First of a new series from Saberhagen--your choice whether you call it fantasy or far-future science fiction--an offshoot of, or prequel to, his Lost Swords yarns (The Last Book of Swords, 1994, etc.). In a terrible battle inside Mount Olympus, Hades the god of the underworld kills Apollo the god of light. Some days later, a severely wounded young woman, Sal, begs help from 15-year-old field-worker Jeremy Redthorn. Soon, soldiers seeking Sal--and the mysterious object of power she carries- -attack and destroy Jeremy's village. Jeremy, though, manages to escape after recovering the object and promising Sal he'll take it to either Professor Alexander or Margaret Chalandon of the Academy at distant Pangur Ban. Jeremy later examines the object: a strange, translucent fragment of a modeled mask. He puts it on, and it sinks into his head! Moreover, the mask, or Face, contains the memories, personality, and powers of the god Apollo. Slowly, as Jeremy becomes accustomed to this Intruder, he realizes that his--Apollo's--battle with Hades is far from over. With new friends Carlotta and Arnobius, Jeremy reaches the Academy, but Alexander is murdered by an avatar of Thanatos, god of death, and Margaret Chalandon has gone missing on an expedition to Mount Olympus. Hoping to capture the oracle of the gods, Pangur Ban's Lord Victor sends a force to Olympus, which Jeremy joins (nobody yet suspects he's also Apollo). Testing his powers, he acquires allies: Carlotta relinquishes her Face of Loki the Trickster to Jeremy's beloved, Katy, and his soldier friend Andy Ferrante becomes the god Vulcan. Matters build toward the inevitable confrontation with Hades and his minions. Another winner for Saberhagen--like his Swords, the possibilities and permutations seem endless--but riddled with minor inconsistencies and irritatingly slapdash for all that.