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Adult fiction: Myth and Legend

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Page: 123

Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Publisher: Bloomsbury (2018)

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, vengeful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home. There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. Breathing life into the ancient world, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.

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Enemy Of God

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Part of a series: The Warlord Chronicles

Publisher: Penguin (2011)

Following a hard-fought victory, Arthur appears to have at last won the unity of the British Kingdoms. He turns his attention towards the invading Saxons, while Merlin begins a quest to uncover the sacred Treasures of Britain, believing they will bring the might of the old Gods behind Arthur for one last decisive battle. But the quest soon unravels the fragile peace, as bitter rivalries come to the fore and threaten to undo Arthur's successes, while those closest to him move to betrayal.

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Excalibur

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Part of a series: The Warlord Chronicles

Publisher: Penguin (2011)

Arthur has crushed Lancelot's rebellion, but at a cost. Guinevere's betrayal has left him reeling, and his Saxon enemies seek to destroy him while he is weak. Chaos threatens to engulf Britain. Yet Arthur is a military genius and noble leader. As the battle draws close, he prepares to fight his way to victory at Mount Badon and also win back the woman he lost. But in the final journey of the warlord, the intrigues of Mordred, now the adult heir to the throne of Britain, and the magics of the priestess Nimue could prove to be Arthur's downfall.

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Fantastic Fables

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2014)

Ambrose Bierce was a journalist and satirist, working in the late 1800s and renowned for his caustic wit. His style of writing may be challenging for the modern reader, being rather verbose and containing contemporary vernacular. But if you can get past this, you will be rewarded with being entertained by his sardonic humour, which often takes the form of truly hilarious jibes at politicians and the upper classes.There are no morals as such to these 245 very, very short fables but each contains a message to the reader. A good book to pick up at odd moments.

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Gates Of Fire

Author: Steven Pressfield

Publisher: Doubleday (1998)

GO TELL THE SPARTANS, STRANGE PASSING BY, THAT HERE, OBEDIENCE TO THEIR LAWS, WE LIE. Nearly 2,500 years ago, in 480 BC, at a bleak pass in a far flung corner of eastern Greece, three hundred Spartan warriors faced the army of King Xerxes of Persia, a massive force rumoured to be over a million strong. Their orders were simple to delay the enemy for as long as possible while the main Greek armies mobilised. For six days the Spartans held the invaders at bay. In the final hours, their shields broken, swords and spears shattered, they fought with their bare hands and teeth before being overwhelmed. It was a battle that would become synonymous with extraordinary courage, heroism and self-sacrifice. Its name was Thermopylae. Gates of Fire tells the epic story of those legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shape our history and have themselves become immortal as their gods. 'Breathtakingly brillianta work of rare genius. Savour it!' David Gemmell 'A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and wara new classic, deserving a place beside the very best of the old. 'Stephen Coonts 'ExcellentPressfield has succeeded in recreating an ancient world and telling a rousing and moving story. Yorkshire Post

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Hannibal - Clouds Of War

Author: Ben Kane

Part of a series: Hannibal

Publisher: Arrow (2014)

213 BC. Syracuse. Under the merciless Sicilian sun, a city is at war. Outside the walls, a vast Roman army waits. Yet the city’s incredible defences, designed by Archimedes, mean that Syracuse will not be taken easily. A veteran of the bitter war since its beginning, Quintus is ready to give his life in the service of the Republic. But dangers face him from within his own ranks as well as from the enemy - who include his former friend, the Carthaginian, Hanno. Hanno has been sent by his general Hannibal to aid Syracuse in its fight against Rome. Pledged to bring death to all Romans, he is diverted from his mission by the discovery of Quintus’ sister Aurelia, a captive within the city. Two friends on opposing sides. A woman caught between them. They are about to meet in one of the most brutal sieges of all time. Who will survive?

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Jason And The Argonauts

Author: Apollonius of Rhodes

Publisher: Penguin Books (1995)

Written in the third century BC, the story of Jason and the Argonauts has thrilled adventure lovers for ages. A noble band of heroes sets out from Greece aboard the ship Argo in search of the fabled Golden Fleece of a magical ram. Under the watchful gaze of the gods, they encounter obstacles both horrible and seductive that test their very limits. This selection is taken from E. V. Rieu’s stirring translation of the Argonautica, published in full as The Voyage of Argo in Penguin Classics.

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Murder Most Royal

Author: Jean Plaidy

Part of a series: The Tudors

Publisher: Random House (2006)

The fifth book in Jean Plaidy's Tudor series telling the tragic stories of two Queens betrayed and beheaded - Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. At the decadent French court of King François, the young Anne Boleyn grows into an enigmatic and striking woman, a temptation to many courtiers. But whilst Anne's ambitions are high, she has learned from her sister's unfortunate reputation. Unlike Mary, Anne refuses to become even a King's mistress. So when Anne returns to the English court of Henry VIII, it is the King who is led a dance by this mysterious young beauty. Before long Henry is lured away from his stale marriage to Katharine of Aragon. But the new Queen Anne is not loved by the people, and it is only a matter of time before Henry's patience runs out...

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Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold

Author: Stephen Fry

Publisher: Michael Joseph (2017)

From the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind, Stephen Fry - who fell in love with these stories as a child - retells these myths for our tragic, comic, fateful age. Witness Athena born from the cracking open of Zeus's great head and follow Persephone down into the dark realm of Hades. Experience the terrible and endless fate of Prometheus after his betrayal of Zeus and shiver as Pandora opens her jar of evil torments.

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Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: Bloomsbury (2018)

The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman's own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction. Now he reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales. Gaiman's gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarok and the twilight of the gods. Galvanised by Gaiman's prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.

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