Hock Tjoa's Reviews > The Thinara King

The Thinara King by Rebecca Lochlann
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's review
May 30, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2012

This is an enthralling read. I was torn between wanting to know what happens next and not wanting the story to end. This book is second in the ominously titled “The Child of the Erinyes Series.” Minoan Crete is brought to life with a matriarchal society, open to trade throughout the Mediterranean especially its Greek neighbors; open alas, also to potential invasion. Its life is centered on worship of the Goddess, aided by a seer (given the title “Minos”), who has youthful and red-haired good looks sufficient to inflame the lust of the invaders. Society is entertained from time to time by the spectacle of “bull leaping” the Cercle du soleil of its time. And once a year, the Queen’s consort is dispatched to Hesperia by the winner of The Games. This book is written as fantasy, with many dreams and trances and visits to Hesperia; part of its charm is the difficulty of telling what “reality” means.

Unfortunately, the author has injected not only well-known elements of Greek mythology, but even a date when a volcanic eruption on Thera/Santorini caused great destruction in the Mediterranean. The story, however, asserts that great havoc was wreaked on Crete because the heroine had offended the Goddess. Injecting the event as fact (the author provides a note and refers to a bibliography) wrenches the fantasy world that the author has powerfully conjured. To date this event as happening in 1622 (or 1628) “BCE” is to invite into the narrative the poisonous distraction of political correctness. The date itself is confusing: was the heroine ten in 1628 and sixteen in 1622 (which is how BC dates work) or vice versa.

Further, to refer to Lady (Mistress/Potnia) Athena as showing favor to Crete by sending her daughter “to lead us here from our homeland” is needlessly jarring. Athena(e) is indelibly in our minds a goddess in Greek mythology whose most iconic association apart from the city of Athens itself is the PARTHENON, the temple of the Virgin.

There are more nits one could pick: the author is unclear how different the Cretans are from the Greeks, while in Greek myth they were the same and in historical fact they were entirely different. Idomeneus is the name the author has given to the king of Mycenae but to Homer (and Mozart) he was the Greek king of Crete.

None of these nits derails the reader and that is testimony to the power of the author’s imagination and writing. I personally wished that she had abandoned any scrap of reference to Greek mythology (let alone to geological fact) and created as she could and should have, a world her own such as Ursula Leguin did with Earthsea.
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