Ben Bova: Vengeance of Orion

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Ben Bova Vengeance of Orion
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Vengeance of Orion: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Orion finds himself thrust back to the ancient world of Greece and must prevent the Greek army from destroying the citadel of Troy. If he fails, he will lose the only woman he has ever loved. But if he succeeds, the history of the world will be changed forever. The stunning sequel to .

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Ben Bova

Vengeance of Orion

The great invasions which destroyed late Bronze Age civilization came from two directions. From the northwest a variety of tribes, called by the Egyptians the “sea peoples,” began raiding the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean … [by] 1200 B.C. the Hittite empire was destroyed… While these invasions from the northwest swept over Greece, Asia Minor, and the Mediterranean coasts, other hordes of invaders came from the southeast, from the fringes of theArabian desert … The movement began early: the Israelites were already in Palestine before 1220 B.C

The Columbia History of the World, 1972


I am not superhuman. I do have abilities that are far beyond those of any normal man’s, but I am just as human and mortal as anyone of Earth.

Yet I am a solitary man. My life has been spent alone, my mind clouded with strange dreams and, when I am awake, half memories of other lives, other existences that are so fantastic that they can only be the compensations of a lonely, withdrawn subconscious mind.

As I did almost every day, I took my lunch hour late in the afternoon and made my way from my office to the same small restaurant in which I always ate. Alone. I sat at my usual table, toying with my food and thinking about how much of my life is spent in solitude.

I happened to look up toward the front entrance of the restaurant when she came in — stunningly beautiful, tall and graceful, hair the color of midnight and lustrous gray eyes that held all of eternity in them.

“Anya,” I breathed to myself, even though I had no idea who she was. Yet something within me leaped with joy, as if I had known her from ages ago.

She seemed to know me as well. Smiling, she made her way directly to my table. I got up from my chair, feeling elated and confused at the same time.

“Orion.” She extended her hand.

I took it in mine and bent to kiss it. Then I held a chair for her to sit. The waiter came over and she asked for a glass of red wine. It trundled off to the bar.

“I feel as if I’ve known you all my life,” I said to her.

“For many lifetimes,” she said, her voice soft and melodious as a warm summer breeze. “Don’t you remember?”

I closed my eyes in concentration and a swirl of memories rushed in on me so rapidly that it took my breath away. I saw a great shining globe of golden light and the dark brooding figure of a fiercely malevolent man, a forest of giant trees and a barren windswept desert and a world of unending ice and snow. And her, this woman, clad in silver armor that gleamed against the dark-ness of infinity.

“I… remember… death,” I heard myself stammer. “The whole world, the entire universe… all of space-time collapsed in on itself.”

She nodded gravely. “And rebounded in a new cycle of expansion. That was something that neither Ormazd nor Ahriman foresaw. The continuum does not end; it begins anew.”

“Ormazd,” I muttered. “Ahriman.” The names touched a chord in my mind. I felt anger welling up inside me, anger tinged with fear and resentment. But I could not recall who they were and why they stirred such strong emotions within me.

“They are still out there,” she said, “still grappling with each other. But they know, thanks to you, Orion, that the continuum cannot be destroyed so easily. It perseveres.”

“Those other lives I remember — you were in them.”

“Yes, as I will be in this one.”

“I loved you, then.”

Her smile lit the world. “Do you love me now?”

“Yes.” And I knew it was so. I meant it with every atom of my being.

“And I love you, too, Orion. I always have and I always will. Through death and infinity, my darling, I will always love you.”

“But I’m leaving soon.”

“I know.”

Past her shoulder I could see through the restaurant’s window the gaudy crescent of Saturn hanging low on the horizon, the thin line of its rings slicing through its bulging middle. Closer to the horizon the sky of Titan was its usual smoggy orange overcast.

The starship was parked in orbit up there, waiting for us to finish our final preparations and board it.

“We’ll be gone for twenty years,” I said.

“To the Sirius system. I know.”

“It’s a long voyage.”

“Not as long as some we’ve already made, Orion,” she said, “or others we will make someday.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll explain it during the voyage.” She smiled again. “We’ll have plenty of time to remember everything then.”

My heart leaped in my chest. “You’re going too?”

“Of course.” She laughed. “We’ve endured the collapse and rebirth of the universe, Orion. We have shared many lives and many deaths. I’m not going to be separated from you now.”

“But I haven’t seen you at any of the crew briefings. You’re not on the list…”

“I am now. We will journey out to the stars together, my beloved. We have a long and full lifetime ahead of us. And perhaps even more than that.”

I leaned across the table and kissed her lips. My loneliness was ended, at last. I could face anything in the world now. I was ready to challenge the universe.


Chapter 1

THE slash of a whip across my bare back brought me to full awareness. “Pull, you big ox! Stop your daydreaming or you’ll think Zeus’s thunderbolts are landing on your shoulders!”

I was sitting on a rough wooden bench along the gunwale of a long, wallowing boat, a heavy oar in my hands. No, not an oar. A paddle. We were rowing hard, under a hot high sun. I could see the sweat streaming down the emaciated ribs and spine of the man in front of me. There were welts across his nut-brown skin.

“Pull!” the man with the whip roared. “Stay with the beat.”

I wore nothing but a stained leather loincloth. Sweat stung my eyes. My back and arms ached. My hands were callused and dirty.

The boat was like a Hawaiian war canoe. The prow rose high into a grotesquely carved figurehead; some fierce demonic spirit, I guessed, to protect the boat and its crew. I glanced swiftly around as I dug my paddle into the heaving dark sea and counted forty rowers. Amidships there were bales of goods, tethered sheep and pigs that squealed with every roll of the deck.

The sun blazed overhead. The wind was fitful and light. The boat’s only sail was furled against its mast. I could smell the stench of the animals’ droppings. Toward the stern a brawny bald man was beating a single large mallet on a well-worn drum, as steady as a metronome. We drove our paddles into the water in time with his beat — or took a sting from the rowing master’s whip.

Other men were gathered down by the stern, standing, shading their eyes with one hand and pointing with the other as they spoke with one another. They wore clean knee-length linen tunics and cloaks of red or blue that went down to midcalf. Small daggers at their belts, more for ornamentation than combat, I judged. Silver inlaid hilts. Gold clasps on their cloaks. They were young men, lean, their beards light. But their faces were grave, not jaunty. They were looking toward something that sobered their youthful spirits. I followed their gaze and saw a headland not far off, a low treeless rocky rise at the end of a sandy stretch of beach. Obviously our destination was beyond that promontory.

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