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Topic: August BOM- Black Ships Discussion: Pages 206- 304

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Subject: August BOM- Black Ships Discussion: Pages 206- 304
Date Posted: 8/1/2008 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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The third discussion section.

Date Posted: 8/5/2008 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,584
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I'm nearing the end of the book and I do feel it was better after a weak (in my opinion) middle section.  The journeys to Egypt and Scylla (Sicily) were well written and much more detailed than the early travels were.  Gull is a wonderful character; full of passion, intuition and loyalty.  I have really enjoyed meeting her, my other criticisms notwithstanding.

Date Posted: 8/7/2008 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Sybil's hook-up with Xandros was inevitable---but I can't tell if it's just a sex/crush thing or if it's a soul mate thing--I continue to think that Sybil and Neas are the better match.  But Graham does not have Sybil overly jealous of Neas and the Princess, which I would think she would if they were to get together eventually, so I may have to abandon my own fantasy there...LOL


I like the detail she gives of the People's time in Egypt better; she adds a little more about Egyptian customs/traditions and worship--which is what I continue to want out of this book.  I don't think she's done a great job with the very interesting subject of the People who want to leave Egypt vs the People who don't--perfect opportunity for Neas to assert his kingship/leadership to keep the People together--this wasn't a democracy, folks--he needed to order them all to go, and should have forbidden his men to take Egyptian wives knowing they would leave to preserve the People--it was only a year.

I love Sybil's learning with Hry and their 'professional' discussions--great to wonder about how the 'learneds' of the time thought about things and questioned what they saw in nature. Graham offers a good perspective on that.

What's the purpose of Sybil's brother returning, then departing, the picture again? I always operate from the assumption that in a well-constructed book, plot devices have purpose--what's his? 

I'm struck that, while Graham steps up during the People's time in Egypt with more historical detail, she doesn't even touch on the notion that this time--safe, on land, able to simply live rather than flee or fight for a time---should be a bonding and regrouping time for the People. I wanted to see Neas acting like their leader, holding councils, helping his People to heal but also leading them with his vision of a new city---earlier in the book, it was important to him to preserve the People as a nation, and this seems to be his purpose in the history of his People--so I longed for him to lead.


All in all, I'm more into the book, but still unsettled by its simplicity and abruptness at times, its lack of detail, and its really obvious devices.  But I'll stick with it.

Date Posted: 8/7/2008 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Colleen, I think the Aeneid was more of a romantic tale than an attempt to portray Aeneas accurately. Graham seems to stick to that theme. Le Guin's Lavinia gives you a bit more perspective into the governmental side of things, but it too sticks to romance as the main theme. It tells the last half of the story, so it's a good compliment to Black Ships, if you're interested.

Date Posted: 8/8/2008 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Genie--I just might read Lavinia...it's Aug 8 and I"m done Black Ships so....why not? off to find a copy.....