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 Book Review - The Bull from the Sea

The Bull from the Sea

By Mary Renault
July 2001
Paperback, 352 pages
Vintage Books
ISBN 0375726802

The Bull from the Sea is the sequel to Mary's Renualt's novel The King Must Die, and therefore also deals with the life and deeds of the Greek hero Theseus. While the first book took the early career of Theseus as its subject, the second begins the narrative after he has returned to Athens a triumphant young man, full of himself and his powers.

It seems that in The Bull from the Sea, the maturity of Theseus is complemented and echoed by a more polished style of writing, for this sequel is, in our opinion, more riveting than its predecessor. This may in part be due to the myth of Theseus, which, in the details especially of his early life, often lends itself to fabulous embellishments (what is a myth, after all?) - something that the author apparently scorns.

Renault does in fact seem do to much better when she is not trying to rationalize some aspects of an elusive myth, but instead attempts to create a compelling story. And the story of Theseus the king, the man who loved a wild Amazon and tamed an unruly country, is quite compelling in this wonderful novel.

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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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