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The Revenge of Ishtar, Vol. 2

Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2000 at 01:52 PM CT


The Revenge of Ishtar, Vol. 2 (hardcover)
by Ludmila Zeman

Format: Hardcover, 24pp.
Publisher: Tundra Books of Northern New York Pub. Date: September 1993
Recommend Age Range: 8

ABOUT THIS ITEM

Synopsis
In this sequel to her Gilgamesh the King (BRD 1994), Zeman recounts episodes from the second part of the Mesopotamian epic. The "city of Uruk has been peaceful since the wild man Enkidu became a friend of Gilgamesh. . . . {Then} the monster Humbaba attacks the city and kills Shamhat, the beautiful woman who brought Enkidu from the wilderness. Gilgamesh and Enkidu pledge to find Humbaba and kill him; with the help of the goddess Ishtar, they succeed. But Ishtar . . . demands that Gilgamesh marry her in return. When he rejects her, she . . . destroys part of the city and sends a fatal illness upon Enkidu. Stricken with grief, Gilgamesh resolves to undertake a quest for the secret of immortality. . . . Age eight and up." (Quill Quire)

From the Publisher
Gilgamesh is the first hero of Western literature. All our heroes since have borrowed his virtues: courage, loyalty, selflessness, and unwavering dedication to a goal.

The adventure continues as Gilgamesh and his new friend Enkidu slay monsters and save the city, only to incur the wrath of the powerful goddess Ishtar when Gilgamesh rejects her. Ishtar takes her revenge by sending death to Enkidu. The king then sets out alone to destroy the greatest monster of all: death.

Reviews

From The Horn Book, Inc.
When Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay monsters that threaten the city of Uruk, the goddess Ishtar becomes angry. In revenge, she causes Enkidu's death. In this second book about Gilgamesh, the uncluttered text provides readers with a satisfying introduction to the epic story, and the dramatic illustrations are designed to give the flavor of ancient Mesopotamia.

From Marilyn Courtot - Children's Literature For those who love sagas, myths, and epic stories, this triumvirate is a must. Zeman has produced a spectacularly illustrated three volume picture book series of one of the oldest know stories. It begins with Gilgamesh the King in the ancient city of Uruk. Gilgamesh is a tyrant who is changed through his friendship with Enkidu and the beautiful Shamhat. When she is killed by the monster Humbaba, the two friends set out to avenge her death in The Revenge of Ishtar. After slaying the monster, Ishtar claims she had helped and asks Gilgamesh to become her husband. He rejects her and she wreaks havoc on the city of Uruk. Unable to kill Gilgamesh, she takes her revenge by bringing on a fatal illness to his beloved friend Enkidu. In the third and final volume, The Last Quest of Gilgamesh, the King sets out to find the secret of immortality. Zeman has undertaken extensive research to recreate the Mesopotamian world of Gilgamesh.

From Joanne Findon - Quill & Quire
{This book} vividly evokes the life of ancient Sumeria. Zeman's clean, simple prose style is well suited to the mythic narrative. Her gorgeous earth-tone illustrations are filled with the movement and drama of a world in which the boundaries between humans and gods are permeable. Unfortunately, this bookis clearly a sequel to the previous narrative and does not stand on its own.Readers who have not read Gilgamesh the King will feel catapulted into unfamiliar territory and may find the ending unsatisfying. But for those who have already enjoyed the first book, this one will whet their appetite for the finalinstalment of Gilgamesh's adventures.

From Betsy Hearne - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Zeman compresses an elaborate story into compact episodes, here the conquest by Gilgamesh and Enkidu of monsters threatening their magnificent city of Uruk. These episodes center on human vulnerability. . . . The text is kept simple at both narrative and visual levels. . . . Zeman bases her graphic details on archaeological research and borders the art in skillfully rendered traditional Babylonian designs; she has also progressed beyond the slight cuteness of facial expression that sometimes appeared in her first book. This has a less uncommon story, but it's overall a powerful production that will prove good company for picture book presentations of Greco-Roman epics. . . . Ages five to eight.


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