Over two-thousand years ago, on the Aegean island of Chios, a stranger wrapped a newborn in mandrake leaves, placed her in a woven basket, and abandoned her on the doorstep of a seafaring sorcerer’s home. Ancient magic ruled the daily lives of merely a handful of Ionians, while cruel slavery imprisoned the masses.
My destiny was cast; would I mature into the rattle of chains around my ankles, toiling in the poisonous malachite mines? Or could I conjure magic powerful enough to plot my ingenious escape off the island, and flee from a prearranged marriage to the vile Themistocles?
In secret, I learned the forbidden recipes in Stavros’ Sacred Text: how to harvest occult mandrake roots with the help of Spartacus, my hunting dog, and how to create coveted incense to rid a haunted trireme of lingering demons.
In time, I concocted a signature love potion, and handcrafted worry beads out of malachite and copper, talismans treasured by war-torn mariners. Our Persian enemies encroached by land and by sea, determined to suppress our budding democracy. The Spartans grew stronger to the south, while Aegina’s general postured for naval supremacy, pitting Greek against Greek.
I had to stop them all in their misguided tracks.
Over time, I mastered telekinesis-moving objects with my mind. On Lesbos, I met the old crone, Selene, and Sappho, the love poet who taught me secretive invocations of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. It was treacherous for a slave girl to invoke Apollo, the god of prophecy, in order to see into the future--but I had to risk everything. To reunite with my beloved Demetrius, I would journey to the brink of Death.
While I tried to solve the mystery of my birth roots, three men triangulated separate paths of alchemical devotion; before the Persian Wars were over, one would die, another would become my devoted friend, and the third would capture my unbridled affection.
If only our gods would allow it.