Odysseus, King

Odysseus, King

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The Trojan war has gone on longer than anyone believed possible and finally the Kings are making their way home. But what of Odysseus? Penelope tries to hold together her fragile and fractured island while coming to terms with two equally frightening realities.A gritty novel about war, myth, legend, and the truth that whether you stay or go, no one comes through war the same way they entered it.'The ships looked smaller, insignificant from the heights of the cliffs Penelope had climbed. They sat, bobbing against the incoming tide on the broad eastern Ithakan beach. The men waded, carrying the last of their belongings through the light foam and scaled the freshly constructed ships via ropes, or the hands of their fellows. The smiles and greetings were wholesome and the excitement felt even on the hills where Penelope walked alone. Twelve ships, each bearing the name of a woman of the island. Each bearing artistry and a particular character. One was a bird. Grooves of wood gently scored along the length towards the beak like prow. Another was dappled with clouds of colour. When she had strolled across the beach in the early morning it had looked misshapen and grey, but above tham she could see the pattern forming the coat of a great Ram. The twin curls of great bronze at the brow formed the horns. The Penelope sat in the centre of the beach. Odysseus’ own vessel. An older ship that had seen war before, that had journeyed across the islands. She remembered the voyage she had taken on it herself when chance had brought them together at her cousin’s bride sale. The irascible Helen, for whom the island’s men were now venturing a thousand miles.The men continued to wander towards the ships. A line of loved ones, loose and unformed, but far enough from the ships to show the distance they now all felt. They stood at the top of the rise of the beach. Each grasping and then releasing a man. Some lingered too long. Women refusing to let go of lovers, mothers stroking the hair and passing advice to sons they knew in their hearts they had little chance of seeing again. Their friends and family having to pull them away, tear hands apart. The soldiers all looked blankly at the women’s red faces. The snot and tears of desperation. A thousand women all with their hearts thumping, their stomachs tearing apart and churning like the storms they would have to face out at sea.Some of the men walked backwards a few paces before turning, some stalked away with their spears held high. Their eyes fixed out to sea. Some looked back over their shoulders at the crowds, offering a final salute before they were hauled aboard the boats.' Staring at the crowds of women and older men. Those who had refused to join and those who wanted to , but could not bear arms due to age or injury. He had not moved all morning.Penelope watched the red haired man. Still. Still as if waiting for a charge. His two spears were planted in the stones just above the high water mark. His helmet at his feet. He scanned the crowd for any last volunteer, any last man who had failed to arrive. There was nothing. The women and men grew silent and he raised his hands as if to speak. There was nothing Penelope could hear bar the wind and the gulls who showed no such reverence to the king of Ithaka. Shaking his head the man walked to the boats where the teams of men had readied themselves to shove the small armada into the sea. He turned once more and looked to the crowd before staring up at Penelope. He put his hand on his heart. Whether in love or by way of apology Penelope would never know. She watched him throw his bundle aboard the boat and join with the men by the stern of his great ship. Their shoulders pressed against the timbers and as one the great beasts all crawled into the sea. Resting for a while on the shallows, waves built around them and hands pulled the last of the men, The king last of all, onto the boats.'show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128.52 x 198.37 x 16.51mm | 381.02g
  • Createspace Independent Pub
  • English
  • 1514157047
  • 9781514157046