Sunday, September 28, 2008

BLACK SHIPS - Midway Point

I'm actually a bit past the midway point, and I had to pry myself away from this novel in order to write this post. I have not enjoyed a novel so much in a very long time. BLACK SHIPS has not only made me forget that I'm reading it in order to review it, but I'm forgetting I am supposed to be reviewing it as I read it. And when I got to the midway point--when I was supposed to stop and write, I kept on reading.

I only have one gripe so far, but it has nothing to do with the writing, or the story, but rather, the setting. Since it may resolve itself before the end of the story, I'll hold off on mentioning it right now.

Jo Graham has woven a marvelous tale. It reads as if this is her tenth or twelfth novel, rather than her first. It is more like historical fiction than fantasy, with a great deal of character development. This doesn't mean that the novel doesn't have fantasy elements. The main character, who started out as Gull, but became Pythia when she became an Oracle, makes predictions of the future and occasionally becomes the avatar for the Lady of Death, whom she serves. She also had a meeting with a god. Her native people call her Sybil, which is the name that the Romans had for their oracle.

There is a bad guy--a blood enemy--named Neoptolemos who, like the best of villains, keeps turning up, even halfway around the world. Neoptolemos, son of Achilles, seems born to plunder and conquer. He is shaping up quite nicely as a villain. And he may even now have a potential traitor in his enemy camp, under Gull's very nose.

Now, to get back to reading!


Tia Nevitt said...

Ok, this author thought of everything for this novel. There was one thing that I thought would be conspicuous in its absence (namely, the Jews in Egypt), but she went and provided for it at the point where I no longer expected it. And it was great!

And a love triangle where a man and woman are both in love with the same man is turning out to be a very intresting plot twist. And, may I add, very realistic for the timeframe.

Highly readable, and so far, highly recommended.

Dave-Brendon de Burgh said...

I loved this novel, too, and it was great getting into the bits & pieces of it with Jo in the interview. :-) It's a beautiful, wonderful novel! Cannot wait for the next book! :-)

Daya said...

I really enjoyed Black Ships, Jo's writing is so beautiful! I can't wait for the Hand of Isis and Stealing Fire, also historically based.

Tia Nevitt said...

I'm hoping to get my part 3 review up this evening. Still loving it!