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- Publisher: Harcourt Paperbacks
- Format: Paperback | 360 pages
- Dimensions: 114mm x 175mm x 30mm | 227g
- Publication date: 1 August 2007
- ISBN 10: 0152061045
- ISBN 13: 9780152061043
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 305,684
Many years have passed since the end of the Trojan War, and Penelope is still waiting for her husband, Odysseus, to return home. The city of Ithaka is overrun with uncouth suitors hoping to marry her, thereby gaining control of the land. But when a naked, half-drowned man washes up on the beach, everything changes. Told through the eyes of Klymene, a young girl who is like a daughter to Penelope, this is a timeless story of passion, jealousy, gods, and royalty in the aftermath of war.
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By TeensReadToo 01 Oct 2010
If you've ever read the epic poem THE ODYSSEY by Homer, you know that the author focuses on the thrilling journey of Odysseus. After the Trojan War has ended, Odysseus must battle witches, supernatural monsters, and even gods to gain back his lands and his faithful wife from the thieves that have kidnapped her. In the story of ITHAKA, the focus isn't on Odysseus, but on those that were left behind--first when he went off to war, and then when he fails to return home after the war ends.
The book is narrated by Klymene, a teenage girl who serves as handmaiden to Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. It's been two years since the Trojan War ended, and still her husband has not returned home to rule their land. There is a steady, never-ending stream of suitors vying for Penelope's hand in marriage, hoping that the (mostly) faithful wife will soon realize that her husband is gone forever. Penelope is not sought after because of love, but because of her wealth and the lands she will soon possess if she gives her husband up for dead.
For Klymene, it's difficult to fathom why Penelope is so determined to stay faithful to a husband who is most likely never to return. She soon learns about love and the matters of the heart, however, when she becomes infatuated with Odysseus's troublesome son, Telemachus. Matters are complicated even further when Klymene realizes that she, a lowly handmaiden, is not the apple of Telemachus's eye. That privilege belongs to another young woman who has come to serve in the household, Melantho.
One of the most interesting parts of ITHAKA is the paranormal aspect of Klymene, who is able to see the gods. She is also a keeper of secrets, and since she deals every day with individuals who would do anything to keep those secrets safe, it's a somewhat demanding job.
This is not a retelling of THE ODYSSEY. This is a completely different story, full of magic and heartbreak, joy and sadness, and the trial and error of growing up. There's something for everyone here, with mystery, romance, and action-adventure. If you love historical stories, or those based on myths, you won't go wrong with ITHAKA.
[set star] "Themes of loyalty and unrequited love . . . are brilliantly and movingly displayed throughout this ambitious, gripping novel."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred)