The Tapestry of Bronze Series: The Children of Tantalus; The Road to Thebes; The Arrows of Artemis

Written by Alice Underwood Victoria Grossack
Review by Steve Donoghue

The long and complicated story Grossack and Underwood unfold in their thrilling and absorbing trio of books, The Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes, and The Arrows of Artemis, has been told before; the family saga of Tantalus, Pelops, and Niobe was a staple of ancient Greek mythologists. But our authors have taken the often one-note moralizing of their ancient sources and fleshed it out in ways that initially strike the reader as fascinating and then become completely compelling.

The books shift narrative focus (as denoted in the series’ title, this is much more a tapestry of viewpoints than it is a what-happened-next chronicle) as they tell the story of Niobe and her brother Pelops coming of age and then ruling their respective corners of a richly imagined pre-Homeric Hellenic world, but one thing unites the various points of view: Grossack and Underwood have an unfailing ear for dialogue and drama.

The resulting books will draw inevitable comparisons to the work of both Robert Graves and Mary Renault, but throughout these books (an earlier volume, Jocasta, is also not to be missed), Grossack and Underwood consistently manage a wit and breadth all their own. Readers will find themselves flying through these volumes, gripped the whole time. Very strongly recommended.