Halosydne – ‘the girl who was fed by the sea’ – or Halo for short is the name given to a mysterious human baby with a strange tattoo on her forehead, by the Centaurs who find her washed up like a turtle on the shores of ancient Zakynthos. Halo is fortunate flotsam indeed. For one who has no knowledge of who she really is or where she comes from, her childhood with the wise and gentle Centaur family who adopt her is an idyllic one, full of sunshine and stories. That is until the fateful day when her kidnap by fishermen forces Halo to disguise herself as a boy and embark on an epic and often perilous odyssey across ancient Greece, that will ultimately bring to light her real home and origins.
Halo is the latest book from mother-and-daughter team Louisa Young and Isabel Adomakoh Young, authors of the ‘Lionboy’ trilogy and Lee Raven, Boy Thief. Halo is an attractively feisty heroine whose quest introduces us to many of the diverse peoples of Ancient Greece: the belligerent Spartans; the cultured and fun-loving Athenians; the downtrodden Helots and most intriguing of all perhaps, the inscrutable Skythians. Heroically researched, Halo is full of rich and fascinating detail about the ancient world, from the lives of Spartan boy soldiers and the battle techniques they must master, to ancient surgical procedures, and the offerings required to please the pantheon of gods and goddesses which presides over it all. The mystery of Halo’s real identity will keep readers guessing until the very end, and it’s a revelation well worth waiting for.
This is an enthralling story which kept me sustained throughout a marathon cross-country journey of my own in the form of a snow-prolonged train journey. Any book that can do that has got to be worth its weight in gold. Or should that perhaps be salt?