Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Black Ships - Jo Graham

Black Ships
Jo Graham
Orbit Books
Copyright: 2008

Amazon.com Product Description:
The world is ending. One by one the mighty cities are falling, to earthquakes, to flood, to raiders on both land and sea.

In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle. Daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, chosen at the age of seven to be the voice of the Lady of the Dead, it is her destiny to counsel kings.

When nine black ships appear, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must decide between the life she has been destined for and the most perilous adventure -- to join the remnant of her mother's people in their desperate flight. 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.
This review is for a reread of Black Ships. I first read the book back in March, so not all that long ago, but I loved it as much this time as I did then. That first review can be found here.

The story is that of The Aeneid, though retold from the viewpoint of a woman named Gull - one of the Trojan slaves rescued at the beginning of their travels. Everything seems to fit historically, and those things changed, such as Carthage becoming Egypt make sense in the quest for historical accuracy.

Jo Graham has become one of my favorite authors, up there with Katherine Kurtz and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Every time I read or re-read one of her three books in this series, Black Ships, Stealing Fire and Hand of Isis, I notice new things. For example, the various flashes of the future and the past that tie the whole series together. Now I'm wondering who the Roman was, and I'm rather curious about the grave they found and reburied. Loved all the ties to Charmian and Hand of Isis.

Honestly, the moment that really sticks in my head from reading Black Ships was the time they spend on the island of Thera (now known as Santorini). It's so powerfully written.

Amusingly, this is a book I had to buy a second time. I know I have a hardcopy copy, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Black Ships became a book that I just had to read. Something about not being able to I think. So, I ended up buying a copy for my Kobo e-reader. Probably I'll end up doing the same thing for Hand of Isis eventually.

Jo Graham's books are worth it though. I really recommend them all.

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