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Love and Treachery in the Ancient World — Barbara Brunetti, who writes as Elena Douglas, spent the first seven years of her life in Paris, until her parents divorced and her mother remarried and immigrated to the United States. The newly blended family lived in New England. During a summer spent in an isolated cabin in the White Mountains, her mother read her a child’s version of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Thus began a lifelong fascination with the legends of ancient Greece.
Barbara’s birth parents spent years in a virulent custody battle waged across two continents. During those turbulent years, Barbara made up stories and poems and learned that she wanted to be a writer. When she was a teen, the family moved to California. She attended U.C. Berkeley, married, had a family, and enjoyed a long career teaching middle school English.
She left teaching to pursue her passion for writing. She has written a memoir and three novels based on ancient history and legend. Shadow of Athena is her first published novel.
Shadow of Athena
In a cruel, centuries-old tradition, lovely sixteen-year-old Marpessa of Lokris is chosen by lot to serve as a slave for one year in distant Troy, across the Aegean Sea. She can return, but only if she survives. Marpessa leaves behind her devoted mother, and also a ruthless oligarch, Klonios, who vows to have her as his wife upon her return. The young slave Arion is sent to escort the maiden on her treacherous journey. After delivering her safely, he escapes slavery to eke out a living on the Trojan shore, until barbarians raid Troy. Captivated by the girl from the sea journey, Arion rushes to save her. The two find themselves marooned in a rough, unforgiving land teeming with dangers. Struggling to survive, they yield to a forbidden love. Marpessa longs to remain with her beloved, but Arion knows he must give her up. When they lose everything in a deadly flash flood, he must return her safely home, despite the price on his head as a runaway slave and the evil Klonios who lurks in wait. By the time they reach Lokris, Marpessa is with child. Enraged, Klonios orders their deaths, but Arion will stop at nothing to save Marpessa’s life. Even at the cost of his own.
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