The World is ending. One by one the mighty cities are falling: to earthquakes, to flood and to raiders - on both land and sea. In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle, a mouthpiece of the gods. Daughter of a slave plundered from fallen Troy, she was chosen as a child to serve the Lady of the Dead, and it is her fate to counsel kings. When nine black ships appear as foretold in her dreams, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must make her choice. She must decide between her sacred calling and the most perilous adventure - joining her mother's people in their desperate flight from slavery. From the doomed bastions of the City of Pirates to the temples of Byblos, from the intrigues of the Egyptian court to the haunted caves beneath Mount Vesuvius, only Gull can guide Prince Aeneas on his quest. And only she can dare the gates of the Underworld itself to lead him to his destiny. In the last shadowed days of the Age of Bronze, one woman dreams of the world beginning anew. This is her story.
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(196mm x 126mm x 27mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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US Kirkus Review »
This debut fantasy enters Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana Paxson territory with a retelling of The Aeneid from the perspective of Prince Aeneas's personal oracle. Daughter of a slave taken as spoils after the sacking of Troy (called Wilusa here), Gull grows up in the Achaian (aka Greek) kingdom of Pylos. A crippling leg injury and visions of the future mark the six-year-old girl for service at the Shrine of the Lady of the Dead. At 17, her destiny is sealed when the remaining free people of Wilusa sail into port, led by the last of the royal line, Prince Aeneas. Prompted by her goddess, Gull, now known as Pythia, accepts a position as Sybil, priestess and seeress to the prince. As the Wilusans move across the seas in search of a new land to call their own, they face many hazards, including pursuit by Achilles' son Neoptolemos and the more subtle blandishments of the Egyptian Princess Basetamon, who plays the tragic role traditionally attributed to Carthage's Queen Dido, before reaching their goal and founding the city that will one day be known as Rome. The structure of this story isn't anything readers of feminist historical fantasy haven't seen before; in fact, it's so familiar that despite the perils studding the plotline, there's never any genuine dramatic tension. But although the novel lacks surprises, it compensates with sympathetic characters and emotional truth.A lyrically written, if pedestrian-plotted, addition to the canon. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Jo Graham
Jo Graham works in Washington, DC, where she is the executive director of a partisan non-profit organization. Since 1992 she has worked in politics in a variety of roles, including polling, campaign finance, and grassroots campaign organising. Black Ships is her debut novel.