‘You will be a King, and Great King, and then you will Die, and you may not avoid that destiny, try as you may¿’
Two-thirds god, one-third human, Gilgamesh is a giant among men and a formidable warrior, even as a boy. When his father the king of Rurk dies, Gilgamesh is forced into exile by the newly crowned Dumuzi, jealous of his prowess and fearful of his intentions.
In neighbouring Kis his fighting skills are honed to perfection, and when in time Dumuzi dies, Gilgamesh returns to be proclaimed king by the wily priestess Inanna, goddess of beauty. Together they rule Uruk, and prosperity descends upon the land.
However, the kingship is not enough to satisfy Gilgamesh’s gargantuan appetite for adventure, and his boredom is only relieved by the coming of Enkidu, a strange wild man who proves the king’s equal in combat. The two become closer than brothers, but when Gilgamesh incurs the wrath of Inanna, the gods conspire to tear them apart, and for Gilgamesh all that remains is his search for immortality.
In retelling the legend of the great Sumerian monarch, Robert Silverberg brings all his superb storytelling powers to a mesmerising tale of ambition, power and obsession, against the background of an ancient and fearsome world.