The Bull from the Sea

The Bull from the Sea - Mary Renault, Julie Doughty My introduction to Mary Renault was The King Must Die, the first of two novels about Theseus--it was actually assigned reading in high school. What impressed me so much there was how she took a figure out of myth and grounded him historically. After that I quickly gobbled up all of Renault's works of historical fiction set in Ancient Greece. The two novels about Theseus and the trilogy centered on Alexander the Great are undoubtedly her most famous of those eight novels. This book is the sequel to The King Must Die. It's no less remarkable in taking the bare bones of myth and giving it flesh, transporting you into the world of the past and making Theseus credible as a person who lived and breathed, and not some fantastic figure. If I enjoyed this less--well, it's definitely the more melancholy work. The King Must Die was about Theseus the hero, and it's a great adventure story. This one, well, is more Greek tragedy than Greek myth, and after falling in love with Theseus in the first book, it's sad to read of his undoing. I'd still name this one of the best works of historical fiction I've ever read, one that cemented my love of historical fiction and fed a hunger to learn more about Ancient Greece.