The epic of Thesus, the boy king of Eleusis, ritually preordained to die after one year of marriage to the sacred queen but who defies God's decree and claims his inheritance - the throne of Athens. This re-creation of a Greek myth is written by the author of The Last of the Wine.
"One of the truly fine historical novels of modern times. Not since Robert Graves's I, Claudius has there been such an exciting living image of the Ancient World on this grand scale." (New York Times)
"Takes the raw material of myth and makes it credible - I am spellbound by Miss Renault's art." (Observer)
"Vivid and convincing...it brims with feeling." (Sunday Times)
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This is the rare book that functions as a great story regardless of how much of the background material you are familiar with. As a retelling of a classic myth, it reads as a coming-of-age story set in antiquity. But, the more familiar one is with the source material, the more astounding the book becomes. There is a ton of historical referencing done, but the genius of it is that it doesn't stand out from the story, it only serves it. The more you know about the mystery cults of Hellenic and pre-Hellenic Greece, the more fascinating the story goes. A little background reading on the Eleusinian and Bacchic/Dionysus mystery cults, as well as the Minoan culture and Palatial periods and even the volcanic eruption on Thera/Kalliste ca 1500BCE open up an entirely different perspective on Renault's talent. For me, this is the finest historical novel I've read. Kris Dyer's narration here is spot-on as well.
- J. Brinkman
Finally! An unabridged old favorite