Those old Greek myths covered a lot of territory, but there was just so much space left to fill that it’s surprising more authors haven’t taken the chance to do so. Diving right in, though, is Australian fantasist Douglass (The Wayfarer Redemption series), who starts off her new multivolume saga in the aftermath of the destruction of the Labyrinth. Theseus, sailing triumphant back to Greece, abandons Ariadne, his pregnant bride who had helped him defeat the Minotaur—Asterion—in favor of her younger sister. Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth, then makes a pact with the half-alive Asterion, as well as Death herself, to enact her revenge for the betrayal she suffered. She sets about unraveling the Game, the loose web of divine magic that held the ancient world together: the result brings death and destruction everywhere. Jump forward a century and we find Brutus, leader of a band of Trojans who’ve been wandering the earth since the fall of their city. Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and one of the only deities who was not destroyed in the conflagration unleashed by Ariadne, comes to Brutus with a deal: Do whatever I ask and we’ll rebuild Troy. Next, Brutus’ men, aided by Artemis’ magic, have conquered the Greek kingdom of Mesopotamia, which holds many Trojans enslaved, and Brutus has taken the virgin princess Cornelia as his bride. All this is only setup for the ancient world–spanning epic that Douglass sets into play, which ultimately involves the reunification of the male and female divine essence (or something of the sort) and occasionally jumps forward to London 1939, a plot strand that will hopefully be explained in later volumes. This initial installment has a breathless tone to it, with its copious bloodletting and the characters’ ravenous sexual appetites, but all the carrying-on becomes tiresome.
A soap opera of the ancient world, for good and for bad.