This "powerful, fresh, and unflinching" reimagining from the award-winning author of the Penelope trilogy breathes life into ancient myth and gives voice to the women who stand defiant in a world ruled by ruthless men (Jennifer Saint).
On the isle of Ithaca, queen Penelope maintains a delicate balance of power. Many years ago, her husband Odysseus sailed to war with Troy and never came home. In his absence, Penelope uses all her cunning to keep the peace—a peace that is shattered by the return of Orestes, King of Mycenae, and his sister Elektra.
Orestes' hands are stained with his mother's blood. Not so long ago, the son of Agamemnon took Queen Clytemnestra's life on Ithaca's sands. Now, wracked with guilt, he is slowly losing his mind. But a king cannot be seen to be weak, and Elektra has brought him to Ithaca to keep him safe from the ambitious men of Mycenae.
Penelope knows destruction will follow in his wake as surely as the furies circle him. His uncle Menelaus, the battle-hungry king of Sparta, longs for Orestes' throne—and if he can seize it, no one will be safe from his violent whims.
Trapped between two mad kings, Penelope fights to keep her home from being crushed by a war that stretches from Mycenae and Sparta to the summit of Mount Olympus itself. Her only allies are Elektra, desperate to protect her brother, and Helen of Troy, Menelaus' wife. And watching over them all is the goddess Aphrodite, who has plans of her own.
Each woman has a secret. And their secrets will shape the world.
About the Author
Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, who wrote several novels in various genres before publishing her first major work as Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. It was a critically acclaimed success, receiving rave reviews and becoming a word of mouth bestseller. She has since published several hugely popular and critically acclaimed novels, won the World Fantasy Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. She lives in London.
"In House of Odysseus, Claire North has done it again. A superb sequel to the brilliant Ithaca, this is another clever, vivid reimagining of myth told in her indomitable style - with wit, attention to detail and exquisite characterization. The narrative voice of Aphrodite is absolute perfection, lending humor and tender insight to a high-stakes, thrilling game of political cat-and-mouse between Penelope and Menelaus as they battle for the fate of the island. Ancient myth becomes real and urgent, the world of the divine and the mortal expertly balanced throughout the unfolding twists and turns that will leave the reader eagerly anticipating the final installment of the trilogy!"—Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne on House of Odysseus
“Claire North has the most original voice - every page is an absolute joy. She had me laughing out loud (Aphrodite is such a wicked, irreverent narrator) and I was also very moved by her version of the Elektra/Orestes myth. I loved Ithaca but House of Odysseus is even better - Penelope is proving to be an outstanding epic hero in her own right. The world building is sensational. I cannot wait for the final book in the series!”—Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf Den on House of Odysseus
"There is something fateful about The Songs of Penelope trilogy: that this voice would come to this story, a pairing so perfect it was worth waiting a few thousand years for. North's writing is evocative, vibrant and delightfully witty - capable of rending your heart in two or clutching at your sides with only a few words from a scathing and surprisingly ardent godly-narrator."—Bea Fitzgerald, author of Girl, Goddess, Queen on House of Odysseus
"North's novels are triumphs of conception and execution... Her prose here is elegant, poetic, and gorgeously descriptive... This is a stunning novel."—Booklist on House of Odysseus
"North weaves an exquisite masterpiece as she writes about the women in this Bronze Age world. The characters are beautifully written, the plot is strong, and the dialogue is witty. Highly recommended, this is one of the best books I have read this year."—Historical Novel Society on House of Odysseus
"Richly poetic and does justice to the very real and frustrating world of women forced to survive within a world of patriarchy, assault, and violence. This is an impassioned plea for the lost, disenfranchised queens of ancient Greece, a love letter to the silenced women of history who had to hide their pain behind their eyes and their skills, capabilities, and power behind false incompetence and ignorance."—Booklist (starred review) on Ithaca
"The queen of the gods narrates a crackling tale of secrets and intrigue...taut, suspenseful, and full of Hera’s delightfully dyspeptic attitude. A thoroughly enjoyable exploration of Penelope’s side of the ancient story."—Kirkus on Ithaca
"A dazzlingly complex, twisting tale....Claire North breathes life into a cast of mythical characters from goddesses to queens to slave-women in a richly nuanced portrayal of human life."—Jennifer Saint on Ithaca
"Like Penelope at her loom, North weaves and unweaves, teasing out the threads of Homeric myth to recombine them into something unique, wonderful, and urgently contemporary."—M. R. Carey on Ithaca
“Told in the arresting voice of the goddess Hera . . . Ithaca conjures up a world in which women, abandoned by their men, must weave their own destinies."—The Times (UK) on Ithaca
"A gorgeous, emotive feminist retelling of the classic Greek myth of Penelope."—Belfast Telegraph (UK) on Ithaca