This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



May 2005

Book: The King Must Die

imageAuthor: Mary Renault
Started: 3 Apr 2005
Finished: 9 May 2005
11 p/d

When I finished the book before this, I needed a fiction book to read next. My “book pile” of the books I am supposed to be reading in order has not yet been fully restored from the move from PA to FL, let alone the move to the new house in FL. So I had to go searching for a book to read. I rummaged through several of my book boxes that were accessible. I rejected a bunch of books that I remembered reading many years ago in high school or before. I wanted to read something new that I had not read before. After rejecting dozens of titles and making a general mess, I settled on this book. It did not particularly excite me, but I was tired of looking. I believe I had gotten it as a birthday present sometime in my teen or college years from some relative, but I could not be sure.

It is a novelization of the ancient Greek Theseus legends, written in the mode of a possible “real life” interpretation of events, eliminating the magical and mystical portions, except as reflected in the beliefs of the characters. It started very slow. I had to force my way through the entire first portion of the book, the section describing Theseus’s childhood in Troizen. Roughly the first 75 pages or so. But after that, as Theseus left home and started his adventures, it picked up quite a bit.

I started to get engaged in the adventures, and was starting to like the style of highlighting the ancient greek religious beliefs as actual religion, but without going Clash of the Titans style and being all about magic and legendary monsters and such. The minotaur for instance is not a magical beast, just a beastly human.

Anyway, from that point on, I enjoyed the actual adventures, liked the whole historical context of the thing, and enjoyed the detail and historical research that was obviously put into it to give it an “authentic” feel… well as close as could be expected. The section near the end in Naxos was a little weak again, and did not feel anywhere near as convincing as the sections in Eleusis and Crete.

But hey, it was OK. No masterpiece or anything, but kept me entertained for awhile, enough so that by the end I was taking it with me places, not just reading a few pages here and there when I remembered to. I finished it on the plane on the way to the west coast.

There is apperantly a sequel. This novel ended when Theseus returned to Athens from Crete. The rest of the Theseus legend is left for the next book. Guess I shall need to order it.

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