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Black Ships

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About the Author

Jo Graham lives in Maryland with her family, and has worked in politics for many years. "Black Ships" is her debut novel. Find out more about the author at http: //


Born to a slave taken at the fall of Troy, the child named Gull is chosen by the oracle Pythia to succeed her in service to the Lady of Death because of her prophetic visions. When survivors of a later assault on Troy, called Wilusa by its inhabitants, free their enslaved people, Gull accompanies the captain of the seven black ships, the Trojan Prince Aeneas, as they search for a place to call home. Drawing her inspiration from Virgil's The Aeneid, debut author Graham re-creates a vivid picture of the ancient world, a mysterious place in which gods and goddesses speak to their chosen. Recent interest in Troy, the ancient Greek city-states, and the foundations of Western civilization may increase demand for this historically based fantasy and make it a strong addition to any library. [The author wowed librarians at an Orbit luncheon at last summer's ALA convention in Washington, DC.-Ed.] Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Graham's exquisite and bleak debut views the events of The Aeneid through the oracle Gull, a disciple of the Lady of the Dead. Taken to the Lady's temple after being lamed in a chariot accident, Gull quickly displays her power to see the future. Her first vision-black ships fleeing a burning city-lets her recognize Aeneas when he arrives after the fall of Wilusa (the Hittite name for Troy), hoping to save those sold into slavery. Gull joins Aeneas, and they take the few remaining people of Wilusa on a glorious journey to find their scattered brethren and a site where they can found a new city. Historians will admire Graham's deft blending of Virgil's epic story and historical fact, most notably the creation of Egyptian princess Basetamon to take the place of magnificently anachronistic Dido. Graham's spare style focuses on action, but fraught meaning and smoldering emotional resonance overlay her deceptively simple words. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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