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My Glorious Journey told in real time by Mithridates the Magnificent (Paperback)Paul Rapley (author,illustrator)
Set approximately 2020 years ago, this pursuit of a star is narrated in direct address initially by Mithridates (or Mith) —an artiodaktil (aka camel) —who knows his destiny is to become a world-famous Superstar as soon as he can break free of his stultifying milieu and benighted companions—eleven other artios and their keepers (aka swishers)
Action begins at night in a bleak town abutting the ruins of the once-glorious city of Parsa (aka Persepolis) within the Parthian empire. Mith overhears three randomly-orphaned squabbling children, Gush(na), Kaz, and Peri, trespassing on the stargazing Tower high above him and sighting an unusually bright new star which confirms what the Tower’s five scholars have long been suspecting: that it announces a king who’ll bring truth and justice to the world.
The scholars, led by Professor Baghdazzar, propose an expedition, but the swishers stage an uprising. The artios join in, but misunderstood, only divert the attack onto themselves.
Sisygambis (Sissy) usurps the narration as Tiridates and Angramainyu lead a Daktil expedition into town, rescue then threaten some hostages in a café-cum-slaughterhouse, pillage the vegetable market, and are recaptured. Sissy witnesses Mith’s triumphant musical debut at the top of the staircase to the ruined city, cut short by a beating from his swisher Matt—which in turn is stopped by intervention from Kaz and Peri and some legerdemain from Doctor Melklaar.
The swishers, artios, children, and scholars overnight in the spooky Gate of All Living Creatures, and after a great deal of conflict, several interventions by Gushna, Melkie and others plus considerable sectarian to-ing and fro-ing, they set out, stirringly versified.
At their first campsite, the travellers are savaged in a night time attack. Certain members of the group act heroically but Mith goes into a blue funk. Peri is clawed, Kaz lost, and Doctor Gaumata, Gush’s mentor, seriously injured. Baghdazzar decides to return to Parsa, but in fragmentary groups some scholars struggle on, each out of communication with the rest.
The Daktils ostracise Mith so meanly that, acknowledging his own cowardice, he sacrifices himself to the vultures on a rock on a ridge. Kaz, unexpectedly following in a second group, rescues him. The kids have become Mith’s pals; at the next campsite they discuss the stars, and Mith gains some redemption when he in turn rescues Matt during a flash flood.
The squabbling questors split into factions. Despite the ecstatic visions of Doctor Gaumata, the returners prevail, but on the ridge a thunderstorm strikes. In search of his lost father, Kaz runs towards what he thinks is the feared Parthian army—and discovers that Baghdazzar, re-inspired, has changed his mind—but Matt and head swisher Al still won’t budge. Swisher Siye proclaims Doctor Gaumata’s leg to be irredeemably septic. Angramainyu runs wild.
Nevertheless, provoked by a concatenation of motivations, a few individuals—including Mith, Gush, Kaz and Peri—are determined to pursue the star into and beyond the fearsome Zagros mountains, the grave of many an experienced traveller and the haunt of the very brigands who previously murdered Peri’s parents.
An adventure in action, in thought, and in language
Publisher: Shif-Labeb Media
Weight: 660 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 30 mm
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