The Tyrant Gods (Rafael Ward #3) by Michael Pogarch Book Review

Write on: Sun, 10 May 2020 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 2316


THE TYRANT GODS by Michael Pogach is the third book in the Rafael Ward series. The Rafael Ward books are an occult mystery series starring the titular atheist historian who lives in a time when the Old Gods are returning while a totalitarian socialist one rules the former United States. Its a weird mixture of the Davinci Code, Uncharted, The Golden Compass, and dystopian fiction that I very much have enjoyed. It's a series that could have easily been Christian fiction but here the god of the Israelites may be an enemy as much as the god of the Philistines.

The premise is Rafael has broken down after the apparent death of Sam as well as the death of her child. He is also a prisoner of a militant Israeli group that is using the fortress of Masada as a base for carrying out attacks against his former employers. Rafael finds himself freed by Sam's doctor who insists that Sam is still alive and only she can free him. Before she will lead Rafael back to her, he must help her find the Sword of Hannibal, Enemy of Rome. Meanwhile, the revolution against the Republic continues under the leadership of the Seer but is the army of the Believers the Good Guys or the agents of a much more dangerous being than the dictatorship?

I really enjoy the use of the occult, mythology, and history in the Rafael Ward series. This isn't quite an urban fantasy novel but it's not a religious novel either. There's lots of real life archaeological data and material used here, though, and that makes it feel more authentic. The premise that the United States would get overthrown by a totalitarian atheist government and become like the Soviet Union is too ridiculous for me to believe (I grew up in the Bible Belt) but that's just something you have to accept about the premise.

Rafael Ward is a protagonist who ranges from being endearing to infuriating, depending on what scene he's currently in. He stubbornly clings to his belief that gods aren't real despite the fact he's encountered demons, magic, prophets, and ancient secret societies over the course of his adventures. His attitude is beginning to crack but it's a slow going process that doesn't really reflect the events going on around him. I understand he feels immense guilt over turning his mother in to the religious police as a child but the Nephilim are people who rule the irradiated wastelands of the Middle East. Still, I felt for him when he was ready to let the world burn for his girlfriend.

We get a new faction to bedevil our heroes in the Sicarii (a splinter faction of the Zealots from the Roman Occupation circa Jesus' times) and they're an interesting faction. We also meet more cultists that have a different take on the conflict between El and Ba'el, claiming both deities are evil and that they exterminated a once vast polytheistic pantheon. I don't know how I feel about that since I generally like the Seer character and hope they won't go the, "God is evil and so is the Devil" route.

In conclusion, these books are fascinating globe-trotting adventures and quests for supernatural artifacts. If you enjoyed the first two books then this is certainly a book that continues the story. The characters are undergoing a lot of changes and there's some really great emotional scenes. Slowly, we're unraveling a series occult mystery that is showing a wild and fascinating mythology that even our heroes don't know the truth of.

Available here

Last modified on Monday, 11 May 2020 20:01
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.