Twists on Classic Tales

I found books by Mary Renault on a library shelf when I was in high school, and they inspired a love of books based on mythology. The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea flesh out the story of Theseus who kills the Minotaur on Crete. Here are some other, more recent, novels based on myths or on works by Homer or Virgil.

The King Must Die by Mary Renault         The Bull From the Sea by Mary Renault

Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin

House of Names by Colm Toibin

Ursula Le Guin is perhaps better known for her science fiction, including the children’s Earthsea series. In Lavinia, Le Guin weaves a story about a minor character who appears near the end of Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid.

Clytemnestra, the wife of King Agamemnon is the protagonist of House of Names by Colm Toibin. Depicted in the Odyssey and the Iliad as a murderous mother in search of vengeance, Clytemnestra may evoke some sympathy when you’ve heard her side of the story.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller  Circe by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller soared up the bestseller lists with her two stand-alone novels The Song of Achilles and Circe. Both books bring a deeper understanding to relationships found in the original works of Homer and show the dangers faced by those who dare to anger the gods.

The last three titles are all focused on the events of the Trojan War, but told from different perspectives. That’s what makes retellings so much fun!

Song of Kings by Barry Unsworth A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker