The world is ending. One by one the mighty cities are falling to earthquakes, to floods, to raiders on both land and sea.
In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle. Daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, chosen at the age of seven to be the voice of the Lady of the Dead, it is her destiny to counsel kings.
When nine black ships appear, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must decide between the life she has been destined for and the most perilous adventure--to join the remnant of her mother's people in their desperate flight. From the doomed bastions of the City of Pirates to the temples of Byblos, from the intrigues of the Egyptian court to the haunted caves beneath Mount Vesuvius, only Gull can guide Prince Aeneas on his quest, and only she can dare the gates of the Underworld itself to lead him to his destiny.
In the last shadowed days of the Age of Bronze, one woman dreams of the world beginning anew. This is her story.
©2008 Joanne Wyrick (P)2015 David N. Wilson
"Haunting and bittersweet, lush and vivid, this extraordinary story has lived with me since I first read it." (Naomi Novik, author of His Majesty's Dragon)
Another great novel byJo Graham including a lot of historical detail in her books. This one did not disappoint! If you love historical fictions, this is surely one to buy. Narrator is good too.
Yes. I'm going to continue on in the series. I think it would be kind of fun to read Virgil and Homer then this again.
This is my first time.
This is my first time.
There were a few parts that did make me laugh. I found the little argument while some were sleeping funny. I didn't cry.
I liked it. It's mainly from the POV of Gull, an oracle. It's also a great deal of being on ships on the sea and trying to survive and having freedom. There is a romance in this. There are a few humorous scenes. I'll put it on the TRL for in case I'd like to
Black ships really intrigued me and it was the first story of Jo Graham's that I had purchased. The period of time in this story has long been an interest of mine, but I was not aware of the historical background Graham had completed relevant to this story. Names and places sounded almost right, but it was not until after I had listened to the entire story and then listened to Graham's explanation, that the dots were connected for me. After hearing the author's comments, I will go back and listen again. An engaging story with a most interesting main character.
This is the story of Gull, a slave born of a slave. Her mother and many people like her were taken from fallen Troy. Gull was allowed to stay with her mother, working the flax that grew along the irrigation ditches until the day an accident left her crippled. Her mother found her another role in life, that as acolyte at the temple of Pythia, she who speaks for the Lady of the Dead. Gull grows up learning the inner mysteries of the Underworld and prophecy. Her life takes her places she could hardly foresee.
Several years ago, back before I became a book reviewer, I read several Jo Graham novels and loved each and every one of them. Having this book rendered as an audiobook does not diminish my enjoyment of her work one bit. This is a beautiful story full of deities who meddle in human affairs, rulers who may care little for the common folk, and ill luck rained down on those already beaten low. Through all these obstacles, our heroes must endure and over come.
Gull, who becomes Pythia, isn’t just some unthinking priestess that reacts to the whims of her goddess. No, quite often she must apply her own knowledge and thoughts to the situation. And yet this balanced by the hand of the Lady occasionally laying heavily upon her handmaiden. I really enjoy this aspect of the book. These ancient peoples were not separate and free of their deities – no! They lived side by side with them, each complimenting the other. However, the writing is clever in that if you don’t have a bend toward the supernatural, you can read all the events and decisions as acts of nature (weather) and/or man-made (hallucinogenic drugs). It is great that the author left it up to the reader’s interpretation.
For those that have studied the fall of Troy and what followed after, there will be touchstones for you to recognize in this book. While my own knowledge is only passing, even I caught a few of these. So often we look at ancient history as rather dry and happening so long ago that it doesn’t touch us personally. This book brings that ancient history alive and puts face and heart to the tale.
Gull’s people are a people without a home. Her wisdom and visions help guide the people as they search for a safe harbor, and later for a more permanent solution. Throughout much of the tale, she gives counsel to Prince Aeneas, the lost prince of Troy. Their travels take them all around the Mediterranean. This allowed our main characters to compare various great cities of the time such as the main cities of Egypt, Byblos, and others.
Gull is far from the only plot-important woman in this story. The author did a good job of realistically portraying women of the time without diminishing their roles in society or in the shaping of history. Also, because Gull’s people are traveling so much, we get a comparison of women’s roles from culture to culture.
This was an excellent book the first time I explored it and it remains an excellent book now. The characters were intriguing and the plot gripping. The ending was very satisfying.
Narration: Gigi Shane was the perfect voice for the Lady of the Dead’s handmaiden, Pythia. Her voice was both smooth and a little smokey, making me think of black veils and secrets. She also had a very nice array of other women’s voices, men’s voices, the young, and the old.
Interesting and entertaining.
The main character.
A unique narrative voice for the main character.
No, but enthralled.
I'm a long haul truck driver that fills my drive time with listening to audio books and reviewing them.
A Very interesting period brought to life with a unique tone and flavor all it's own.
Graham starts her story with the daughter of one of the Trojan women taken by King Nestor at the end of the Trojan War. Gull starts life as the daughter of newly made slave, eventually becoming a priestess in training. Her life radically changes when what remains of her mother’s people come to rescue their women. From there, the story is that of Aeneas’ and the founding of the Roman race. This journey takes the small group across the Mediterranean.
Graham’s changes to Virgil and Homer make sense in terms of history, though perhaps not the Romans for Carthage does not make an appearance. Graham explains the reason for this in her afterword and her adaptation of Dido and Carthage into an Egyptian sequence does work very well. Graham does seem aware that she is pushing Gull’s role a bit too much to the forefront, and there are varying reactions from male characters to showcase that Gull is different (and Gull is not an early feminist by any means). It would have been nice if one of Gull’s close friends had been another woman, at least in the latter half of the book, for once Gull joins her people, all her equals are men. Still Gull makes for interesting center to the story. Graham’s use of Gull as a Sybil allows her to bring in fantasy elements, but with a light touch. Additionally, these elements allow Graham to explore the different faiths that were swirling around – and it makes for rather interesting and apt references.
At first, I thought she sounded too much like Siri, but as the book went along I realize that her inflection was intentional to try and capture Gull. It actually worked quite well and upon reflection, seems to be close to that of an actual oracle.
Disclaimer: The publisher of this audio book gave me a free copy in return for a fair and honest review.
Black Ships is one of those books that are going to set some people’s teeth on edge. If you are a purist when it comes to Virgil’s Aeneid or Homer’s Iliad, the chances of you enjoying this book are low. If you don’t mind changes, not only in perspective but in plot sequence, you should enjoy it.
I am a wee bit over the half a century mark in years. I enjoy audiobooks,cats,rats and most days my family,not necessarily in that order!lo
This is a sweeping tale of a family.It starts with a childhood injury leading to an oracle ,cities lost and found and loss.It is full of historical and mythical themes.A good read!
Gigi Shane did a great job with the narration.
I was gifted a copy of this audiobook for an honest review.
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