Reviews: The Year-god’s Daughter 2008-09 prepublication
Here are some of the thoughts and comments given to me before The Year-god’s Daughter was published. They helped give me confidence and courage.
“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
“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, Die a Dry Death, and other stories
“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 The Failed Assassin, Bee Bones, and 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 Albia Publishing