Susan's review skillfully sums up the writing in this book. The author is skillful at keeping your attention; in the end, it is mostly a plot-driven book, which transitions seamlessly from adventure to adventure. It is not chock-full of brilliant insights, but it is a good yarn, and sometimes, that's all you need to keep reading. Worth picking up.
The scintillating story of the mythical hero Theseus, slayer of monsters, abductor of princesses, and king of Athens. He emerges from these pages as a clearly defined personality: brave and aggressive, tough and quick, highly sexed and touchily proud. The core of the story is Theseus' Cretan adventure, and the book ends with his return to Athens after successfully going through the labyrinth and slaying the Minotaur.
Mary Renault, in her 'Author's Note' at the end of her magnificent novel "The King Must Die" describes Theseus as "..brave and aggressive, physically tough and quick; highly sexed and rather promiscuous; touchily proud, but with a feeling for the underdog; resembling Alexander in his precocious competence, gift of leadership, and romantic sense of destiny."
Renault brings Theseus to life, telling us his story not as a myth, but as she imagines it could have been. We watch Theseus grow from a young boy of six to a brave young man of 19 by the novel's end. He comes into his own as the son of a king, and eventually as a king himself.
Renault not only knows ancient Greece, but she brings it to life. The time Theseus spends in Crete as a bull-dancer is a fascinating portion of this engrossing tale. Her novel "The Bull from the Sea" is the sequel, and begins with his return from Crete. I highly recommend both!
The ancient legend of Theseus takes on new life in this fascinating novel. Part 1 of the story; The Bull From The Sea is part 2. You will want both, they are un-put-downable. Very well written, you will become a believer.
I read this when I was about 17, it was one of the more vivid books I've ever read. Theseus was quite a character, and I wish I can say I have modelled my life after him, but I think just the opposite is true.