David Blixt,
Colossus: Stone & Steel
(Sordelet Ink, 2012)

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, author David Blixt builds Colossus: Stone & 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 & 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 & 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.

[ visit the author's website ]

book review by
Whitney Mallenby

23 February 2013

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