- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 370 KB
- Print Length: 71 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00M4NNHAG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #779,284 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Ephesus Kindle Edition
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Once the story gets going though, things starts to get...strange.
Readers who have already read Ushabti - which currently still stands as my favourite - will know that Cowton was not afraid to paddle in the strange waters of long-forgotten mythology. In Ephesus, however, Cowton has not so much paddled as jumped head first into the deep end. The plot might put off die-hard fans of more conventional sitcom, but doubtless they wouldn't need to read a review to figure that out!
An intriguing plot twist pulls the reader into a world inhabited by ancient Roman soldiers, where our Fairfax comes face-to-face with a comical gladiator, who he immediately recognises as an old school friend! With this meeting, Cowton penned a flashback, which deals rather impressively with a very familiar and taboo subject. This was very well handled and still managed to be funny without trivialising the topic.
Meanwhile, the formerly abandoned and largely forgotten Myrtle is found in her Yorkshire home, seemingly unconcerned by her son's disappearance, and in receipt of a strange summons.
What follows is a comical mission to save Fairfax from several grisly fates - not to mention one or two equally grisly characters - including death in the arena and accidentally volunteering for castration! Thanks to certain famous eruption in Pompeii and a lot of superstition, things pick up pretty quickly.
Without spoiling the story any more, the ending is both strange and funny, but not in an unpleasant way in either case and remaining in keeping with the plot, which stopped being typical early on.
Cowton has pulled a lot of stops out to produce Ephesus, drawing heavily on history and the colourful resource of ancient gods. He has also taken the time to create some colourful, larger-than-life characters to carefully balance the more sensible, distinctly human characters that are his usual offering. The plot is definitely much more adventurous than his previous stories, but he has managed not to get out of his depth whilst writing, and produced a very entertaining result.
As I have pointed out before, I am not a big fan of shorter stories, which Ephesus certainly is. However, with the plot being as complicated as it is, the shortness becomes a strength. That this story was written without making its readers dizzy stands as indelible proof that John Cowton's strength lies in writing short stories. Although the story stands comfortably on its own, fans of the longer book (or 'flannel') might feel that it ended too quickly and could have expanded more before concluding. Lovers of the quick read will be much happier to find a short story with something in the way of substance. After all, why should the hardcore readers get all the fun?
I'd also, as someone who has grown up in Yorkshire, give a nod to John Cowton's use of the term 'Daft Apeth,' and the interesting link to ancient religion. It's a term very familiar and used often by myself and many members of my family, and was refreshing to read in a book!
From the point of view of a commuter, Ephesus is sensibly organised into chapters. For someone like myself who uses public transport, Ephesus is as good for reading on a bus as it is for a afternoon's read.