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In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle. Daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, chosen at the age of seven to be the voice of the Lady of the Dead, she is destined to counsel kings.
When nine black ships appear, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must decide between the life she was born for and a most perilous adventure - to join the remnant of her mother's people in their desperate flight. From the doomed bastions of the City of Pirates to the temples of Byblos, from the intrigues of the Egyptian court to the haunted caves beneath Mount Vesuvius, only Gull can guide Prince Aeneas on his quest, and only she can dare the gate of the Underworld to lead him to his destiny.
In the last shadowed days of the Age of Bronze, one woman dreams of the world beginning anew. This is her story.
Just as Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon breathed new life into Arthurian legend, BLACK SHIPS evokes the world of ancient Greece with beautiful, haunting prose, extraordinary imagination, and a profoundly moving story.
Agamemnon Nestor (King): In The Iliad and The Odyssey, the king of Pylos, an ally of Agamemnon Nubia: during the reign of Ramses III, a tributary kingdom of Egypt located southward along the Nile in modern-day Sudan Patroclus: In The Iliad, the companion (or lover) of Achilles who is killed before the walls of Troy, thus stirring Achilles to vengeance Pearl: one of Neas’ warships, captained by Maris Polyra: one of the Wilusan women captives in the second war, mother of a nine-year-old son
that. This time they have burned it all, and killed everyone who was not taken as a prize of war. There are none left to rebuild, and the men of Tiryns winter on the ruins before they raid the Lydian coast.” “But you and your men?” I asked. “The fleet was at sea,” he said shortly. “We are all that is left.” “Nine warships,” I said, remembering my dream of the burning city, “and three fishing boats. Some capsized running the blockade and some burned in the water. Seven Sisters and Dolphin,
perhaps passed out again, but there was no fever. Six of us huddled there in a cabin that tapered from a hand span at the front to the height of a man at the back, a cabin only a little longer in length than my height, and only tall enough for me to sit upright. We did not speak. The only one who could lie down was Bai, and that with his head in my lap and his feet at the point of the prow. The child fell asleep on his mother’s lap. He, at least, was not sick. One of the rowers smiled. “He’s
five hundred,” Xandros said. “That’s a hundred five times.” He reached over and squeezed my hand. “Don’t worry,” he said. “It will be all right.” Ahead, we heard a muffled shout, almost lost in the rain. “Wait,” Xandros said. He finished his count. Then Xandros rolled the gate open again, and we piled out into the driving rain, my hand under Tia’s elbow on the slippery street. Neas came back to us. In the faint light I could see that his sword was dark with blood. He leaned close to Xandros,
their swords, and said as much to Jamarados. “Lady,” he said, “you do not know fighting men. It was all Neas could do in Byblos to keep men from pursuing their honor fights with the Achaians, and none more so than Xandros. Do you think we forget our wives and families? Do you think we forget what we’ve lost? I don’t think there’s a man among us who isn’t relieved to finally have a chance to get some back against the Achaians.” “Didn’t you get some back in Pylos?” I asked. “Surely that counts