Reading Backwards

Book reviews by your favorite Git.

Queen of the Amazons

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By Judith Tarr
Go on, be a woman! Buy it
Rating: Ixcelsiooor!
Read: June 2006

This one came from Strand Books, my beloved second-hand goldmine. The description was interesting, the cover art is gorgeous (her neck piece looks like mother of pearl) and the story is well-told and thoroughly unusual. Very good.

The narrative follows Selene, an Amazon born with the gift of Sight. She was raised by an aunt who was utterly taken over by the seeing, and Selene's first vision was of her mother's death by fire. She does not want to accept her destiny, and so she fiercely remains a warrior at her queen's side.

That queen is Hypolyta, the beloved etcetc. Hypolyta gives birth to her first and only daughter… but the child has no soul. She is a body without the spark of personality or will, less than an animal. The people are divided–is she an abomination or sent by the Goddess? Hypolyta insists that this child is meant for great things and names her heir. Because she has no soul, she can receive no formal name, but the child is called "Etta." 'That thing.'

Selene is Etta's guardian. She follows her everywhere, the shadow of a shadow. When Etta shows the will to leave the camp and travel halfway across the world to where Alexander the Great is conquering Persia, Selene must follow her into the bizarre world of men.

We learn of two legendary cultures here–that of the Amazons, and Alexander. …and how they could be both similar and very different.

Will Selene accept her vision, or be driven mad by it? Will Etta ever achieve a soul and become the woman Selene sees? Far away from her Amazon lover, will Selene be able to accept the love offered by a man as that of an equal's? And how will the Amazons ever accept the return of Etta The Souless… when a rival for the throne is just as charismatic?

Very, very good. Go read it, damn you!


Written by Shen

June 7, 2006 at 11:58 pm

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