Sara Douglass

"Hades' Daughter: Book One of the Troy Game"

(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer MAR 31, 2003)

"Cornelia was born and raised and fed by the evil that crawled out of Hades' Underworld down the river to Mesopotama," Membricus said. "She is Hades' daughter, not Pandrasus', even though he might have given her flesh. Thank the gods we have to endure only a few more months of her." He paused. "For otherwise, my friend, if she continued to draw breath, then I think --I know -- she has the power to destroy your entire world."

Hades' Daughter by Sara Douglass

These words were spoken by a seer whose thoughts are warped by jealousy, yet who is not completely wrong in his observations. Cornelia is not an evil person, but a fifteen-year-old girl driven to foolishness. Brutus, a seasoned warrior who wears the kingship bands of the long lost city of Troy, is directed by Artemis to the rich lands of Mesopotama, where he demands that his fellow Trojans, now slaves to the Dorian Greeks who rule there, be freed. The king, Pandrasus, refuses, and the price he pays is steeped in blood and tragedy. Cornelia, his daughter and heir, raised to be in complete control of all situations, can not help but hate Brutus, who takes her as wife and forces himself upon her. She is soon pregnant, and more resentful of the man than ever. Eventually they attempt a peace between themselves, for they are heading to a new world to build a new Troy, but how can there be peace when there is so much between them, so many words said...and a beautiful woman of power who will stop at nothing to get what she wants?

You see, there is a greater plot afoot than all of this. It starts with Araidne, the most powerful Mistress of the Labyrinth. Under every important city there is a labyrinth, and that labyrinth is part of the great Game, which protects the people and their city while giving the gods power. In a deal with her brother Asterion, a being of incredible evil, she destroys all the labyrinths...save one. She promises to destroy the game with her mouth, while laying the groundwork for its rebirth in her thoughts. Years later, the groundwork has been built upon enough so that Genvissa, a woman of cunning and great power, begins to bring the game back to life -- she as the mistress of the labyrinth, Brutus as her Kingman and lover. She goes to him as Artemis and directs his actions, while the goddess of the land she wishes to rule hides herself in Cornelia.

It is a triangle on many levels, one of love, for Brutus does not realize his incredible anger towards Cornelia is jealousy stemming from unacknowledged love ...Cornelia, who realizes that she may never win back Brutus now that she has chased him from her, and Genvissa, who wants Brutus for the power he can help her achieve. It is also a triangle of opposing forces, embodied by these three players, Mag, who makes a deal with Asterion and is determined to use Cornelia to keep Genvissa from success, (and Cornelia, willing because she wants to protect her husband, as she realizes there is something sinister going on) Brutus, who is the human side of the triangle, trying to make a better world for his people, dreaming of being a true king, and Genvissa, who wants to fulfill the promise of power given her.

In this book we see how the game is reborn, and how these forces will once again come together in one of the darkest times in history -- World War II. Every once in awhile we visit that time, as Jack Skelton meets with members of the cast from the beginning, determined to keep the last of the king bands from Asterion, and still, hopelessly, searching for the woman he loved. In some ways Douglass tells a complete tale...I would say the Greek era part of the story is finished, while creating a sub story that leaves the reader desiring more, leading us to the next book in the series. By employing this form of dual story, she manages to lay a lot of ground work while hinting why it is all going to be important later, letting us know that the investments of time that we make now will all come into play again, not just for the pages of this volume.

In an interview, Douglass mentions that the Troy game is something that she's read about in different periods in history. The idea of the existence of a real Troy Game makes this even more intriguing of a concept. She sells me on the book's concepts completely, combining rich historical possibility with facts, creating not only a plausible and beautiful ancient world, but also making an excellent argument for the indelible connection that past events have on history as a whole.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 41 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Hades' Daughter at author site



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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Wayfarer Redemption:

The Crucible Trilogy:

The Troy Game

 

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Book Marks:

 

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About the Author:

Sara DouglassSara Douglass is the pseudonym of Sara Warneke, who was born in 1957 in Penola, South Australia. Sara worked as a nurse for several years and completed three degrees, culminating in a PhD in early modern European history. She now teaches both medieval and early-modern history at the University of Bendigo. Her first fantasy adventures, The Axis Trilogy, had an overwhelming response from booksellers, readers and critics (StarMan won the 1996 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel) and she has now established herself as one of the most popular fantasy writers in Australia.

She resides in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

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