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The King Must Die; The Bull from the Sea: Introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics Series) (Hardcover)
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A hardcover omnibus edition of the two classic novels in which Mary Renault brilliantly recreated the legendary hero Theseus and his defeat of the Minotaur. CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS.
In her inventive novels of ancient Greece, Mary Renault performs the alchemical feats of fashioning from the myth of Theseus a convincingly flawed hero and of weaving a thrillingly plausible account of the events that inspired the fantastical tale of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur.
The King Must Die follows young Theseus from his mystery-shrouded birth and youthful insecurity about his small size, through his growing strength and ingenuity to a dawning belief in his destiny. When teenaged Theseus sets out to join his true father, the King of Athens, he is delayed by unforeseen adventures: first by a perilous forced sojourn in the matriarchal society of Eleusis and next when he volunteers to join the annual tribute of Athenian youths sent to be sacrificed to a bull-worshipping cult on the island of Crete. Once trapped in the labyrinthine palace of King Minos, Theseus enlists the help of the high priestess Ariadne in a daring plan to free the Athenians forever from the dominance of Crete.
The Bull from the Sea begins after Theseus’s triumphal return to Athens, where he finds that his father has died and he is now king. But his confidence in his divinely ordained destiny will be shaken by the adventures yet ahead of him: a life-changing encounter with Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons; the birth of a son who will insist on choosing his own path; and the tragic results of his wife Phaedra’s treachery. Combining her deep understanding of the cultures of the ancient Greek world with inspired speculation, Renault brings the heroes and monsters of legend enthrallingly to life.
Everyman's Library pursues the highest production standards, printing on acid-free cream-colored paper, with full-cloth cases with two-color foil stamping, decorative endpapers, silk ribbon markers, European-style half-round spines, and a full-color illustrated jacket. Contemporary Classics include an introduction, a select bibliography, and a chronology of the author's life and times.
About the Author
MARY RENAULT (1905–1983) was the author of more than a dozen novels. She was born in London, educated at Oxford, and trained as a nurse. After World War II she and her life partner, Julie Mullard, settled in South Africa and traveled widely in Africa and Greece. This was when she began writing her historical novels, including The King Must Die, The Last of the Wine, and The Persian Boy, and a biography of Alexander the Great, The Nature of Alexander.
About the Introducer: DANIEL MENDELSOHN is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. His books include the international best seller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; a memoir, The Elusive Embrace, a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; and An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic. He is the author of the definitive English translation of the Complete Poems of C. P. Cavafy and of two collections of essays. He teaches literature at Bard College.
“Renault’s historical novels . . . are among the finest ever written.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A remarkable accomplishment . . . Pure fictional gold." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Excellent entertainment . . . What Renault has done, and done with consummate beauty, is to breathe life and light into the faces of heroic personages.” —The New York Times Book Review