EPOS: An epic series of stories
SLAVE OF ATLANTIS
In the first book of the Epos, Slave of Atlantis, we witness Tar Yunkai’s capture and descent into the brutal Atlantean fighting-pits, where he becomes the Golden Prince, the most successful fighting slave ever to spill blood in the arena. But his master wants to him dead. When Tar attempts to escape the brutal end planned for him, he is thrown into a far more deadly battle than any he has fought before.
If you enjoy A Song of Ice and Fire and Conan the Barbarian, Slave of Atlantis will make a welcome addition to your library. Its explicit language, violence, and sex is not for the prudish—but if you love vivid characters, an intricate, compelling world, and a bawdy, bloody, fast-moving story, you’ll want to start Slave of Atlantis today.
SLAVE OF ATLANTIS
"If you enjoy reading books with graphic sexual content, explicit language and gory fighting, all set on the much fantasized continent of Atlantis, then this is the book for you" - Sally Atlass
THE EPOS OF ATLANTIS
A cycle of 10 volumes of epic adventure
Legends from around the world tell of an ancient empire swallowed up by the sea. Some call it Atlantis. How could such a legend be so universal, yet leave no trace behind? Did Atlantis exist? Where could it be found? Who were its people, and what was their world like?
The answers are here in The Epos of Atlantis. Forgotten until this retelling, this epic cycle tells the story of Tar Yunkai, Atlantis’ greatest hero—and the bloody, adventurous world he lived in, dominated by mighty Atlantis.
Here we learn why rumors of Atlantis have survived a thousand centuries, yet no physical trace of it remains: Atlantis is a vast, manmade island. It floats on countless giant bronze pontoons, voyaging on a mission of world domination to feed its insatiable appetite for riches, power, and slaves.
Success has made Atlantis decadent, cruel, and greedy. It has begun to rot from within, its people growing hungry and desperate even as its rulers extend their imperial power ever-farther into the world.
Into this time of conquest and suffering comes Tar Yunkai—a peasant sold into slavery as a boy, grown to manhood in the fighting-pits of Atlantis, and determined to seek freedom and revenge against the empire that tried to destroy him.
Tar sees the hollowness at the heart of Atlantis and believes he can sink it to the bottom of the sea. He doesn’t believe in destiny—yet Tar will not sink Atlantis. He will be the one who saves the empire from itself.
With a new book every year (or sooner), the Epos is an adventure that will last a long time, and won't leave you hanging!
Excerpt from Slave of Atlantis:
What follows is a retelling of volume I of Royce E. Gibbons’ classic translation of the Epos of Atlantis. For aeons, the Epos was an oral tradition. It may have included much of Atlantis’ history. The Epos (or epic) takes place at least 35,000 years ago. It is the oldest story known to exist. All that remains today is a fragment. It tells of the legendary hero Tar Un Ka.
7,000 years ago, a transcript of Tar Un Ka’s exploits was listed in the inventory of ruler Apt-Am (which is all that survives of Apt-Am’s reign). Pisistratus the tyrant (600-527 BCE), who commissioned the first compilation of Homer’s works, is said to have had a copy.
The only extant copy was discovered by Gibbons himself. It was part of the magnificent 3,600 year-old ‘Lost Caravan’ burial hoard, unearthed in the 1840s near Bukhara, Uzbekistan, during the course of the first and second Anglo-Sikh wars.
Gibbons dedicated the remainder of his life to translating the one hundred and twenty-three manuscripts in the treasure, about half of which contained the Epos. It was a monumental task. In a letter to his brother, Gibbons described the hoard’s unique writing system as ‘Proto-Indo-Aryan hen scratch’.
The first volume of his translation was privately published through Farber, Bell Academic Press in 1868; the tenth and final volume was never published, as the author died in 1889 with only a rough transliteration completed. A subsequent conflict between the publisher and Gibbons’ estate meant no-one else was able to finish his opus. Farber, Bell went out of business after the Great War, and no subsequent effort was made to reprint the finished volumes or complete the final part. Until 1986, even Gibbons’ working notes were forgotten, sealed away in the archives of Holy Cross College (Dublin).
Following the closure of that college in 2019, the late Fr. Pádraig Ó Suibhne made the full Gibbons archive available to the present author—including the unfinished final volume of the Epos. This retelling is owed entirely to Fr. Ó Suibhne’s generosity.
Gibbons’s version is a reflection of his influences. 18th century Sturm und Drang, early 19th century romantic poetry, and the Orientalist art movement fired his imagination. To spare the sensibilities of his Victorian audience, he bowdlerized the many violent, sexual, and morally dubitable passages of the original. Polygenists such as de Gobineau and Vogt also left their mark: The more sympathetic a character is in Gibbons’ text, the more European they become—and vice-versa.
Finally, his rendering includes numerous mistranslations:
Rocs, with two human heads
Birds two men tall
In his defense, Gibbons was up against a difficult problem. The ‘hen scratch’ writing system was probably developed to record inventories, genealogies, and crop records—not epic tales. Consequently, there is no dialog in the original, only summaries of what was discussed. Story events are formatted as lists, which look ridiculous to the modern eye: Imagine a restaurant menu featuring detailed sexual liaisons and hand-to-hand combat.
The version before you is also a reflection of the author’s influences. While the events and characters depicted in this telling are faithful to the original, much invention was necessary to fill them out. There is no denying the effect of movies, television, graphic novels and pop culture on that invention. If Gibbons’ version seems quaint today, this update will seem quaint tomorrow. So it goes.
Given the sheer number of incidents in the complete cycle, it may be that the Epos was essentially a bronze-age crib sheet—something a storyteller would review prior to oration, rather than reciting directly off the page. According to this theory, the text was merely an austere outline, intended to be be expanded with dialog, action, and description by the narrator. It is in that spirit that the present adaptation was written.
Measurements such as weights and distances have been converted into roughly approximate imperial units. The identities of metals, such as bronze and steel, are conjectural. They may have been entirely different alloys. In the original they’re named by color alone.
Many of today’s animals didn’t exist in Tar Un Ka’s time. For example, there are no dogs mentioned in the entire Epos. Some have clear modern equivalents, such as camels and porpoises. Others, including giant three-finned sharks and umbrella-sized spiders, are likely to be inventions. Then again, the fossil record constantly yields surprises, such as Kelenken guillermoi, an improbably large hunting bird matching the description ‘two men tall’. It replaces Gibbons’ Roc.
There is no evidence of whom the Ancient Races were. They are said to have ruled all of the planet’s inland territories, yet there is no physical trace of their existence—no artifacts or fossils of any kind. Most likely, these beings are apocryphal. The same can be said of the pithecines, dwargs, and similar quasi-human peoples in the story. However unlikely, it is pleasing to imagine they were survivals of Gigantopithecus, Homo neanderthalensis, and other long-vanished cousins of men.
The map of the Atlantean empire is a hybrid. It is partially derived from a much later document that corresponds with the world described in the ancient text, and partially from our present understanding of geography prior to the most recent ice ages.
Obverse view, gold coin (before 5,500 BCE)
The map of Atlantis itself is derived primarily from descriptions in the Epos. Some elements are borrowed from an ancient coin in the Iraq Museum, now lost, which was stamped with a design that may be a plan of Atlantis. A very few details are owed to Plato’s dialogs Timaeus and Critias.
The Atlantis depicted here is a civilization of extremes. It is at once advanced and backward, ambitious and decadent, convinced of its own permanence even as it decays from within. Metal rots and stone turns to dust; mountains fall and seas rise. Everything is swept away. All that remains of Atlantis is legends.
It is hubris to imagine that our own civilization will fare any differently, given time. A hundred thousand years from now, it will be as if our history, language, art, architecture, and technology never existed.
If we follow the path of every civilization that has gone before, all that will remain of us is legends. This is nothing to despair about—of all humanity’s creations, only legends defy the vastness of time. We will be remembered.
June 12, 2022
©2022 by Houten & Holleren