A debut novel that imagines a modern world where ancient Greek deities still find themselves entangled in human affairs.
Selene DiSilva’s calling is avenging the wrongs perpetrated on women by men. She’s been doing it for thousands of years—ever since she lived in ancient Greece and was known by the name of Artemis. When a Columbia professor is found murdered in what appears to be a revival of ancient cult practices, Selene realizes she has a new challenge on her hands. And though she usually works alone, the murdered woman’s colleague (and ex-lover) professor Theodore Schultz becomes her unlikely sidekick: Selene must draw on his knowledge of the ancient world to help solve the mystery of the ritual murder before the ceremony’s 10-day window of time closes. This isn’t the only race against time Selene faces. As the Greek gods fade from cultural memory, and the realms they stand for (hunting, the hearth) become obsolete, she must try to catch the killer before her powers—and her life—fade away. Brodsky is clearly having fun writing this novel; one can feel her relish on the page in imagining what Greek gods like Hades, the God of the Underworld, or Hermes, the messenger god, might be doing in the 21st century. Consequently, the novel’s greatest strength is its detailed and engaging use of both widely known and more obscure elements of ancient Greek life and myth. However, lovers of ancient myth know that, despite the way mythological figures are often oversimplified to represent a few attributes—philandering, mighty Zeus, for example—these characters are usually more complicated than they seem on the surface. While Brodsky has fun with the cartoonish aspects of the gods' personalities, these broad strokes unfortunately extend to the novel’s human characters, too, which create portraits that border on stereotype.
A fun, if flawed, treatment of myth and mystery.