“A historically rich reworking of Theseus and the Minotaur . . . A world and story both excitingly alien and pleasingly familiar” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.
So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed, she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.
Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotauros, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that “monster” is Ariadne’s brother . . .
“Fans of historical fiction and Greek myths should be pleased.” —Booklist
“Barrett offers clever commentary on the spread of gossip and an intriguing matriarchal version of the story. Fans of Greek mythology should appreciate this edgier twist on one of its most familiar tales.” —Publishers Weekly
Barrett's story, like her King of Ithaka, is a reimagining drawn from antiquity, this time the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The beast, however, is not a monster but 18-year-old Asterion, born deformed and mentally incapacitated; he's capable of gentleness but more often tends to accidentally kill his playmates. The narrative largely centers on 15-year-old Ariadne, Asterion's sister and the future priestess of Krete, the most important position on the island, which is currently held by her mother. Ariadne believes in the traditions of her home, but secrets that her mother has kept, including doubts of Ariadne's validity as her successor, cause big problems when her mother dies. The balance of power is further threatened when a ship containing tributes from Athens arrives, including the scheming Prokris, seeking to take over Krete with 16-year-old Theseus, who narrates portions of the book as well. Barrett offers clever commentary on the spread of gossip and an intriguing matriarchal version of the story. Fans of Greek mythology should appreciate this edgier twist on one of its most familiar tales. Ages 12 up.