A feminist take on Greek legend.
The well-known stories of Medea, Jason and the Argonauts are based on widely differing legends. Now it’s Medea’s turn to speak. Greenwood’s Medea is a priestess of Hecate and a princess of Colchis, in what will become the modern-day Republic of Georgia. She has learned well the teachings of her tutor, the sour Trioda, and is used to a good deal of freedom as she roams the area, always accompanied by her two black hounds. From Argonaut Nauplios’ narration, we learn of the difficulties faced by the heroes who accompany Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece, his ticket to reclaim his rightful inheritance. After harrowing adventures, the Argonauts arrive in Colchis, where Medea’s father, Aetes, sets Jason impossible tasks to acquire the fleece. Medea instantly falls in love with the charismatic Jason and secretly helps him when he promises to marry her and be forever faithful. When Aetes reneges on his promise, Medea flees with the Argonauts, aiding them on the dangerous trip home. Even though Jason proves to be a weak and faithless husband, Medea continues to help him in his fight to become king. Using her skills as a sorceress earns her the enmity of the Corinthians and brings about the death of her children in a manner far different from legend. Nauplios, who has loved her from afar, remains faithful in her time of despair.
Greenwood, best known for her Phryne Fisher mysteries, has written historical novels as well (Out of the Black Land, 2013, etc.). The first of her three Delphic Women series to be available in the United States is an enthralling, sensual, tragic tale packed with historical detail.