Rarely have I come across a book trilogy that I love so much. I love ancient greek myths and the Bronze Age because it was the time many of the myths and legends were happening. But what sets this series apart from all the others is that the power of the gods is complicated and the way it presents itself is ambiguous even if you know the myths. You can be as prepared as you like, but you will always be surprised.
Because the setting is actually in the Bronze Age the feel of reading is like getting first hand experience that world. When most myths are told they have the feel of the Classical period when many of those in the Pantheon were established and the aesthetic and the knowledge of that time is far greater than we have of the somewhat mysterious Bronze Age. The world in the books is ever more expanding, from traders to seafarers to distant lands and makes the world so much bigger and greater than previously thought of.
(On the left is Bronze Age/Mycenaean/ Ancient Cretan clothing and on the right is Classical Greek)
The writing is also wonderful, descriptive and evocative of everything of the world and the will of the gods. You can clearly see that Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood – the writers of these fantastic books and others – immersed themselves in the Bronze Age and did actual research for it. I can only wish to do the same myself at some point, to actually go to the places where the myths were made and where history of them is written in stone, literally.
Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood have a website for their books, filled with information and what is new, and here is the link to it: www.tapestryofbronze.com
And before I get to the books I recommend buying them (of course). They can be found on Amazon with both Kindle and Paperback, though in this case I can only recommend the Paperback since I have them in that form, but its so satisfying to have them in that form where you see the work put in to it by these authors who published the work themselves (and Alice designed the covers of these as well) and I want them to have the money, because this series is just that good.
Niobe and Pelops: Children of Tantalus
In Lydia Princess Niobe’s marriage prospects fall with ill omens coming her way and with her brother Pelop’s arrival from the Hittite Court. Because of their parents plans for them both, the two flee to Athens for safety and the two start a journey to make themselves a home and establish themselves in this strange grecian society.
The tweaks to the myth of Niobe is established early on, making it grounded with reality as you read with bated breath what is to happen next. You experience Athens and the other cities through both of their eyes and there is plenty of foreshadowing to go around if you know the myths.
Niobe and Amphion: The Road to Thebes
King Pelops of Pisa is going to have games held in his city to praise the gods. Niobe, now years later, has not found a husband because her heart belongs to one she can never hope to marry. Amphion is a musician from Thebes whose talent woos the crowd and wins him more than he can hope for. Secrets are revealed, justice prevails
This the thickest of the trilogy, going for over 500 pages, but the size is no hinder. Once you start reading you cannot stop. There are so many moving parts and each are handled smartly and with precision according to the characters. The love story between Niobe and Amphion is one that is truly admirable, inside the book and outside of it. You see the double standards of the society more in this because they are put on purpose to the front and it doesn’t seem contrived or anything like that. Just a well made book all in all.
Niobe and Chloris: Arrows of Artemis
Chloris, the Princess of Thebes and the only daughter of Niobe and Amphion decides to join the Maidens of Artemis. Niobe in the meanwhile sees her own power, as a foreign Queen, challenged with her sister-in-law Thebe’s actions. King Pelops grows ever more power hungry, but at a cost. The Tirerias comes once again, this time to fulfil the prophesies which were spoken to so long ago.
I fear anything I could say about this third book is a spoiler. Even though I knew what was coming and I knew the myths (Wikipedia, basically) it still shocked me in the end. I started to cry and the shock of it was so great that took an hour, maybe more, just to collect myself and then decided to pick up another book to get my mind off the sadness.
I am glad I read them from beginning to end and in order, because you would otherwise have late revelations, but with reading them one-by-one the stories scope and the relationships are clearer and after spending so much time with these people – yes, they aren’t characters anymore – you just want to see them happy or at least have a satisfying end. Because in the end this is a tragedy in three acts – made in to books – and the greeks and the myths and the society is not kind to those who cannot survive in that world.
If there was one minor flaw in the book it would be the lack of Chloris, one of the my own personal favourite characters from mythology, having so little page time even though she is the second name in the third book. But I understand that they had to work in time jumps, because there are plenty, this covers numerous years, and all the plot points – brilliantly done – had to be in place realistically I understand the focus on those we already know than those whom we have just met. Just my own personal thing, nothing major.
All in all, as the final words to these books I recommend once again that you buy them. Self published books are rarely this good and such good storytelling and plotting and character growth that I wish more people knew of it. I guess this is that kind of series that those who seek this kind of literature find it and love it. But really. support these women and their writing, because these are the kind of books that should be made in to movies or TV-series’ and would be brilliant in that format as well. Just crossing my fingers in hope for some adaptation of these in the future if some producer decides to take a chance on this trilogy, or any of the Tapestry of Bronze-series books.
Thank you for reading!
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