Top positive review
The writing here is top-notch, the art varies greatly
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2020
This collection is largely removed not only from the main arcs of Sandman but also contemporary timeline. Gaiman's writing here is quite good and does a lot with ancient Rome, mythical Greece, pockets of time, and the French revolution. Furthermore, Gaiman explores how Dream become less and less dark and less dire through time, softening towards humanity rather than hardening. The addition of Orpheus as Dream's child and the inclusion of Death in the Orpheus's tale is fascinating. Four of the stories are historical fantasies in that they involve real rulers: Emperor Caesar Augustus, the Jacobin's Robespierre, and St. Just, Caliph Harun al-Rashid. The intersection with dream alters the course of history, but in ways that are captivating. The latter story, which contains some of the most beautiful artwork in the collection, serves as Gaiman's commentary about regular people in the first Iraq war--the dream of old Baghdad amongst the rumble. It's hard-breaking but unless most historical polemics remains somewhat timeless. The themes that run through this volume are consistent: narratives change history, clarify and distort the world, and keep us in hope. Indeed, that is, after all, the purview of Dream's domain.