SINGER TO THE SEA GOD by Vivien Alcock


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 A novelist with an impressive range--psychological suspense (The Trial of Anna Cotman, 1990), engaging fantasy (The Monster Garden, 1988), and more--takes a markedly different tack with a quest set in ancient Greece and drawing freely on its myths. Phaidon, slave in the court where his uncle Pelops is cook, is a horrified observer when Perseus turns up with Medusa's head and turns the king and his fellows to stone. But at least this affords an opportunity to escape servitude, which he does along with Pelops, another boy (Gordius), and a young man who loved Phaidon's sister Cleo--who was also turned to stone, and whose marble remains encumber their flight. The group's adventures include a run-in with crafty mariners who abandon them on an island before absconding with Cleo; escaping between Scylla and Charybdis (unnamed here) with the help of Iris, a capable young castaway who joins their band; and taking service with a dangerously unpredictable new king, perhaps in accordance with an oracle. Along the way, they encounter three women resembling the Fates, and there are other mythic references (Gordius is good at knots); Phaidon's gift for singing also proves useful. Alcock toys inconclusively with the question of superstition--after all, Cleo is stone and remains so--and fans may be disappointed to find the story amiably petering out in an epilogue rather than coming to a climax in one of the author's incisively addressed moral dilemmas. Still, a good yarn. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30866-3
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1992


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