In the first book of an anticipated series named The Troy Game, Australian author Sara Douglass weaves a complex tale of historical fantasy moving back and forth between post-Trojan Europe and pre-World War II England. The backdrop against which the “Game” is played involves Theseus, his abandonment of the pregnant Ariadne, the Lady of the Labyrinth, and Ariadne’s revenge – the undoing of the protective Labyrinth, which results in the fall of Troy and the destabilization of the known world.
A century later, we meet Brutus, the warrior-king of lost Troy, great-grandson of Aeneas. After murdering his father, thus clearing his way to the throne, Brutus is visited by Artemis – he thinks. The “goddess” guides him to and through a course of action with his remaining Trojan kin that will ultimately bring them to the shores of the New Troy in Albion. In adopting the legend that the survivors of Troy settled pre-Celtic Britain, Douglass moves Brutus inexorably into Mesopotamia, which, for the past century, held all Trojans in slavery. Brutus, once again, shows his nasty side by forcing marriage upon Cornelia, the Mesopotamian princess, and destroying her civilization.
Obviously, this is a complicated, long and ambitious story, of which this book is just the first taste. Douglass seamlessly weaves together elements of fact and fiction, history and fantasy, in a book that starts slowly but accelerates until you’re involved for good.