The King Must Die

The King Must Die

Book - 1986
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In this ambitious, ingenious narrative, celebrated historical novelist Mary Renault take legendary hero Theseus and spins his myth into a fast-paced and exciting story.

Renault starts with Theseus' early years, showing how the mystery of his father's identity and his small stature breed the insecurities that spur his youthful hijinx. As he moves on to Eleusis, Athens, and Crete, his playfulness and fondness for pranks matures into the courage to attempt singular heroic feats, the gallantry and leadership he was known for on the battlefield, and the bold-hearted ingenuity he shows in navigating the labyrinth and slaying the Minotaur. In what is perhaps the most inventive of all her novels of Ancient Greece, Renault casts Theseus in a surprisingly original pose; she teases the flawed human out of the bronze hero, and draws the plausible out of the fantastic.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, a division of Random House, ©1986
ISBN: 9780394751047
Branch Call Number: RENAULT
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 21 cm


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Nov 07, 2017

I re-read this book and it's sequel, The Bull from the Sea, every few years because I love the way Renault brings this lusty, flawed character from the Greek myths to life. Her narrative follows the minotaur slayer, Theseus, from his childhood in the Peleponnese to his escape from Crete, and gives a thoroughly absorbing and plausible account of his time as a tribute and 'bull-dancer' in the palace of Knossos, the seduction and abandonment of Ariadne, and his bittersweet return to his father's kingdom. Vivid descriptive passages bring the Greek and Minoan cultures to life and entrench the story firmly in the reader's memory.​

SB2000 Jun 02, 2011

This is one of the best books of its genre - the author manages to take th elegend and meld it with scholarship to provide a story that makes you fee, at every turn, "yes, this must have been what it was like!".

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