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Issue: Spring 2013

Cassandra (rerelease Nov 2013) book review

Living at the Whims of the Gods

In her Delphic Women series, Kerry Greenwood mines the rich stories of gods and heroes and priests and priestesses and prophets that is Greek mythology.

Cassandra is the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, a twin who shared prophetic visions with her brother. She lives in the fabled city of Troy and follows the ways of a people who worship Apollo, but who have driven the worship of Poseidon from their walls.

Book cover, Cassandra, Kerry Greenwood (Delphic Women series); 141x220

Cassandra (rerelease Nov 5 2013), Poisoned Pen Press, ISBN 9781464202056,

In an effort to save the ship and crew with whom she is travelling, Cassandra calls upon the help of Poseidon returning his worship to Troy. But Cassandra has angered Apollo and he curses her with even more vivid prophesies, but that she will not be able to speak her visions or be believed.

The Greek gods were not impartial beings sitting on high and watching, they took part in battles, they manipulated human events and in the case of Cassandra and the healer Chryse Diomenes, there is a bet going between Aphrodite and Apollo that has the gods taking sides.

The story of Helen (in this case Elene), stolen by a prince of Troy, whose abduction ultimately brings down the great city has been told many times. In this telling, Greenwood writes of gods and humans as gifted and fallible, trying to find their ways in the face of human and godly frailties.

The opening scenes in Olympus seem a little awkward, but it is worth making one's way through the machinations of the gods and the setup to reach the two stories -- Cassandra and Chryse, that ultimately come together on the battlefield of Troy.

Greenwood's work, be it set in Melbourne in the Jazz Age, or Greece in mythological times is carefully researched and portrays a realistic world where gods and humans coexist.

The sequel to this story is Electra, set after the fall of Troy.

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Ali Kayn
Search Festivale for more work by this author.

See also:

Featured Interview with Kerry Greenwood
Kerry Greenwood answers the Usual Questions
Whale Road book review
Phryne Fisher series page
Corinna Chapman series page
Delphic Women series page

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