My story would not be one of death and suffering and sacrifice, I would take my place in the songs that would be sung about Theseus; the princess who saved him and ended the monstrosity that blighted Crete’
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.
A truly spellbinding, epic story taking readers on an unforgettable journey. Perfect for fans of Circe, A Thousand Ships and The Silence of the Girls.
Did Ariadne save a hero or did she really save herself was a question Saint asked of us from the early pages of the novel.
Saint portrayed a spirited naive young woman destined to marry a man of her fathers choosing but from the moment she first set eyes on Theseus we knew life was about to change for Ariadne. And oh how it changed, not just for Ariadne but her younger sister Phaedra.
And there lay the crux of Saints novel, two women who in spite of what men threw at them somehow managed to thrive, to butt against the norm.
Ariadne, bedazzled by a man’s heroics, his good looks that hid an ambition to be the greatest no matter what the cost. Yet in adversity Saint gave her determination, a strength and indeed a graceful poise and stature. Yes she had flaws, tucked away in her own enclosed world as she chose to ignore what happened in the wider surroundings until life forced her to venture out. The consequences were not what I was expecting yet it somehow felt a right and fitting trajectory for Saint to choose.
Phaedra, the younger sister, was more stoic, hugely aware of her capacity to subversively change things. She accepted her lot but found ways to exert authority and power, to steer men to her will. Again Saint led her down a path that would be her ultimate undoing, as she paid the greatest sacrifice, over confident and a self belief that no man would turn her away, would say no.
Swirling around those two wonderful women Saint gave us a plethora of Greek gods, of myths and legends we all know about but which Saint brought to life in her wonderfully colourful narrative. We read as Icarus flew too close the son, of Poseidon and Hades their tales blended beautifully into the Ariadne’s and Phaedra’s story.
The bustling island of Crete, the magnificent city of Athens butted against the peace and solitude of the small island of Naxos. Polar opposites, much like the two cities, each sister a product of the location they resided. When finally together the sisters clashed but deep down a strong bond and love remained, each desperate to save the other, the consequences a damning indictment of man’s strong hold and self belief, of women as mere pawns in their pursuit of power and glory.
Ariadne was a fascinating, dazzling and mesmerising tale of Greek gods, myths and legends but more importantly of two women, their plight, and their strength. Putting aside its moral and undertones it was a novel to enjoy and savour.
I would to thank Maclehose for a copy of Ariadne to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. ARIADNE is her first novel and she is working on another retelling of ancient myth for her second.