Shadow of Athena

I have reviewed Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas for Reader’s Favorite.

Book cover of Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas

Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is an engaging historic fiction that revolves around a baffling custom. To appease the goddess, two girls were sent to Athena’s temple at Troy every year. For this duration, these maidens lived in servitude in the temple. Ultimately, they returned to Lokris with the vow of sanctity for the rest of their lives. Marpessa was a high-spirited courageous sixteen years old daughter of a vintner. Even so, when the high priestess called upon her name in the ceremony, they did not have a choice but to succumb to the will of Athena.

“Do you promise never to go out into the courtyard again?”

Marpessa managed a nod before realizing her meaning. Gasping, she said, “For going into the courtyard — I was flogged?”

“You’re here to atone for the sin of Ajax, not to take idle pleasure outside,” the priestess said severely.

An excerpt from Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas

Since the journey from Lokris to Troy was quite dangerous, Marpessa’s hard-hearted father reluctantly spared one of his slaves, Arion, to accompany the girls. Arion grabbed this opportunity with the desire of running away from the life of a slave. However, destiny had something extraordinary planned for Arion and Marpessa. When barbarians raided the temple of Troy, Marpessa and the slave found themselves bound to each other.

Once a year in spring, the Hundred House of Lokris gathered in the agora with their marriageable daughters for the dreaded ceremony of the Choosing. Anguished mothers and even a few fathers clutched their girls by the arms, knowing that regardless of the tightest hold, the most loving embrace, the blind hand of Athena would pluck two maidens from their midst like fledglings from a nest.

An excerpt from Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas

Marpessa is the wonder woman that we have all been waiting for. Way ahead of her time, she is courageous, romantic, and free-spirited. Although she understands the norms of her world, she is torn between her desire to be with Arion and endanger his life or leave him behind and be heartbroken. Instead of hiding behind Arion, she believes in walking alongside him. Elena Douglas has narrated the conflicting emotions of the characters wonderfully. Their thoughts and emotions could not have been better described. The intrigue and twists never end in this gripping tale of bizarre beliefs, human values, struggle, hope, and survival. Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas would not only wow the readers but also fill them with fortitude.

He already knew what danger lay ahead for the girls from the armed men of Troy, and Gortys had supplied even more details. “They hunt them, and if they kill a girl, they drag the corpse off and burn it on unfruitful wood upon the shore,” Gortys had told him.

What a strange, barbaric custom, Arion thought. “Why unfruitful wood?” he asked.

Gortys shrugged. “It’s all demanded by the ritual. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve seen many girls killed in spite of all we could do.”

An excerpt from Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. What a nice fiction it is. Thanks for the awesome reviews.

    1. Yeah! The story is really a page-turner. I love reading historic-fiction, and the wonderful storytelling of Shadow of Athena really transported me to that time.

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