Top positive review
Superb visioning of an archaic spirituality, complex women and men
28 June 2019
Anyone who knows what it means to live in the Pagan world view (Western Paganism, shamanism, Zen, Buddhism etc) will delight in this mature exploration of it both good and bad. The personal relationships are at times truly poignant. I found no fault in the historical accuracy, as far as our knowledge goes. The creative interpretations of Homer and other legendary material is given with a sure touch.
It would be so easy to make the priestess queen and her kindred over idealised as Pagan devotees of mother earth, ancestral values. Many sentimental stories, novels do that. It is avoided here because it is made clear how the tenderness of a conserving, earth centred code is also rigid with hierarchy and elaborate, endless ceremonials. The class that performs them is not critiqued for its theft of produce (wealth) from the people, which is the only weakness of the book, but it is implicitly there if you already know that analysis.
Women and men are balanced in a thoughtful way, without silly stereotypes either conservative or debased feminist. This is grown up gender.
The language is exquisitely well crafted, betraying the writer's many, many edits to sweat out the poetic gift of flow we receive, and the emotional process that bridges that different world and ours.
If you love to lose yourself in another kind of society, an old one, with its own truths, set in a world we only half know (no, one tenth know) then join this dream and enjoy it.