We are in the world of Ancient Greece, in a time before written history but after the age of the myths. However, ancient mythical creatures still stalk the world, the gods hover just out of sight and an ancient evil has woken and threatens earth. It is up to the children of heroes to step forward. In Italy, Silvius, son of Aeneas, the prince of Troy and founder of Rome; Elissa, a daughter of Carthage; and in Mykenai, Tisaminos, son of the fabled Orestes, find themselves caught up in the quest to unite the broken Arrow of Apollo but also break the curse laid on Orestes’ family, a curse that has led to an unending round of revenge. However, Silvius is a Trojan, Tisamenos, Achaean – the people who destroyed Troy. Can they be friends and allies? The burden is on these young people to heal the past.
Womack is a classicist so his grasp of the intricacies of Greek mythology is sure. Here he weaves the complexities of family relationships, the dark deeds that arise from jealousy, passion and revenge – and the consequences with assurance. He is not retelling the myths, already well known, he is carrying them forward, creating a group of very believable characters in so doing. The result is an exciting, immersive and engaging story that carries its learning lightly, sweeping the reader across the Mediterranean from Italy to Greece meeting a centaur, nymphs, even a Fury on the way to finally face the Python itself. But as with all good myths, it does not end there – with luck we will meet these intrepid teens again – their quest continues.
Though this is a novel to appeal to KS3 readers Womack’s uncluttered contemporary style – no anachronisms here – make it ideal for confident KS2 readers whether they have met the mythological world of the Greeks and Romans or not. Excellent.