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Black Ships by Jo Graham

Black Ships

by Jo Graham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Numinous World (1)

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6368622,982 (3.91)158

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» See also 158 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Gull is given to Pythia's temple when she is young, and slowly learns the mysteries of the priestesses of death. Eventually she becomes the sibyl, just in time to receive a vision of approaching black ships. Her prophecy compels her to race into the town, where she prevents whole-sale slaughter between her mother's people and the people who took her as a slave. Gull goes with the Wilusans (from the Hittite's word for Trojans) as they search for a new homeland. As they travel they realize that their own tragedy is part of a larger spread of chaos and war throughout the Mediterranean. Eventually, led by their heroic prince Aeneas, they marry into a new land and form the foundations for Rome.

I liked this, but I would have liked this a lot more if A)Graham had used names I recognized from Greek and Roman tales, instead of confusing me with Hittite names and B)magic and the gods weren't clearly at work. With just a few edits, Gull's visions from and discussions with gods could have become enticingly ambiguous. Additionally, after the first few chapters I felt like nothing bad would happen to the company; I was all too sure that Gull and Aeneas would succeed at their every endeavor. Again, I would have loved a little less surety, a little more ambiguity. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
A friend sent me this in the mail. A note attached said, 'It is a good story I think you will like.'
  Greymowser | Jan 22, 2016 |
Gull, a slave born of the women taken as bounty at the fall of Troy, becomes an oracle for the Lady of the Dead. Gull, as the Sybil, will serve the one surviving heir of Troy in their search for a new home, a place of peace.

Black Ships is beautifully written and opens a window into a world long since vanished. ( )
  cfk | May 16, 2015 |
The daughter of a Trojan slave becomes a prophetess and sails with Aeneas on his legendary journey to found what will become Rome.

Primarily historical fiction with some fantasy elements, such as prophecies and a drug-induced trip to the Underworld, Black Ships is an entertaining retelling of the Aeneas legend from a woman's perspective. Gull was conceived by rape when her mother was taken as a slave from Troy. When she becomes handicapped and can't work, she is given to Pythia to raise as an oracle, and as a young girl, she has a vision of black ships at battle. This vision comes true when, after being raided by Neoptolemus, Aeneas leads the remainder of his people to rescue the enslaved women and children. Pythia impulsively decides to join them and becomes their oracle, their Sybil. She earns respect and friendship from Aeneas and his captains, and becomes one of Aeneas's advisors. The roles of other women are also highlighted. For example, Lide is a healer and midwife who does most of the doctoring on the journey, and when they reach their final destination, Lavinia is shown to be a wise and caring queen. (I'm glad I also have Ursula K. Le Guin's Lavinia to read as a follow-up to this.) Even the Egyptian princess is sympathetic in her madness. This was an engaging read, although I am not sure I will tackle the sequels. ( )
  sturlington | Jan 16, 2015 |
Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism
Rating: Very Very Good

A retelling of the Aeneid, told through the eyes of a young girl enslaved when Troy falls. She is hurt, and no longer able to work, is then given to the temple of the Lady of the Dead as an acolyte, who when grown, becomes the chosen of the Lady and the Sybil to Aeneas.

Written beautifully, plainly and clearly told with no fake embellishments, moving and engrossing.

What a great book to start the year with. ( )
  majkia | Jan 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
The structure of this story isn’t anything readers of feminist historical fantasy haven’t seen before... But although the novel lacks surprises, it compensates with sympathetic characters and emotional truth.
added by sturlington | editKirkus Reviews (May 20, 2010)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Grahamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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You must know that, despite all else I am, I am of the People.
In the beginning there was nothing, not even time. And then there was something. A word. A thought. And then in an instant there was everything.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316068004, Paperback)

"Haunting and bittersweet, lush and vivid, this extraordinary story has lived with me since I first read it." --Naomi Novik, author of His Majesty's Dragon

The world is ending. One by one the mighty cities are falling, to earthquakes, to flood, to raiders on both land and sea.

In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle. Daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, chosen at the age of seven to be the voice of the Lady of the Dead, it is her destiny to counsel kings.

When nine black ships appear, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must decide between the life she has been destined for and the most perilous adventure -- to join the remnant of her mother's people in their desperate flight. From the doomed bastions of the City of Pirates to the temples of Byblos, from the intrigues of the Egyptian court to the haunted caves beneath Mount Vesuvius, only Gull can guide Prince Aeneas on his quest, and only she can dare the gates of the Underworld itself to lead him to his destiny.

In the last shadowed days of the Age of Bronze, one woman dreams of the world beginning anew. This is her story.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, Gull was chosen to become the voice of the Lady of the Dead and counsel kings. But when nine black ships appear, captained by exiled Prince Aeneas, she joins him as his guide and leads him to his destiny.… (more)

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Orbit Books

2 editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 0316068004, 0316067997

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