The Year-God’s Daughter
Despite the fifth-century Greek statue on the cover, The Year-God’s Daughter takes place a thousand years earlier, in Crete. Aridela, the daughter of the title, is prophesied to bring doom to her homeland. Menoetius of Mycenae is sent to spy upon Crete by his father whose secret society is sworn to overturn rule by women. Aridela, second-born, is recognized by all to be more suitable as her mother’s heir to the throne. Menoetius, bastard born, has no prospects. Yet when these two meet, thunder is heard in a sky with no clouds. Portents like this pile upon prophecies, and dreams and visions abound at every turn.
Readers need to be already familiar with the ancient concept of the sacrifice of an annual king to guarantee the welfare of the land under goddess worship, because the author does not explain it until page 111. Her metier is all show and no tell. Some pages fly with gripping dialogue and descriptions while others stagger under too conscientious a style marked by one-sentence paragraphs with no pluperfects. However, readers who are not bothered by this currency will no doubt enjoy the layer upon layer of suspense, which builds to a volcanic climax.