A stand-alone historical fantasy book.

Publication year: 2008
Format: print
Page count: 220
Publisher: TOR

Polyxena is the sister of the queen of Epiros. She has been trained as one of the three priestesses of the Mother but she feels like she’s meant for other things, greater things. Now that her sexuality starts to bloom, she wants a king as her husband. But instead she’s offered a choice among meek men who don’t excite her.

Her aunt Nikandra is also a priestess. When Polyxena was born, there were strong omens that she would bring down the worship of the Mother and make the misogynistic males and their gods the rulers of the world. Nikandra doesn’t want that to happen and she’s determined to keep Polyxena ignorant of her own magical powers and tie her to a man who will keep her from her destiny.

But Polyxena’s destiny leads her forward, to Samothrace where she will participate in the Mysteries and meet the man who is her destiny: the king of Macedon, Philip.

This book has more magical elements than the previous Tarr books I’ve read. It has the Thessalonian witches and priestesses of Mother who have real powers to influence people’s minds but also to fly. The Greek gods aren’t really mentioned at all, just the Mother and the gods whom the males worship.

Sadly, for me the use of magic made the world feel more a generic fantasy world rather than the Ancient Greece it was supposed to be. Polyxena is a very headstrong girl but so is her aunt. They’re both very human and make mistakes along the way.

Polyxena changes her name when she learns something important about herself. Nikandra’s name is also her title so that changes as well.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t as good as the previous books I’ve read from Tarr but it was enjoyable enough.