Title: A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus
Author: David Blixt, Amalia Carosella, Libbie Hawker, Scott Oden, Vicky Alvear Schecter, Russell Whitfield, and Gary Corby
Publisher: Knight Media, LLC
Publish Date: October 17, 2017
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Odysseus, infamous trickster of Troy, vaunted hero of the Greeks, left behind a wake of chaos and despair during his decade long journey home to Ithaca. Lovers and enemies, witches and monsters—no one who tangled with Odysseus emerged unscathed. Some prayed for his return, others, for his destruction. These are their stories…
A beleaguered queen’s gambit for maintaining power unravels as a son plots vengeance.
A tormented siren battles a goddess’s curse and the forces of nature to survive.
An exiled sorceress defies a lustful captain and his greedy crew.
A blinded shepherd swears revenge on the pirate-king who mutilated him.
A beautiful empress binds a shipwrecked sailor to servitude, only to wonder who is serving whom.
A young suitor dreams of love while a returned king conceives a savage retribution.
Six authors bring to life the epic tale of The Odyssey seen through the eyes of its shattered victims—the monsters, witches, lovers, and warriors whose lives were upended by the antics of the “man of many faces.” You may never look upon this timeless epic—and its iconic ancient hero—in quite the same way again."
My Two Cents:
"A Sea of Sorrow" is the story of Odysseus. It is an anthology and the latest offering from the H team, a bunch of powerhouse historical fiction writers. Like their previous offerings, this anthology packs a punch and I am so happy to see anthologies cross over to the historical fiction realm where they don't seem to be found often. After reading this book and the other H team books, it is very perplexing to me as to why this is.
It is no wonder that Odysseus makes for a great retelling. His story has everything: adventure, mystical beings, and a great journey. This book covers many of the monsters and men that Odysseus meets while he makes his way home. Oden covers the KyKlops (who is given much more depth and motive than the original). Carosella explains what sirens really might have been, which is fascinating. And then of course, there is Blixt's story of the infamous Calypso.
While Odysseus acts as a shadow over much of the book, he doesn't actually appear all that much. Shecter's first story covers Ithaca while Odysseus is away and what it does to his wife and son. She follows his return in the Epilogue, when he comes to terms with what he left and the effects it had. We finally get to see Odysseus in Whitfield's story as he returns home and what he is met with.
My favorite story in the book was Libbie Hawker's story of Circe, Odysseus's sorceress. Hawker seeks to explain that Circe doesn't truly see herself as someone with supernatural powers of the kind Odysseus gives her in the Odyssey. As with many people of the day, Circe believes in the higher powers of the gods and goddesses but with more of a grain of salt than the stories of Odysseus would previously have us believe. Hawker hits on something that has seemed to hit women throughout time: don't do something a man wants? You must be cold. You must be a bitch. Circe definitely doesn't do what Odysseus and his men want so was she really a witch or did Odysseus just make that up because he didn't get what he wanted? I think this story hit me hardest because its something that has very much been on my mind in the political realm that we are currently living through. Oh, it's so good!
And do yourself a favor: read the author's notes. It was fascinating to see what the authors were thinking about when they were writing each of their sections. If you're looking for adventure and a way to see an old myth in new light, this is the book for you.