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ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE & WAR
By Alicia Fields
Historical paranormal romance
Although this is classified as a historical romance, there is little romance in it. This is a continuation of Ms. Fields's "Goddess" series and is Athena's tale. Those of you who remember your mythology know that Athena was unmarried and unpaired. Nevertheless, ALL'S FAIR is a gripping, magical story in its own right.
Athena is the only daughter of King Kosmetas and his wife, Metis. Metis is injured during her delivery and unable to bear another child. This endangers the succession of his kingdom of Attica. There is already tension between the original people, the Pelasgians, and their conquerors, the Achaeans. The marriage between Kosmetas and Metis symbolically united the kingdom. But the Acheans believe in male succession and the Pelasgians female. If the Acheans have their way, Kosmetas will be succeeded by his brother Poseidon.
Poseidon is a poor choice for king. He is interested in chasing women and hunting. He does not hesitate to use his position as the king's brother to force poorer Acheans and any Pelasgian to give him what he wants, whether it be a "present" or the virtue of a daughter. Athena comes to hate him. She is studious and early in her girlhood finds a baby owl which she trains to sit on her shoulder.
When she and her two best friends are 14, the age of marriage for girls in that society, they have a last picnic alone. Unfortunately, it leads to the death of one of the friends. Athena is certain that she is responsible for the girl's fall and cannot be consoled. She takes her dead friend's cloak and begins to make it a memorial to her.
The story contains possible, very believeable origins for the legends of the god Poseidon, the competition between Athena and Arachne and the story of Jason and Medusa. It also gives an excellent basis for the legend that Athena brought the olive and potter's wheel to Greece.
Ms. Fields does a superb job of giving life and vitality to the stories ancient Greeks told about their gods. Her characterization seems effortless and the people are all too believeable in personality and action. She is a creditable successor to Homer in the stories of the goddesses and I look forward to her next novel.
-- Reviewed by Steven Lopata
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