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Michael Lahey

Quest for Apollo, The
Daw, 1989
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Reviews:

Rec: high school and intermediate students Good for students who like science fiction/fantasy and mythology,especially good for students reading Virgil, as he plays a prominent role in the novel. Plot: Virgil and a young writer search for Apollo in order to stop a nuclear disaster. (blurb) I met him in the woods when I was fleeing from a wolf. He looked around 50, but said he'd been that age for about 2000 yrs. ever since he'd died. . -and that's the part of his story that didn't sound too crazy. When I told him I was a writer and my name was Delbert Frederick Alderini, the guy flipped out, said I was the one he'd been waiting for, that I had to come with him to see Diana, the goddess. Of course, I didn't believe him, but it seemed like there might be story in it, so I went. -Diana was a goddess, alright, a real beauty. She was working as waitress in a restaurant on Rome's Aventine Hill and when she gave me her pitch, how could I resist?. -She said her brother Apollo had been condemned for helping humans too much. His punishment was to be reincarnated over and over again as a doomed hero with no memory of his true identity, but this time around things were different. If Virgil and I couldn't find Apollo within the next 6 days and free him from this cycle, not only Apollo but everyone would go up in total nuclear conflagration. So what else could I do but try to save the world? (my notes) In their dreams, Del and Virgil travel back in time to find Apollo. They first visit Rome on the day of Julius Caesar's triumph. The two men find a possible candidate, but he is killed as he attempts to murder Caesar. In this chapter the author slips in many tidbits of information on Roman history , such as the death of Vercingetorix and what happened during a triumph. There are snippets from the works of various poets (first line of the Aeneid, Keats, Shelley, Browning, Ariosto, et.al.). I especially enjoyed Virgil's remark, "...There's no time in school now for either Latin or poetry, let alone Latin poetry." Latin sayings (e.g., fortuna fortibus iuvat) occur occasionally (with translations). In subsequent chapters Del and Virgil search for Apollo all over Italy: they meet Boethius in Pavia, Conradin in Naples (there is a quick summary of the Guelfs vs. the Ghibellines), Pordenone in Ferrara, Poerio in Venice. In this way, the reader learns some Italian history, receives information on the art and architecture of Italy, and vicariously enjoys Italian meals and wines. A sweet book, with many humorous moments. a happy ending, with a suitable reward for Virgil. Rosalind Harper

- Rosalind Harper , 12/2/2005

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