Sara Douglass is the author of three bestselling fantasy trilogies, as well as stand-alone novels and historical non-fiction. She was also a lecturer in medieval history at Bendigo University, and brings to her novels a level of detail that makes them not only intriguing, but oddly convincing. Hades’ Daughter is the first book in her new four-book series which spans millennia and promises to be as complex as the labyrinths at its heart.
The Troy Game tells the story of a contest between deities and mortals. In the game, cities are protected by magical mazes, from the Great Founding Labyrinth of Crete to the London Underground. Solve the maze, and the city falls; destroy the Game, and release the evil that the mazes have entrapped.
Douglass does a wonderful job of juggling cultures and centuries. Her detailed descriptions of ancient Mediterranean and British mythologies and lifestyle are evocative and convincing, as are the glimpses she gives of 1930s London. Her system of magic—the rituals required and its use as a political tool—is one of the most interesting I’ve read in a fantasy novel (and it manages to explain hopscotch and London Transport). The beginning grabs me instantly, the plotting is intricate and fast-moving, and I was a third of the way through the book before I realised that I didn’t like any of the characters.
If you like Macchiavellian and labyrinthine plots, with lots of seduction and betrayal, set in an exquisitely crafted fantasy world—and you’re prepared to spend a few hours in the company of vicious egomaniacs—this is a great book. Just watch your back while you read it.
©2003 Stephen Dedman / Eidolon. To read the full review on the Eidolon.net website please click on this link.