Athena’s Champion (Olympus Trilogy)

Written by Cath Mayo David Hair
Review by J. Lynn Else

In 1290 BC, twenty-year-old Odysseus has been cast out by his father after a prophecy unveils a devastating family secret. While on the run and in a life or death struggle, Odysseus is visited by Athena and accepts her as his patron goddess. His life is saved, and Odysseus finds himself in the care of a daemon named Bria who can inhabit different bodies when the situation calls. Previously a skeptic of the uncanny, Odysseus now finds all his beliefs being challenged as he’s pulled into a secret war between the gods. When a mission for Athena goes horribly wrong, Odysseus will need all his intellectual and warrior skills to save the kidnapped Princess Helen from the realm of Hades.

In the vein of The Song of Achilles and For the Most Beautiful, Athena’s Champion explores the Achaean gods through the eyes of a young hero. Odysseus is well-known for his part during and after the Trojan War, but what of his early life? Hair and Mayo take elements that are already known and explore his beginnings, diving into how one becomes a legendary hero. Odysseus faces hard choices and personal sacrifices that will influence his future. Their prose is entrancing, setting the stage within the first few pages for this fantastical and thoughtful journey into a world of myth and mystery. While there are plenty of fantasy elements, there’s also a well-crafted historical backdrop that brings its own enchantment to the narrative. Odysseus has just the right balance of wonder and rationalism to lend credibility to supernatural events happening around him. If you like magic and mayhem wrapped around ancient historical legends, this cup of nectar has your name on it. Recommended.