Title: Oracle’s War
Author: David Hair & Cath Mayo
Series: Olympus Trilogy #2
Genre: Mythological/Historical Fiction
Published: April 29th, 2019 (Canelo)
Synopsis: When Prince Odysseus is sent on a quest to recover his family honour, he’s led to Delos where a mysterious new prophecy has captivated the gods. Caught in a tangled web of intrigue, he discovers that this prophecy is tied to his own destiny and the fate of his patron goddess, Athena.
With the future of his people hanging by a thread, Odysseus, the daemon Bria, the hero Diomedes and a small band of loyal Ithacans, must unveil the truth before it’s too late. But opposing them is Tiresias, the greatest seer of the age, who will do anything to burn his own vision onto the face of history.
Caught between the prophecy, the gods and his mortal enemies, Odysseus must start a war: one that may be impossible to win…
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Canelo for providing me with an ARC of this book. I really enjoyed the first book in the series and so was very excited to be offered the opportunity to read and review this sequel!
Odysseus has returned home to Ithaca after his adventures and fallen back into routine, albeit an uneasy one, now that his entire family is aware of his heritage. Not for long though, as chaos descends upon his sister Ctimene’s wedding, Odysseus sets out once more to avenge his family honour, accompanied by Bria, and Athena’s newest champion, Diomedes.
He appears to have made a dangerous enemy however, as the sorcerer who ruined his sister’s wedding turns out to be none other than the great seer Tiresias of Thebes. But a new prophecy has been given, and all of Achaea is in a tizzy as parties from across the Mediterranean race to Delos with the hope of uncovering the details of this closely guarded prediction. The Trojans are not far behind, and as they continue to plot their expansion to invade Achaea, this is an important piece of information for them to gain – and control.
The conflict between the gods, though few of them actually appear in person in this book, is ever crucial. With every oracle so far having prophesied the destruction of Achaea at the hands of the Trojans, many of the gods have been focussed on extending their influence eastward to Troy so as to survive. But this newest prophecy throws into question all others. It hints that Thebes, the impregnable city, may be conquered after all. And if one prophecy can be wrong, so can others. Of course, Odysseus finds himself right at the centre of this mess as he finds out that this newest prophecy seems to directly affect his own destiny.
Oracle’s War delves even deeper into the Greek myths, this time turning the focus to Thebes, the city that was said to be unconquerable. As with the first book, I really enjoyed the twist the authors put on well-known myths including Oedipus, the Seven Against Thebes and the War of the Epigoni. I found it really interesting that this book revolves heavily around prophecy, and the power the oracles held over people at the time. The discussions on the nature of prophecy were very thought-provoking in particular.
When it comes to character development, it’s easy to see just how far Odysseus has come. In Athena’s Champion, he was an untried teenager, trying to find his place in the world, but this – this was more like the Odysseus of legend, the strategist, the tactical thinker, visible especially in how skilled he has become in getting his way through words alone, such as when he was attempting to incite the Epigoni to go to war – he knows exactly where to strike. As he puts it: “Most Achaean warriors – nine in ten of them – think of honour first and all else second. That’s the breed: it’s all about their precious name, their repute, their prowess.” Many old faces return, and a few interesting new ones are introduced: Penelope among them. She was about the last character I expected to see at this stage and I did not initially recognize that link, but it was a welcome surprise.
At this stage though, I am extremely curious as to how this story is going to wrap up in just one more book. The plot is still focussed on events prior to the Iliad and the Trojan War and there is still so much left to tell. I for one am very interested to see how the authors are going to interpret this with their own style. The other thing I noted with this book was that while it is nice to have some prior knowledge of the myths (and it definitely provides more depth to the reading experience if you do), it is laid out and explained in such a manner that even those who are unfamiliar with the tales can catch on very easily. Lastly, despite this series being based on myths and legends, the narration style does not reflect it at all – something I would normally be wary of as a modern tone tends to detract from the tale, but it continues to surprise me just how well it suits.
Overall, Oracle’s War had a much more ominous tone to it, but despite the serious plot, there is humour to be found in unexpected places. Fast-paced and action-packed, this sequel is a must read for fans of Greek mythology.
Other reviews in this series: