I have received a free e-copy of the book Songs of Princes by Janell Rhiannon to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.
Here is the book blurb.
Sing Muse. Sing of the shining citadel of Troy rising from the hot sands of Asia. Sing of the Greek palaces ascending from their rocky hilltops. Sing of one woman’s dream heralding the madness of men and the murder of innocents. From bull dancing rings and wild meadows, the Forgotten Prince must choose between love and a golden crown. From seclusion and safety, the Golden Warrior must choose between his honor and his life. From behind the Great Wall, the Golden Prince must choose between his family and his city. And from a rugged realm on the far side of Greece, the Warrior King must choose between his son’s life and certain exile. Here shepherds and princes, warriors and kings, and seers and lovers seek to conquer their passions, outwit destiny or surrender to it.
PARIS, the FORGOTTEN PRINCE. ACHILLES, the GOLDEN WARRIOR. HEKTOR, the GOLDEN PRINCE. ODYSSEUS, the WARRIOR KING.
Where did their legends begin before their lives converged at Troy in one of the most famous battles of all time? The HOMERIC CHRONICLES tell the stories of Paris, Achilles, Hektor, and Odysseus in one chronological tale, beginning before the ILIAD and ending long after the ODYSSEY. Blending both history and myth, the Homeric Chronicles will satisfy your love of Greek mythology, while paying homage to the original storyteller, Homer.
SONGS OF PRINCES begins with the birth of Paris and Achilles, and introduces us to a young Hektor and Odysseus. The journey of the princes begins…
Fall in love with Greek mythology for the first time or all over again.
Although I occasionally read historical fiction, it is usually only a few hundred years ago, so this is an era I don’t know much about at all, mainly what I learned long ago at school or from watching fictional programmes like Atlantis. So I was very interested to see how this novel would portray Greek mythology.
This is book 1 in the Homeric Chronicles. It starts by introducing the gods followed by a timeline for the heroes and heroines of The Iliad and Odyssey from 1295 BC to 1251 BC. Some of the character names were familiar to me.
The story itself begins in Troy with a bad dream for Queen Hecuba. The seer foretells that that her unborn son heralds the destruction of Troy and that the prince should be killed. When the child is born, King Priam reluctantly hands his son to herdsman Agelaus to expose him on the mountain. He has to obey but prays to goddess Artemis to save the child, who converts to bear form and suckles the infant for 9 days, before Agelaus returns and finds the babe alive and well. He takes him home, keeping his parentage secret and naming him Paris, where the boy grows up looking after the sacred bulls. Years later as a bull dancer, it is finally discovered that he is The Forgotten Prince.
We are also introduced to Achilles as a baby, son of Thetis and Peleus. Similarly his future is foretold which is either to refuse to go to battle and rule after his father but die forgotten without glory. Or choose battle, die early but become the greatest warrior the world has ever known. Achilles grows up training to run like the wind with with Chiron the centaur. His mother, Thetis returns suggesting Achilles should be sent to Skyros in order to avoid battle.
Meanwhile Theseus kidnaps beautiful Helen of Sparta and hides her with his mother Aethra. Helen’s brothers Pollux and Castor find her and seize her back. Her father Tyndareus decides she must wed, but to whom. A throng of suitors descend on Sparta but her father secretly insists Helen must choose Menelaus. Then he makes all the other suitors take an oath to serve her chosen husband with military aid if she is ever abducted again.
Then King Priam sends Paris to Salamis to bring back his aunt Hesione to Troy. Enroute he stops to gift horses to Menelaus. Paris knows it is also time to claim goddess Aphrodite’s gift from many years ago of the most beautiful woman. It cannot be avoided. Aphrodite’s voice is speaking in his head. He forgets his own wife Oenone and takes Helen willingly back to Troy.
Menelaus invokes the oath and a thousand ships set sail for Troy. Odysseus goes via Skyros and finds Achilles who chooses glory and joins them.
However the book does end very abruptly with a To Be Continued banner across the bottom of the page, when Princess Iphigenia is slaughtered because the goddess Artemis demanded her sacrifice to raise the winds for the ships to sail to Troy. Although I knew it was book 1 in a trilogy, i wasn’t expecting it to just end on a cliffhanger.
Songs of Princes is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.16 in paperback or 99p in Kindle format. Certainly worth a read, although I did keep getting myself confused over character names and between gods, mortals and nymphs, often having to retrace to something I had read earlier.
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.