Booksquawk, January 1, 2014, in which In the Moon of Asterion was named, “Squawk of the Year.”
Melissa Conway: In the Moon of Asterion is the third in her excellent Child of the Erinyes series. In my original review of it here on Booksquawk, I wrote, “as a reader, I was captivated, caught up in a boiling whirlpool pulling me toward the inevitable conclusion.” It would be well worth your while to add this historical fantasy fiction to your TBR pile.
It’s difficult to write a review for the third book in a series without touching on plot points in the first two that would amount to spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read them. But if you have read them (and you really should), you’ll understand why I’ve excerpted the following from dictionary.com:
In The Moon of Asterion may be the grand finale of The Child of the Erinyes trilogy, but as the author points out in the blurb for the first book, “What seems the end is only the beginning.”
The mythological Erinyes are more commonly known as Furies; goddesses of the earth, the incarnation of vengeance on those who have sworn false oaths. From the name of the series alone we expect to read of classically tragic, legendary matters – and Lochlann does not disappoint. However, as it turns out, the scope of the legend is grander than a single trilogy can portray. The first trilogy is set in the Bronze Age, but it’s the first in a series, or perhaps the better description would be to call it a saga that continues through time – eventually to the present day.
In the first three books, our main players are known as Aridela, princess of Crete; Chrysaleon, son of the High King of Mycenae; and Menoetius, his bastard brother. The complicated relationship between them is not that of a mere love triangle – no, the nature of the bond between the brothers makes their situation uniquely bleak, with a divine twist of epic proportions.
Themiste, the prophetess whose job it has been to interpret her own visions and those of others, is given hints throughout the narrative from the goddess Athene regarding the importance of this bond:
Aridela told me she looked first at Menoetius then Chrysaleon, and for one strange instant, she said they merged into each other, and wore each other’s faces. Then the voice said more.
“I have split one into two. Mortal men have burned my shrines and pulled down my statues. Their arrogance has upended the holy ways. I decree that men will resurrect me or the earth will die.”
So much in this book rides on each character making the right choices, and yet, always the wants and desires of humanity assert themselves, leaving them seemingly blind to the big picture. And here is where I begin to verge on giving too much away. I don’t want to spoil the ending with this review; just perhaps prepare the reader for the shocking, yet ultimately satisfying finish. All I can say is that as a reader, I was captivated, caught up in a boiling whirlpool pulling me toward the inevitable conclusion. Now that I’ve reached the end, I can’t wait for the next beginning.
From author, Lucinda Elliot, at her website Sophie De Courcy:
‘The Year God’s Daughter’ and ‘The Thinara King’ were page turners but this is where the real fireworks take place!
You won’t be disappointed with this, the third book, which concludes in a series of shocks that even surpasses the giant shock of the earthquake so brilliantly and terrifyingly depicted in ‘The Thinara King’.
Readers of the earlier books will remember how there are two half-brother rivals from the mainland who aspire to lovely Aridela (the older name for the Ariadne, I’ve discovered), now Queen of ancient, matriarchal Crete – Menoetius, the illegitimate son of the aging King, Idomeneus, dark and serious minded, once so handsome, now left scarred as much internally as externally by the mauling by the lioness, and Chrysaleon, his golden-haired, arrogant heir.
Chrysaleon has won the games and slain the now dead Queen’s consort, earning the right to be her heiress Aridela’s King for a Year. As a mainlander he bitterly resents his impending fate, but fought in the games as he found the thought of any other man winning her unendurable; will he honour his obligation?
Chrysaleon has also won Aridela’s heart – but has her old feeling for her childhood hero Menoetius vanished along with his good looks and his joy in life?
In this book we find out both Menoetius’ and Chrysaleon’s ‘truth’ (the term used by Aridela’s mother) and also the integrity of some of the other characters. Chrysaleon and Meneotius are not the only ones to be tested. Both Themeste and Selene will be tried to the limit, and only one of them holds firm.
One thing is certain, and that is that Alexiare, Chrysaleon’s devoted slave, will stop at nothing to further his interests.
But 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.
It is in this volume that the full meaning of the ancient prophecies is revealed – and the terrible implications of Harpalycus’ vaunted immortality.
There are murderous fights, bitter intrigue, and of course, a strong theme of romance running throughout. All the ingredients for an epic story.
If, like me, you are so drawn in that you keep on reading until the small hours, do save the enthralling last section of the book for when you can do justice to the enthralling denouement.
I look forward to reading about the main characters again, in another age.
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)