Return to Ithaca by Glyn Iliffe

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It is with a great sadness that I say goodbye to Odysseus and company (for the time being).  This epic series, so brilliantly conceived and written, has come to it’s conclusion.  Throughout my life of reading I have periodically gone back and reread a book or a series of books.  This practice has been decidedly put on hold the last few years as my humble book reviewing blog has garnered the attention of many authors who now ask me to read and review their work.  That coupled with my own novel writing has put a crimp in going back to reread any of my favorites.  The Adventures of Odysseus series may change that.  Whether it is because ancient Greek history was my first love or because the author has written some damned good books, I will be rereading this series.

The story of Odysseus comes to a close as he returns to Ithaca to reclaim his home, his throne and his family.  The emotional roller coaster ride the main characters experience is the highlight of this volume.  Odysseus, Eperitus, Telemachus and Penelope go through the gamut of doubt and fear; hope and happiness as they battle the scheming suitors for the right to rule.  The story is well known and it is a credit to the author for taking it and making it his own, giving the reader a fresh look at this ancient tale.  5 stars

King of Ithaca by Glyn Iliffe

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King of Ithaca is the first book in this series about the Greek warrior and hero Odysseus.  The story begins with Laertes still the King but there is a revolt brewing that threatens to remove Laertes and his line as the royal family.  Odysseus is consulting the oracle on Mt. Parnassus about his future.  It is this journey where he meets the other main protagonist of the book, Eperitus, an exiled prince looking to find glory under a new lord.  The Odysseus in this story is not portrayed in the Homeric mode but is rather more human than mythic.  His crafty like nature is not some spur of the moment inspiration, instead Odysseus wrestles with each problem to find solutions.  There is doubt and anguish involved in the process.  This very human quality is found in all of the characters involved including the three main women in the story, Helen, Penelope and the most formidable of them, Clytaemnestra.

In juxtaposition to the human equation we find a taste of the Olympians mainly in the portrayal of Athena.  She has promised to lend her aid to Odysseus in his quest to reclaim the throne of Ithaca but you know Olympians, they can be a bit fickle at times and Odysseus knows this.

There are many scenes of action, battles with human foes and one with a monster in the mythic tradition, and a sort of humorous scene of the hero Ajax entering the hall of Tyndareus in Sparta.  He reminded me somewhat of Angus Donald’s Little John but on steroids.  There are also a few well placed quirks in the story line that make one pause for a second to negotiate an unexpected turn in the road.  It is a very enjoyable account of my favorite Greek hero, Odysseus and look forward to continuing his story in the sequel.  This book rates a strong 4 stars.