Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast by Jane Yolen & Robert Harris

A while back I stumbled on Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast by Jane Yolen & Robert Harris at Half Priced Books and picked it for a couple of bucks.  After having read the Merlin Triology by Yolen I decided it was a good time to check out this Young Hero Series.  I had already read one rendition of the Atalanta story (Quiver by Stephanie Spinner) so I was also interested to see how another YA author approached the story.

You really don’t need to know anything about the myth, however, to enjoy the story.  It really reads like a fast paced adventure story.  Here is the publisher’s teaser:

When her adopted father is slain by a strange beast, Atalanta is determined to take care of herself. She is happy in the forest with only her friend Urso — a giant bear — for company. She wants nothing to do with the world of men.

But the ferocious creature that killed her father is still out there, and Atalanta can’t resist the opportunity to hunt it down, even if that means she has to join forces with a group of hunters to do so. Atalanta must prove that she is as strong and brave as any of the others, as they search together for the deadly Arcadian Beast.

It is an interesting blend of action adventure and subtle explorations of issues like family, gender and identity that are so prevalent in Greek mythology

More below.

Continue reading

Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast by Jane Yolen & Robert Harris

A while back I stumbled on Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast by Jane Yolen & Robert Harris at Half Priced Books and picked it for a couple of bucks.  After having read the Merlin Triology by Yolen I decided it was a good time to check out this Young Hero Series.  I had already read one rendition of the Atalanta story (Quiver by Stephanie Spinner) so I was also interested to see how another YA author approached the story.

You really don’t need to know anything about the myth, however, to enjoy the story.  It really reads like a fast paced adventure story.  Here is the publisher’s teaser:

When her adopted father is slain by a strange beast, Atalanta is determined to take care of herself. She is happy in the forest with only her friend Urso — a giant bear — for company. She wants nothing to do with the world of men.

But the ferocious creature that killed her father is still out there, and Atalanta can’t resist the opportunity to hunt it down, even if that means she has to join forces with a group of hunters to do so. Atalanta must prove that she is as strong and brave as any of the others, as they search together for the deadly Arcadian Beast.

It is an interesting blend of action adventure and subtle explorations of issues like family, gender and identity that are so prevalent in Greek mythology

More below.

Continue reading

In the Mail: Conspirata by Robert Harris

Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Robert Harris

Publishers Weekly

In this gripping second installment to his ancient Rome trilogy (after Imperium), bestseller Harris proves once again that politics is an ugly game. Beginning in 63 B.C.E. and told by Cicero’s slave secretary, Tiro, this complex tale continues to chronicle Cicero’s political career as he charms, co-opts, and bribes his way into the exalted position of consul, ruler of Rome. Although Cicero is known as a brilliant politician and philosopher, he was also a slick manipulator and shameless schemer, competing with equally sneaky rivals Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus. Cicero realizes that as the empire expands, the greatest threat to Rome comes from within, plotted by well-financed conspirators bent on turning the republic into a dictatorship. With fabulous oratory and trickery, Cicero uncovers and crushes an insurrection, exposing himself to great danger and possible assassination. Riots, murder, civil unrest, corruption, treachery, and betrayal mark Cicero’s political legacy, resulting in a battle between him and Julius Caesar. Throughout, however, Tiro remains loyal and remarkably astute, recognizing that it is an act of madness for a man to pursue power when he could be sitting in the sunshine reading a book