by David Elliott


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David Elliott turns a classic on its head: this rough and rowdy retelling of the Minotaur myth in verse will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters. 

Garnering six starred reviews, this update of the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur has been called “beautifully clever,”  “a literary feast fit for the gods,” "powerful and engrossing," "irresistible, slick, and sharp," "a genre of its own," and "rude...crude, and it's a whole bunch of fun."

Resurrected from the dark depths of the labyrinth, this fresh, deliciously shocking, and darkly comedic novel-in-verse takes on the Theseus and Minotaur myth and shines a light on one of history's most infamous monsters.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328596338
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 326,217
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 600L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

David Elliott is a NY Times bestselling children's author whose many titles include And Here's to You!, The Evangeline Mudd books, In the WildOn the Wing, and Nobody's Perfect. David has worked as a singer, a cucumber washer, and a popsicle stick maker. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and a three-footed dog. www.davidelliottbooks.com 

Read an Excerpt


There beneath the palace walls
the monster rages, foams, bawls,
calling out again and again,

No other sound
but the scrape
of horn
on stone,
the grinding cranch of human bone
under callused human foot.



Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right?
That bum Minos deserved what he got.
I mean, I may be a god, but I’m not
Unreasonable, and when I am, so

Like I said,
I’m a god.
Reason’s got nuthin’
To do with it.

But let’s get back to where it all started:
Minos comes to me,
Mewling like a baby,
Frowny-faced, heavy-hearted.
He’s got a hunger, he says,
A hankering, a jones, a thing.
But not for a woman!
This jerk wants to be king!
An island so dazzling
It could cure the friggin’
Blind. But it’s not the friggin’
Scenery this friggin’
Minos has in mind.

Not the harbors or the shores,
The god-possessed waters.
Not the sheep, the trusty shepherds,
Their warlike sons, their lusty daughters.
Not the olives or the figs,
The sacred, long-lived trees.
Not the amber honey
Or the honey-making bees.
Not the thyme-drunk lovers
Who sigh among its flowers.

All this clown wants
Is a little power.
He’s got an appetite for obedience,
But no imagination.
And he doesn’t ask for much—
Just his own private nation.

So he wonders
If I’d give the people
An omen,
A sign,
Something impressive,
He says, something divine.
Anything to prove
He’s the man
For the royal job.

So what the fuck, I think.
I’m gonna help this slob.

Why not?
I got plenty o’ nifty tricks
Up this metaphorical sleeve.
And you mortals?
You’re ready to believe
Anything to prove
A god’s on your side.
Besides, I got no dog in this fight.
No skin off my hide.
So, I wave my trusty trident;
Ain’t nuthin’ for me.
And abra-cadabra!

A milk-white bull
Comes walking
Out of the wine-dark sea.

The oldest trick in the book!
A piece o’ cake.
But it doesn’t take
Much to bring you
Mortals to your knees.

Yeah, you’re hard to respect
But easy to please.

So Minos gets it all—
The palace, the power.
Big Man on Knossos.
Man of the Hour.

But all of a sudden,
He won’t play nice.

He was supposed to sacrifice
That bull
To me!
Poseidon, baby!
King of the Sea!
Tamer of Horses!
Old Earth-Shaker!
And one helluva troublemaker
When some jerk shirks
His responsibility and
Won’t keep his word.

So this Minos,
This “king,”
This two-faced
Hid my bull and
Sacrificed another.
Like I’m some kind of mark!
A pigeon!
His younger brother!
A harebrain!
An idiot!
A jamook!
A snot-nosed kid!

The guy’s all ego.


I could have turned his eyes
Into a nest for seething wasps.
I could have turned his face
Into a snapping clam.
I could have given him hooves
Or studded the roof
Of his mouth with thorns.
Could have fitted him with horns.
Made him smell like an outhouse.
Covered him with zits.
Turned his arms into eels.
His teeth into snails.
Bleat like a sea cow.
Blow like a whale.
A snout!
Turned his
I could have.
But I didn’t.

Parlor games.
A touch too mild.
Child’s play.
And Poseidon’s no child.

He needed something
He’d remember
His whole stinkin’ life.
That’s why I bypassed him . . .

And went after his wife.

When you play with the gods,
You’re playing fast and loose.
Enough small talk—
I’ve got a sea nymph to seduce.

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