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 Book Review - The King Must Die

The King Must Die

By Mary Renault
February 1988
Paperback, 339 pages
Vintage Books
ISBN 0394751043

Author Mary Renault endeavors in The King Must Die to recreate the mythical realm of legendary Greece. We have come to expect such a world to be populated by larger than life heroes and heroines who fight against "monsters" (human or otherwise) and seek to overcome tyranny - and the author does not disappoint her readers.

In this novel, Renault breathes life into the figure of Theseus, and in the process does justice to the hero's legend by following closely the myths and stories of the ancient Greeks. In many cases, she attempts to provide a rational explanation for the more fabulous details of Theseus's legend, which is charming but also somewhat heavy handed at times.

However, Renault excels at describing the atmosphere of Crete, with its famous labyrinth and intriguing ritual of bull-dancing - not to mention her adept portrayal of the Byzantine plotting engaged in by the inhabitants of this island. And for you romantics, there is even a love story sub-plot, involving our hero and the mysterious priestess Ariadne. We will not reveal the ending of this novel, but suffice it to say that again, the author knows her Greek mythology...

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The Citadel of Troizen, where the Palace stands, was built by giants before anyone remembers. But the Palace was built by my great grandfather. At sunrise, if you look at it from Kalauria across the strait, the columns glow fire-red and the walls are golden.

The King Must Die

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this fascinating who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

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