What?s a major deity to do when he finds himself washed up on Mt Olympus? Jupiter, once mighty Roman God has spent two millennia sulking about his defeat at the hands of Yahweh and the loss of the great Roman Empire. Jupiter and his motley assortment of gods have become complacent, even the eternal fountains have mildew on them and are in need of a good clean.
Shedding his robes in favor of an expensive Brooks Bros pin stripe three piece suit and Harvard Business School MBA in hand, the reinvented J. J. Jones is ready to reclaim his throne, the world is ripe for the picking, he rationalizes ??All the old religions are fighting each other, especially the Christians and Muslims. We can come up the middle and be everybody?s second choice.?
He does however realize that the path to glory is not an easy one, the world is a considerably different place in the 21st century than ancient Rome. Also his fellow Gods are going to need a makeover, not only in their appearances but in their attitudes as well, if they are going to fit in.
J. J. realizes that what he needs is a management consultant! Enter Alex Webster. Alex and his sometime girlfriend Victoria take on the daunting task of removing 2000 years of stagnation, of course there are some bumps along the road. Old habits die hard, and it is not long before Carmen Cupido (Cupid) gets the nickname of Dr. Love in a local night club where he has been practicing the art of matchmaking, and coming to the attention of the local police as the likely purveyor of date rape drugs.
J. J?s scheme for ?world domination? is to ease into it slowly by becoming the CEO of a global company. To facilitate this he engineers a scheme to merge two companies and become the head. What he doesn?t realize is how much resistance he is going to encounter from a mere mortal. Gerry Shilling CEO of Pharmaglobe has no intentions of stepping aside gently, and sees this merger as a stepping stone for himself!
I found Alex Webster And The Gods to be a thoroughly enjoyable romp. David Dent?s style of writing reminded me a lot of the late Douglas Adams, another master of putting characters in the most unlikely and bizarre situations. The humor is mostly dark and very well executed. Juno for example likens her marriage to Jupiter, to that of Bill and Hillary, and because Jupiter is off chasing every bit of skirt in the universe, ?we only have sex every hundred years?.
Every chapter starts with a little quote, some words of wisdom, from Carl Sagen, to Yoda, everyone gets their say, but my personal favorite is from William S. Burroughs ?Sometimes paranoia?s just having all the facts?.
If I have a criticism of the book, it is that it is too short. The ending is very cute, and certainly paves the way for a second book, and I?ll bet J.J.?s Brooks Bros suit that David Dent is typing away as you read this. All in all, I give this book very high marks, it is a fabulously crafted concept and one that would transition well into the big screen, or a TV series. The characters are larger than life, the plotlines outrageous, this is what I class as great entertainment.
Although it is officially classified as Science Fiction, it should appeal to everyone that enjoys a light and funny read.
Review by Simon Barrett