THE SWORD IS FORGED by Evangeline Walton

THE SWORD IS FORGED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An earnest, hard-working, but spindly reconstruction of the Greek myth concerning Theseus' capture of his bride: Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons. At first, however, the Queen is just plain Antiope--last royal Amazon daughter, raised and coached by her Aunt Molpadia, War Queen and Deathsinger, while happy Amazon life bubbles about. (Quaffing wine from enemy skulls, charging along on handsome horses, giving away any baby sons to their Hittite allies.) Then, during the visit of Heraldes, Antiope cleaves her first man with an axe, entitling her to copulate--reluctantly--with a dreary prisoner. And young Theseus, among Herakles' company, returns some time later to capture Antiope--who now bears the Hippolyte title. Antiope and her fellow prisoners fight their fate at first; but soon sex makes love bloom. (Theseus ""was still a child--but he could make a bed a wonderful place to be."") Moreover, a Goddess vision appears and urges Antiope to remain with Theseus, ""to begin a new race"" and ""show the world how to live."" So: culture-shock in Athens ensues--with Antiope trying to liberate those sniveling, enslaved Athenian females with some archery lessons. After the birth of a baby boy (alas), Antiope is cruelly torn when Amazon/Hittite forces begin a siege to defeat Theseus and free their Queen. And finally there are ferocious battles, the death of Amazon comrades, and Antiope's own death at the hands of Molpadia--followed by grief all around and the closing reminder that Love ""must always mean bondage"" for women. Antiope has a certain pep in the first half here: her knee-and-knife work is top-drawer. But the Amazons emerge as a kind of terrorist branch of NOW--and Antiope's decline into All-for-Love milque-toastery is truly tedious.

Pub Date: July 8th, 1983
Publisher: Timescape/Pocket Books--dist. by Simon & Schuster