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Posted June 21, 2012
What a pleasant surprise! Though originally published in Greek by a major publisher, this 1st book of a trilogy has been self-published in the US. Do not let that put you off. The novel is the best written, edited and produced such book I have read. I only found one possible typo in the entire book, unusual even from top publishers.
The book is a novelization of the myth of Tantalus and his children Pelops, Broteas and Niobe. Pelops and Tantalus are father and grandfather of the great House of Atreus, so important in ancient Greek literature. The myths are relatively straight-forward, though of course there are variations and name confusions. The author has chosen the currently most accepted forms of the myth, eg placing the kingdom of Tantalus in Lydia. It will be interesting to she what choices Grossack makes in the following novels, eg who does Niobe marry, what happens to her children, will Pelop's curse come true, etc.
The 1st novel is basically a retelling of Pelops death and resurrection in Lydia, his obsession to build an empire of his own, his banishment from Athens, and the events surrounding his marriage to Hippodamia. A possible foretelling of events to come in the sequels concerns the curse of Myrtilus, food for tragedy. Additional subplots involve Pelops intimacy with a certain older ship captain and Niobe's fascination with a handsome bard. What does the future hold?
Trough all of this Niobe provides a firm foundation on which Pelops can stride and in many ways the novel is the telling of Niobe's story, much neglected in ancient literature. The author creates a compelling character in Niobe and believable additions to the myths. I am looking forward to the sequels.
Children of Tantalus: Niobe and Pelops is a novel all lovers of mythic fiction will want to read.
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