THE AVENGER by Margaret Hodges


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A plaster-cast plod to Greek historic sites, 492-490 B.C. Alexis and his older brother Dion are fixated on avenging a wrong done their father, the ruler of Asini, by the king of nearby Tiryns; at the upcoming Olympics, Dion is determined to defeat the king's only son, Glaukon, in a boxing match. But though Alexis wins the boys' race (for the greater glory of Asini), Dion and Glaukon fight to a draw. And, from his injuries, Dion's eyesight begins to fade, leaving Alexis to be the avenger. The boys' gentle stepmother, Melissa, has just lost a much-wanted baby. Alexis goes with her to Epidauros, site of the shrine of Esklepios the healer, where he is told that he too needs to be healed--of his hatred. But his beautiful, high-spirited sister Nikki and noble, unbelligerent Glaukon have fallen-in-love-at-first-sight--so Glaukon must be killed forthwith. When the two youths are grappling on a beach, they are seized by pirates. As fellow-slaves, they are perforce allies; and from proximity to Glaukon, Alexis' hostility wanes. Both are purchased by a rich Athenian, Kimon, who recognizes them from the Olympics and promises them eventual freedom. Glaukon's father, apprised of their whereabouts, visits and expresses his regret for the old wrong done Alexis' father. We have had periodic word, meanwhile, of the approaching Persians; now, Alexis and Glaukon volunteer to fight with Kimon at Marathon. We've heard too of the Greeks' difficulty in getting together; we see, briefly, how the few Athenians and Plautians triumphed. To no evident fictional purpose, Alexis is wounded; we last see him, 13 years later, telling his half-brother (the child Melissa so much wanted) what-happened-after. Mildly educational and almost wholely inert.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1982
Publisher: Scribners