Gods Behaving Badly, Marie PhillipsImpulse buys at the bookstore can be dangerous. I went into the bookstore yesterday without a particular idea of what I was looking for. I enjoy browsing bookstores for this very reason. Despite attempts to try and replicate the experience online with recommendations, reviews and customer profiling I cannot get over the idea that it just is not the same as moving from shelf to shelf through a well-stocked bookstore. So that’s what I do when I’m looking for something to read and don’t have a clear idea of what is is I’m looking to read. Yesterday I found Gods Behaving Badly, the first book by London anthropologist and BBC researcher Marie Phillips.

The novel’s structure is straightforward in this postmodern era. Take some bit of classical culture — in this case twelve Olympian Gods — and place them somewhere disconnected from their expected environment. Let’s say a flat in 21st Century London.

The twelve Greek gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London town house — and none too happy about it. For Artemis (goddess of hunting, professional dog walker), Aphrodite (goddess of beauty, telephone sex operator), and Apollo (god of the sun, TV psychic), there’s no way out — until a meek housecleaner, Alice, and her would-be boyfriend, Neil, turn their world upside down.

When what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills, Alice and Neil must fear not only for their own lives but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed — but can these two ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?

Well, it sounded like a great premise to me.