Dark of the Moon, by Tracy Barrett, for Waiting on Wednesday

I've enjoyed both of the two books by Tracy Barrett I've read--On Etruscan Time (my review) and King of Ithaka (my review). So when I found out that she has a forthcoming book that is a retelling of one of my favorite stories from Greek mythology, Theseus and the Minotaur, I instantly added it to my tbr list!

Dark of the Moon (coming from Harcourt September 20th, 2011)

The blurb at Amazon: "Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety. So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more. Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . . "

The School Library Journal review: "Ariadne is the daughter of She-Who-Is-Goddess, high priestess of the Moon worshippers on Krete and the most powerful woman in the country. Someday she will follow in her mother’s footsteps, but until she does, she is simply a lonely teenager, feared by even the people she played with as a child. When she hears of a ship arriving from Athens, she sneaks out to the docks to see the new arrivals. Among them are Theseus and Prokris, sent as tributes from the king of Athens. Ariadne hopes that these newcomers will be her friends, but they are already working on a plan to overthrow the government of Krete. Sweet, shy Ariadne becomes an unwitting part of their intrigue, as does her handicapped brother, Asterion, whom many view as a monster. This retelling of the myth of the Minotaur is deft, dark, and enthralling. Barrett spares readers none of the gore and violence of the Kretan goddess-worship, which involves both human and animal sacrifice. Ariadne’s beliefs, though alien to modern readers, are given sufficient context to make them comprehensible. Though Ariadne and Theseus do not share the deathless romance readers might expect from the original myth, their hesitant relationship has a charm of its own. This thoughtful, well-written reimagining of a classic myth is a welcome addition to the genre."

(um, I don't think this reviewer actually remembers how this myth ends--with Theseus sailing home alone after Dionysus claims Ariadne for himself on the island of Naxos. Not what I'd call "deathless romance....")

The only think that I'm a little anxious about is is that one of my favorite books ever is also a Theseus retelling--The King Must Die, by Mary Renault. So I'm going to have to firmly stick my memories of that one back far away in a dark closet of the mind, so that I'm not distracted by comparisons.

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted weekly by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


  1. Looks interesting! I agree, though, about The King Must Die having possibly spoiled me for all other Theseus retellings. I love that book. I thought it was wonderful how Mary Renault came up with these events that made all the aspects of the myth seem viable -- especially the reason she gave for Theseus's leaving Ariadne on the island.

  2. I am eager to read this one myself.
    And I haven't read The King Must Die, apparently I need to. But after I read this.

  3. hey charlotte! looks really good. i haven't heard of it before but i'm definitely going to look it up.

    check out my WoW this week.


  4. Yes, Brandy, you should read The King Must Die...in large part for the reason Jenny said.

    and thanks, Kailana and Michelle, for stopping by!

  5. I picked up an ARC of this at ALA! Can't wait to get to it!!

    Check mine out! Sash's WoW


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