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Ascendant, The
Alethea Crowe

6 1/4" x 9 1/4" • 380 pages
ISBN 9780704373587 • hardback • $36.00

According to Homer's Odyssey, the daughters of Pandareus, though innocents both nurtured and favored by goddesses, were ordained by Zeus to be tormented by the hateful Furies. No hero is sent to save them. No mutiny, no uproar, not a single protest is recorded against the injustice. Generations of Homer lovers have perforce accepted this prime example of callous indifference by Olympians. Not so Alethea Crowe, who has gestated a well-argued revisionist construct to explain if not excuse the gods' behavior. To make her case, the enigmatic professor connects and throws fresh light on those parts of the creation story and the myth of Tantalus that most strain credulity. The author brings to life the family of Olympians with fond affection. Meet straitlaced Hera daring a bamboo chair to collapse under her. Ferrari-driving Hermes overly jealous of his reputation. Aphrodite having difficulty with time. And Dionysus, the would-be thespian, who alone among them shares a very human passion. Gods and humans take their turn on stage. Mortal protagonists prove expendable. One by one they meet a violent end as Ascendant Zeus, menacing offstage presence, orchestrates the daughters' fate. But perhaps Zeus' power is not what it once was, and a new "Ascendant" is waiting, unbeknownst, in the wings. Suspense builds up chapter by chapter throughout the author's unique page-turner, all the way to its moving and memorable climax.

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