Customer Reviews for

The King Must Die

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Loved It

I thought this book was amazing. In just a few sentences Mary Renaults manages to wow me. At times it is hard to understand, but as all classics go... It was a mandatory summer read, and I am beyond grateful. If it had not been, I would have never heard of this song and...
I thought this book was amazing. In just a few sentences Mary Renaults manages to wow me. At times it is hard to understand, but as all classics go... It was a mandatory summer read, and I am beyond grateful. If it had not been, I would have never heard of this song and never have gotten the chance to ... read it. One of my favorite parts goes:

"For I had felt too much and reasoned too little, hearing what I was ready to hear, not what had been said." (pg 42, Renault.)

Anyways. I recommend this book. Love it.

posted by racingheartbeat on September 5, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

The King Left Me Disappointed

I¿m a big reader of fiction and love classical Greek and Roman history so I figured this story would be right up my alley. I¿d also heard about Mary Renault¿s writing prowess but to be honest, I wasn¿t impressed. It wasn¿t historical inaccuracies that bothered me. W...
I¿m a big reader of fiction and love classical Greek and Roman history so I figured this story would be right up my alley. I¿d also heard about Mary Renault¿s writing prowess but to be honest, I wasn¿t impressed. It wasn¿t historical inaccuracies that bothered me. With Theseus, you¿re more in the realm of mythology than history and mythology is just another name for fiction. I was bothered more that the story wasn¿t true to itself or to what Theseus was meant to represent. In all likelihood, the man Theseus never existed. His name derives from the Greek word for state or institution. He is a founding hero of the Greek tradition, similar to Heracles or Perseus. He was meant to personify all of the noble attributes of an Athenian: fairness, courage, intelligence and resourcefulness. Firmly ingrained in the Theseus I read about from Plutarch is a deep sense of responsibility which Renault¿s Theseus doesn¿t have. When Theseus chose to travel the Isthmus Road rather than take the safe boat to Athens, it was because he was disgusted that a bunch of brutal ruffians could keep decent people from traveling freely and safely. Renault¿s Theseus makes the trip to save face when someone challenges him. Plutarch¿s Theseus was a reformer whose first interest was always his people. Renault¿s Theseus forgets his kingly responsibilities as soon as the next adventure comes along. I even had to question Renault¿s choices. At times is seems she attempts a realistic interpretation of the legend the Minotaur is a guy in a bull mask and all of the nasty characters Theseus meets on the Isthmus Road are really just common bandits. But she also implies a supernatural relationship between Theseus and Poseidon. Theseus is able to predict an earthquake and he keeps getting into battles where all those around him are torn to bits while he escapes without a scratch. This turns Theseus into nothing more than an adventure hero like Conan the Barbarian. Theseus is invulnerable and always gets the girl. This may be okay for some people but I had loftier hopes for this story. I read a lot of history and know the price paid in blood for victory. I know how quickly a reckless adventurer dies and can¿t reconcile that image with the founder of Athens. I can¿t say the story was a complete disappointment. It moved quickly and I never lost interest. The best part for me was the lurid description of the Cretans. It has motivated me to read more about Minoan culture. Renault¿s writing style is engaging enough that I might give her another chance and read The Last of the Wine.

posted by Anonymous on August 22, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Loved It

    I thought this book was amazing. In just a few sentences Mary Renaults manages to wow me. At times it is hard to understand, but as all classics go... It was a mandatory summer read, and I am beyond grateful. If it had not been, I would have never heard of this song and never have gotten the chance to ... read it. One of my favorite parts goes:

    "For I had felt too much and reasoned too little, hearing what I was ready to hear, not what had been said." (pg 42, Renault.)

    Anyways. I recommend this book. Love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    My All Time Favorite!

    I've read this book over 30 times in the last 10 years! It's a treat, a vacation for the mind. Definately a must read for the serious mythology lover!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2003

    Boring? I couldn't leave it alone!

    I read this book a few years ago, high school or middle school maybe, but it has stuck in my mind since then. I absolutely loved this book, and read it for fun, not an assignment. While I will agree that the beginning of the book was a bit slower paced, once I got into the book, I couldn't put it down. I got in trouble reading it in class instead of doing school work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2002

    The Stuff of Myth

    I'm in awe of Mary Renault's writing ability. Her style in "The King Must Die" - proud but reverent, with just the right amount of foreshadowing to add a sense of fate - does justice to the material, which is from Greek myth. Renault doesn't ignore the power of religion, either. The classical Greek myths aren't just a bunch of stories for her characters. The gods are real, and these characters act accordingly. ...This is how deeply involving and electrifying Greek myth must have been to the people of that age. There are great battles of will, great sacrifices, powerful signs, vengeful gods, crises of conscience, love, war, bloody-handed justice, and quite a lot of sex. ...What a story. And what a writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2002

    A classical myth transformed into an adventure story

    Mary Renault revitalizes the ancient Greek myth of Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotaur by following its hero's thoughts and actions as a series of rites of passage. Theseus, no longer innocent, leaves home, traverses dangerous territory, kills his first adult opponent, beds a queen, and returns home triumphant, only to volunteer to be one of the youths annually sent to Crete as doomed tribute to King Minos and as mortally perilous bull-dancing entertainment for the king's minions. He welds together a team so flawlessly attuned and unselfish that all its members survive, and he then goes on to new adventures. Because of the book's explicit (though tasteful) sex scenes, I was surprised to learn from a teenager who spotted the title on my beach towel that he had read it in his freshman year at a parochial prep school in Connecticut. But then I realized that The King Must Die is indeed an adventure story which teaches tenderness and consideration as well as sexual politics to its intended young audience. The descriptions and extended similes are Homeric in their richness, and the story is faithful to accepted versions of Greek mythology.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2001

    The Legend of Theseus

    One of the Best books I've ever read; and lets add its sister-book, The Bull From the Sea. This set is worth its weight in gold. But the first is the the birth of a Legend, the second is the passing of the torch,that keeps the legend alive, of the man called Theseus. The Last of the Wine was great also, but can not compare to the Theseus duel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2001

    BEST IF THE BEST

    this book was amazing thoough the begining was unbelievably boring it was a gold mine once he hit the trail and went to Eulesius and Athens and Crete 1 of the best ive ever read. I had to read this book for my honors english class over the summer even though id rather be hangin out at the pool with my friends i spent time readin this book. I loved it and recomend it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2001

    OMG I LOVED IT

    Okay ive read many other reviews on this book. But come on, we really should give her credit for this book because it deals with something very interesting. Greek Mythology. It was fascinating. I recommend it to other people who are very interested in myths. GO FOR IT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2001

    FANTASTIC BOOK!!!!!!!

    THE KING MUST DIE is a wonderful book if you are interested in myths about ancient Greece. The book provides a clear and logical explanation of what the myth of Theseus and The Minotaur was most likely about. Mary Renault has done something outstanding in showing us, the readers, the character and life of Theseus in ancient Greece. This book is a definite MUST-READ!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2000

    loan it but do not assign it.

    The bad reviews this remarkable writer has received seem to've come from kids who've been forced to read her. Recommendation to those bright children--come back to her when your sense of history has matured. The Odyssey is indeed good, but how come the Iliad has not been broached by the first reviewer? Renault deals with Homer quite extensively throughout her work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2000

    The most enthralling book based on greek myths I have come across

    This book was magnificent! if you like greek Myths or fantasy, then this is the book for you. I first read this book years ago and hae kept re-reading it out of sheer interest. Mary Renault is a genius by the way she takes myths and facts about the Minoans and turns it into a wonderful book of fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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