his wooden flute, while Latro sings a song from the morning of the world, and the music breaks the bonds and gets them better treatment from their captors.

Pindaros says that this fulfills part of the prophesy from Apollo's priestess in Thebes.

Chapter 6: Eos

Latro and his friends are in a camp of the Spartan slaves. The slaves tell Latro of their troubles, and sicne they think he performed a great miracle, they wish for him to lead them against the Spartans and drive them back into the sea.

The camp is being watched by what sounds like a lamia.
www.loggia.com/myth/lamia.html
She wishes to feed, liek a vampire, on the lives of some of the humans. She keeps asking Latro for the lives of one or more of the Spartan slaves whol hold him captive.
Pindaros tells Latro that she is a monster, and to stay away from her.

The chapter ends with Io clinging to Latro, crying over what has been done to her. Poor child thinks she is being punished by the gods for running away from Apollo's temple to stay with Latro. Latro does not seem to know what was done to the little girl, other than thinking that her legs were hurt by the men so that she had trouble walking; he had carried her for many hours that day. Now he cuddles her and lets her cry.

Chapter Seven: Beside the Beached Ships

This chapter begins what I refer to as a Wolfian transition. Just as you feel you have your feet beneath you, he suddenly whisks you away to a completely different setting, leaving you floundering as you wonder what happened.

Latro, who was last in the captivity of some Spartan slaves, is suddenly living in a tent on a beach with his black friend, in the captivity of some Athenians. They are under the command of a leather merchant named Hypereides, who built and outfitted three ships as part of Athen's famous wooden walls.
www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/keyevents/483_c.html

The great battle the ship master speaks of (which is generally considered to be one of the great turning points in world history):
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Salamis

The three ships have been beached for repairs. Latro, his African friend, and little Io now have the ship owner as their master. We do not yet know how, or what has happened to Latro's other friends. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
<i>Edited by: Duchess of Malfi at: 8/21/06 11:00 pm
</i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:20 pm 
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Chapter Eight: At Sea

Another transition, this one to sailing on the Europa, largest of the three ships we encountered in the previous chapter.

We discover that Latro and the black man seem to be be somewhat trusted by the ship owner and his men. At least those two have some freedom of movement. The other three of Latro's party - the poet, the maenid, and little Io, are kept bound as prisoners. This is because they are from Thebes, traditional enemies of Athens.

Pindaros tells Latro that Apollo had said he must find the Great Mother; poor Latro does not remember any of this; though he did somehow manage to recognize that the black man was his friend, and somehow deep inside felt a connection to both the meanid (whose name I cannot spell) and to Io.

The only mythological reference in this chapter is to the Greek king Pelops - so the redface island is probably what we would call the Peloponessian area, which is where ancient Sparta was located.

www.timelessmyths.com/classical/pelops.html#Pelops

If you read the link, you will find that one of the sons of Pelops was Atreus, which ties in with the Dune group read. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
<i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:39 am 
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I am having some trouble with this. I love the story, and am always ahead in my reading than what I have time to type up. I love this book, and the character of Latro. It's hard to slow myself down to the speed where my typing has even a chance in keeping up with my reading. Right now I am about five chapters ahead on my reading than what I've had time to type up. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:06 pm 
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Heh. I'm just waiting for something to add. Since I finished the reread a couple weeks ago, it's all fresh in my mind. Tell you one thing, it definately doesn't hurt to have Wikipedia open in front of you while you read.

For instance:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pindarus

Some other searches I did:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesculapius
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auge
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimmerian
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demophon
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcata
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lar_Familiaris
www.farvardyn.com/mithras5.php (search for Kore)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonidas
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrha
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuri
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pausanias
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peri
www.in2greece.com/english...hrixos.htm
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protesilaos
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tal...Scolotians



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I wanna feel the metamorphosis and cleansing I've endured within my shadow. Change is coming. Now is my time. Listen to my muscle memory. Contemplate what I've been clinging to. -Tool, "Forty-Six & Two" <i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 5:23 pm 
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Very cool, Syl! I have been focusing so much on trying to get my ancient Greek history and mythology back up to speed (I had a whole term of this stuff in my freshman year in college, but that was a looooooong time ago) that I had not even thought to look up the names of the characters or swords and other such basics!

Here is another main character's name (Io, but you also get the stories of some of Zeus'a other mortal lovers):
www.desy.de/gna/interpedia/greek_myth/zeusLover.html

So poor Io in the myths is kept captive, tormented to madness - but in the end is restored to happiness and becomes a mother to greatness.

I was going to try to get the next several chapters typed up last night, but had to work overtime and cover part of midnights. Maybe tonight will go better.

******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:51 pm 
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I found an old interview with Wolfe that helps explain a few things about Latro (and Castleview and Urth of the New Sun):
mysite.verizon.net/~vze2tmhh/gwjbj3.html ________________
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and cleansing I've endured within my shadow. Change is coming. Now is my time. Listen to my muscle memory. Contemplate what I've been clinging to. -Tool, "Forty-Six & Two" <i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:40 am 
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Thank you, Syl. I enjoyed reading that interview. And when Wolfe said he was trying to write his story as the ancients would - with Gods and spirits everywhere - he really does succeed with that! ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:05 pm 
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I've been thinking of that interview all night and morning. Latro as a representation of America - well meaning but with no sense of history and kind of bumbling around - that has just blown my mind. I had no idea at all.

Thanks again for posting that great link!!!

******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:41 pm 
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My pleasure. ________________
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and cleansing I've endured within my shadow. Change is coming. Now is my time. Listen to my muscle memory. Contemplate what I've been clinging to. -Tool, "Forty-Six & Two" <i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:42 am 
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After reading your logs Duchess, I couldn't put it off any longer. I finally started my reread of the series last week and am enjoying it so much.

You guys are right about having wikipedia handy. I'll probably finish both books, then skim through the pages and look up the thousand or so mythical references!

Syl--I checked out the few you noted and could have kicked my self in the ass for missing the Pindar reference. For some reason I never associated Pindaros with this poet. I can't wait to finish the books so that I can spend some time making all of the mythical connections later on (if that makes any sense.) <i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:34 am 
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I haven't read a page in the past couple of weeks. My allergies have been driving me nuts, and I just haven't been able to concentrate enough to read a Wolfe book.

The new meds seem to be working pretty well, though, so hopefully by next week my reread will be back on track. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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 Post subject: Re: Duchess's Latro Log - tons of spoilers!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:12 am 
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One thing that has struck me as a bit odd in Latro is the werewolf on the ship. For whatever reason, I have just never associated werwolves with ancient Greece.

So here are some of the links I have found about Greek views on wolves and werewolves.

www.collasius.org/LITERATUR/04-HTML/wolf-werewolf.htm

www.playspoon.com/twi/history.html

www.dragon-warrior.com/Bestiary/werewolf.shtml ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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