Written by Ann Halam
Review by Ann Turnbull

This is a stylish and fascinating retelling of the Medusa myth. Ann Halam has given the ancient Greek story a thoroughly modern twist, with Perseus speaking like a teenager of today and the introduction of a host of deliberate and amusing anachronisms. For instance, the God Zeus, Perseus’s father, appears as captain of a sleek modern yacht and orders a meal of fish and chips (though I was glad to see that he ate it with a healthy side salad).

On the island of Serifos, “Papa Dicty”, elder brother of the wicked king Polydectes, runs a taverna, and this is where Perseus lives with his mother Danae. One day, on the seafront, he meets a beautiful and enigmatic girl, Andromeda, who will join with him in a quest that fulfils both their mythic destinies. Ann Halam follows the original myth fairly closely in its essentials, but the main difference is in the character of Andromeda. She is no helpless victim, but a proud and powerful Ethiopian princess.

The story unfolds at a fast pace, and all the different parts of the Medusa and Pegasus myths are tied up in a satisfying way by the end. Those who are familiar with these myths will be intrigued to see how they have been used and re-interpreted; but it is not necessary to know the originals at all in order to enjoy this exciting, mysterious and unusual story.