From author, Lucinda Elliot, at her website Sophie De Courcy:
Aridela’s awful sufferings at the hands of Harpalycus have changed her, just as her taking on the responsibilities of a ruler must, and she is gradually developing a different perspective from that of the careless worshipper of external beauty we met in the first volume. See more
Reviews at Amazon: read them all
A milestone and personal goal has been reached at last! I’m so happy to announce the digital release of Book Three, In the Moon of Asterion! This book concludes The Bronze Age segment of the series, and kicks off the next set.
In celebration, I’ve set Asterion‘s price at .99 cents, plus I’ve dropped the price of Book One, The Year-god’s Daughter, to .99 cents as well. I invite you to pick up a copy and give the series a read if you like series books. (Links at the bottom of this post.)
I’ll be retreating into my lonely writing garret as I work hard to get Book Four, The Sixth Labyrinth, polished and ready to go. As you might have read here on the site, The Sixth Labyrinth takes a giant leap forward in time and space, to 1870s Scotland. How is it that we can still follow the lives of Aridela, Chrysaleon, Menoetius, and their followers in such a different place and time? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out. An excerpt of the first three chapters has been included at the end of Asterion.
Meanwhile, a short excerpt from In the Moon of Asterion:
Aridela remembered how the guards had struggled to open the heavy oak door, but for her, it moved effortlessly, at the touch of a finger.
“Asterion,” she whispered. The chamber was not so well lit as last time. There was but one lamp now, giving off a faint glow that only intensified the weight of darkness.
Again, she heard rustling beyond her vision. This time, instead of fear, she felt a thrill of anticipation.
The Beast loped into the circle of light. Incredibly huge, he smelled pungent, musky, like the wild aurochs they captured for the ring. He nuzzled the palm of her hand. She stroked his face, clasped his heavy horns, and kissed his forehead, where a gold rosette glowed.
He prodded her with his snout until he had her trapped against the wall of the chamber. There he kept her, between his implacable enormous head and the immovable wall, snuffling at her stomach as though he could smell the baby. He backed up, snorting, swinging his head from side to side. His eyes were white-rimmed; she sensed the danger and covered her abdomen, afraid, but then divine Athene transformed him, and he who pressed against her was a man.
Anything could happen in the place of dreams, where no boundaries existed.
There is a beast in the labyrinth… a monster. The people say he is both man and bull; they call him Asterion.
Of all Crete’s citizens, only two dare enter his lair. One bears his child. The other sees the Goddess in his eyes.
Terrifying yet compelling, the beast offers Crete’s only hope for redemption.
In the third installment of The Child of the Erinyes, Queen Aridela sets out to rebuild her devastated country. Will she sacrifice her beloved consort as ancient tradition demands?
Chrysaleon seeks a way to escape his vow of death and subjugate his adopted land. Can he thwart the Goddess and survive?
Menoetius must offer his allegiance. Who will win his loyalty? His brother, or the woman he loves?
The choices these three make have unforeseen, horrific consequences, changing the course of history and propelling Goddess Athene’s triad toward fulfillment of a bold, far-reaching design.
“What seems the end is only the beginning.”
One of my favorite reader reviews: “The Year God’s Daughter and The Thinara King were page turners but this is where the real fireworks take place!”
iTunes (Only The Year-god’s Daughter as of now)
(paperback of Asterion will be out in May, 2013)
An author, once she or he publishes that debut novel, imagines, expects, and hopes for many things. I am no different. Something I never anticipated, however, was becoming a college assignment.
A professor at the university in question happened upon The Year-god’s Daughter. She read it and contacted me to let me know she was assigning it to her spring 2013 semester class. They’ll be writing up essays on the culture and ideologies covered in the book.
To those students in the class who dislike historical fantasy, love stories, and/or class assignments, I’m sorry you’re being dragged through this, (and I do remember some of my own university assignments…. some better loved than others….)
First and foremost, I sincerely hope the tale is enjoyed!
I’m thrilled to be featured at:
THE HISTORICAL FICTION eBOOKS WEBSITE!
Please come over and read a very short blurb about what inspired me to write my very long series….
and while you’re there, I invite you to check out the other historical novels and novelists collected and on display.
Here are a few… just a taste… of all the wonderful authors who get together here:
In my series, the title given to the bull-god, the sacred king. He was, as far as I can tell, the precursor to Zeus, although later myths say he was the son of Zeus.
Carl Kerényi has a whole chapter on Zagreus in Dionysos, Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, which of course I won’t repeat in its entirety here. The highlights:
page 113: “The Cretans of the Greek period spoke of a Zeus of their own, stressing the Cretan mythologem of his birth by the use of the epithet “Kretogenes,” “he who was born in Crete.” By this they meant the god born in a Cretan setting that included the cave. If we drop the Greek names “Zeus” and “Dionysos,” there remains the great anonymous snake god who, according to the late testimony of Himerios, held his marriage “in Cretan caves.”
“Less archaic than the seduction by a snake was the universally known myth of the rape of Persephone. “Hades,” “Plouton,” or the “subterranean Zeus” were only cover names for the ravisher. Fundamentally he too was a great anonymous god. To the version in which the scene of the rape was Sicily, Nonnos in his Dionysiaka appended an account of the snake marriage. Demeter leaves Crete with her virgin daughter Persephone and hides her in a cave near the spring of Kyane. Thither comes Zeus, the bridegroom in the form of a snake:
…through marriage with this heavenly dragon
Persephone’s womb became fruitful, prepared
To give birth to Zagreus, the horned infant.
Aischylos bears witness to the contradictory identity of Zagreus, on the one hand with a “subterranean Zeus,” on the other with his subterranean son. “Zagreus,” “he who captures alive,” was also a cover name, a circumlocution for a great god, in fact the greatest god of all time. He visits his hidden daughter in a cave, and she bears him to himself as his own son. The “mystic” feature which we have presupposed in the relationship between Dionysos and Ariadne here appears in an archaic myth in which generation and birth never go beyond the same couple. Taking his mother or daughter to wife, the son or husband begets a mystic child who in turn will court only his mother. To such involvements the snake figure is more appropriate than any other. It is the most naked form of zoë absolutely reduced to itself”
Later in the book, Carl observes: “It is certain that if Pentheus, a transparent and unequivocal name with the somber meaning “man of suffering,” could become a man’s name at Knossos it was only because the names of gods–”Zagreus” as well as “Pentheus”–were also given to persons and because int he fesstive calendar the god’s somber aspect prepared the way for the opposite aspect.”
Robert Graves says on page 110 in The Greek Myths:
“Because the vine cult reached Greece and the Aegean by way of Crete–oinos, ‘wine’, is a Cretan word–Dionysus has been confused with Cretan Zagreus, who was similarly torn to pieces at birth.”
Kaphtor is merely an ancient name for Crete. It comes to us from Egypt mostly.
In his book Unearthing Atlantis, Charles Pellegrino says on page 88:
“When finally the troops entered Canaan, carrying the Ark before them, war broke out almost immediately between the Hebrews and the people they found there. Among those people were the Philistines, whom the Bible tells us came from Caphtor (Crete.) Can it be that the Philistines (Cretan Minoans?) and the armies of Hebrew slaves, having escaped from (or been chased out of) famine-stricken Egypt, were actually two populations of refugees created, in different ways, by the same volcanic catastrophe? Can it be that the present-day conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis has as its roots Thera and the origin of the Atlantis legend?”
In Minoans, Life in Bronze Age Crete, by Rodney Castleden says on page 21:
“A tablet found far away at Mari in Mesopotamia mentions a weapon adorned with lapis lazuli and gold and describes it as ‘Caphtorite.’ The Egyptians called Crete ‘Kefti’, ‘Keftiu’ or ‘the land of the Keftiu’, while in the Near East Crete was known as ‘Caphtor’: it is as Caphtor that ancient Crete appears in the Old Testament, ‘Caphtorite’ clearly means Cretan. The similarity of the words ‘Caphtor’, ‘Caphtorite’ and ‘Keftiu’ strongly implies that the Minoans themselves used something like the word ‘Kaftor’ as a name for their homeland.”
on page 37 he says: “There is a tradition that the Philistines originated as Cretans; the Book of Jeremiah (47:4) says, ‘for the Lord will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.’ Caphtor was Crete.”
Following a devastating attack on her home that kills her only friend, young Zoë is torn from her solitary, fantasy-filled life in pastoral Germany.
With help from an extraordinary man, a man fashioned of courage and poetry, she flees deep into the Mediterranean archipelago, barely a step ahead of the soldiers pursuing her.
Magic and realism collide as she discovers why she is so important, why the world is wounded by the loss of dream and myth.
Swimming in the Rainbow dips into the “lost years,” close to the end of The Child of the Erinyes.
“It was Teófilo’s most ardent wish–to move, to fly, to soar. To shatter his bonds. But I never would allow it. I wanted him to remain my constant, and, for me, he consented. Not that he had any choice. Not even his promise to take me into the center of a rainbow, tucked on his back between his wings, would make me relent. In those days I was selfish, with the unconscious selfishness of a child who never questions the turning of the planets but assumes with tessellated arrogance that they spin simply for her amusement.”
Would you like to read an excerpt? Follow this link.
In her heyday, Helice commanded respect and awe to an extent almost level with that of the Pharaoh of Egypt. In fact, she calls Pharaoh her friend, along with other rulers, kings, queens, and leaders, including the arrogant Idómeneus, king of Mycenae, father to both Chrysaleon and Menoetius.
But now her health is failing. Still a young woman by today’s standards, she is wasting away with some unknown disease. Her royal healer cannot find the proper combination of herbs or concoctions to reverse the problem.
Helice, ever the pragmatist, decides to put her eldest daughter on the throne. Iphiboë will step up before Helice becomes too weak to help her.
Queen Helice refuses to accept what everyone else knows. Iphiboë doesn’t possess the strength of will to rule as queen over this powerful society.
The mainland kingdoms sense this as well.
His name, pronounced “Chris-aa-leon,” (long a, like in “A day”) means “Gold Lion.”
The shallow, spoiled heir to Mycenae’s throne is determined to crush Crete, for his own glory and to impress his father; he also desires nothing more than to see the bastard half-brother he hates humiliated and thrown out of favor–maybe even killed.
Many famed city states exist at this time on what is now called the Peloponnese. Mycenae, Pylos, Gla, Tiryns, Sparta, Troezen, Argos–all are in the height of their power at the time of the series.
Athens at this time in history hardly exists. It’s no more than a small village and carries no weight or importance.
But back to Chrysaleon. Four words perfectly describe him: angry, arrogant, entitled, selfish.
His blond hair and green eyes come from his ancestors, tribes from the Northern Steppes. This will become important in the story and influence the success and/or failure of his plots on Crete, where almost everyone is dark skinned, dark haired.
Chrysaleon’s purpose as one point of Athene’s sacred triad is to “fulfill his obligation.” What is his obligation, you might ask? You’ll have to read the books to find out. But you knew I’d say that!
“From the first almost stanzaic words of that opening, you slam the reader straight into the world of ancient Greece with all its heat, sweat, gore and fervid glory. It was almost an invocation that opening, bringing to mind the mesmeric hexameters of the Illiad. And the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The descriptions as Menoetius walks up toward the Labyrinthos are intoxicating, filling every sense, calling upon every sense to share in the experience of this alien, ancient world of the bronze age. I was there beside him, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting the dust between my teeth. It is glorious writing, that. And some of your phrases, your descriptions are among the most heart-stopping in their beauty and cadence: ‘Pain bit like a serpent’s fangs’; ‘the dust-soft edge of the city…’ Indeed, that whole paragraph is one of the most luscious I can recall reading. Ever. And your balance between the longer, hypotactic, structure of the descriptive passages and the shorter paratactic passages is just masterful–a perfect balance of long and short, slow and fast, emphasising the elegance and beauty of each. Ancient Greece is a minefield for the unwary author, because it is both an integral part of our Western culture and wholly alien to us. And ever since the scholars from Byzantium brought the ancient texts to the West, the West has been trying to soften them, or even expunge the alien elements and the–to their eyes–pagan barbarity of this pre-Christian society. But you have had the courage to present us with this ancient civilisation without any overlay of the moral judgements of Christian humanism. You have presented ‘what was’ without apology or coyness. And that is a tremendous feat in and of itself.
You offer us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in this world, you offer us engaging characters who leave us spell-bound and it is through their eyes that we see this story unfold against the tapestry of ancient Crete. This is historical fiction at its engrossing best.
There is, quite simply, nothing about this book which is not superb. You have translated words, ideas, poetry, character, myth into an alchemic wonder, a dazzling novel of the ancient world, and are a fit heir to the great mantle of such writers as Mary Renault, Scott O’Dell and Robert Graves, and even, dare I say it, the goddess herself.” M.M. Bennetts, author of May, 1812 and Of Honest Fame, published by Diiarts.
“A collision of destiny and passion from the pen of a true bard.” Sulari Gentill, award-winning author of The Rowland Sinclair series and The Hero Trilogy, published by Pantera Press.
“What a wonderful mythic tale–different time and place, but certainly reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon.” Valya Dudycz Lupescu, author of The Silence of Trees, published by Wolfsword Press
“You paint a vivid picture of a long-lost world. I specially liked the comparisons between the slave’s stories and the real thing. And the description of the Queen, in that context. Would I buy this book? Yes, I would.” Greta van der Rol, author of The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy, The Iron Admiral: Deception, Supertech, Morgan’s Choice, and Die a Dry Death, published by Pfoxmoor Publishing
“The crisp action, the fine details, the judicious use of the senses in every line – all deftly woven together to create a very real world and storyline. As gripping as the opening was, I was even further drawn in by the following chapter. You have a keen sense of flow and a simply exquisite way of heightening emotions by painting a picture with words.” N. Gemini Sasson, author of The Crown in the Heather, Worth Dying For, The Honor Due a King, and Isabeau, published by Cader Idris Press
“I was struck first by the sensual details inextricably woven into the heightened emotion of your opening scene. Every action and word is given its moment in the sun, no description is extraneous. All mix to a triumphant whole. Truly stunning that you make such an ancient time and place feel like I’m right there in the middle of it, in the suffocating dust, in the blistering sun. Every element is perfection, every emotion raw, every character fully fleshed. I would recommend this book to anyone, and fully intend to buy it when it is published.” Cheri Lasota, author of Artemis Rising, published by SpireHouse Publishing
“Oh, the classic world. I love this. It’s atmospheric and rich. It draws me in. It is a part of history. You write it so well that it talks to me with the voice of Homer. I’m glad I’ve read this. Why does the public have a taste for pseudo-historical writing, when real historical fiction resides here? Richard Pierce-Saunderson, author of Dead Men, published by Duckworth (March, 2012)
“This is a fabulous tale.” Ruth Francisco, author of Amsterdam, 2012, Good Morning, Darkness, Confessions of a Deathmaiden
“A difficult subject risen to with an imagination at the height of its powers. I have a vivid memory of my trip to Mycenae and you gave back to those broken stones all their lost life and colour.” Violet Wells, author of Ponte Santa Trinita and Burnt Ochre
“Full of historical flavour, mystery and imagery. You can hear the crowds, taste the dust, feel the gore of the bull’s horns. Wonderful, lyrical prose, worthy of ancient Greek myth.” Cas Peace, author of King’s Envoy, published by Rhemalda Publishing