In the second of three titles in the Delphic Woman series, Greenwood brings Cassandra, princess and seer of Troy, to life. In fact, Greenwood recreates most of Greece, from Mycenae to Troy, in her version of the downfall of that great city. The premise and storyline are familiar, though the details vary: the Olympian gods Apollo and Aphrodite make a bet about the frailty vs. power of human love, then provoke their human playthings into settling the wager.
Of the fictional characters mingling with the historic, most notable is Diomenes, or Chryse, a young healer from Epidavros who has faced the reality of pain and loss early in life. Touched by Thanatos, the god of death, he is serious and thoughtful beyond his years. His voice alternates with Cassandra’s as they both grow up sensing that war and destruction are headed their way. Although they don’t meet until late in the book, their paths are remarkably similar, as they are both tested, and at times, cursed, by the gods. Unlike the Cassandra of the Iliad, Greenwood’s is strong; she’s a warrior, a healer, a confidante to Hector. She is also doomed to know the outcome of the war but cannot voice her prophesies. Her struggles to continue living, all the while seeing visions of her beloved family and city destroyed, are vivid, as are the conflicts Chryse has to deal with, in the heat of battle outside Troy’s gates.
Readers will find themselves cheering for both protagonists in Greenwood’s well-spun reworking of a classic tale.