Tears of Ishtar, by Michael Ehart is a wonderful book. A fantasy novel from cover to cover and one of the best ones I've read in quite a while. The setting, which takes place in ancient Babylonian times between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, is not only an exciting and often unused region and time, but also gave the book a thread of believably that just made it more exciting. Ehart went to great lengths making sure this book was not only exciting, but well researched and it became a true joy for the reader.
Ninshi is a woman living lifetime after lifetime in a cursed state. A magical beast known as a Manthycore has not only forced her to kill for it, but imprisoned her lover to insure her obedience. After living many murder filled decades, this once calm girl becomes the greatest fighter of her age.
After four hundreds years, Ninshi saves a young slave girl and has a companion for the first time in centuries. Perhaps it is this attachment to the real world that prompts her to try to figure out a manner in which she can end her curse. This she discovers, but it is no simple manner and takes her on a new quest, which will require years to complete.
I had the fortune to had just started reading this book before I went camping in the desert. I found myself glued to the novel and turning pages every chance I got, which can be hard with a two-year-old around. During this trip, I realized what a true gem I had and enjoyed the rest of the novel even when I had returned home to my forest.
I see no downsides to this book. If you love fantasy, this is a must read. I guess the only downside would be that there isn't more.
Tears of Ishtar is a well crafted and written book. I will certainly seek out the author and see if he has some new works I can get a hold of. This is a good example of what a talented author working with a small press could and should be able to pull off. Congrats to everyone involved.
Michael D. Griffiths