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The King Must Die (1958)

por Mary Renault

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Theseus Myth (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,314504,908 (3.98)140
New York Times Bestseller: This retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus, king of Athens, is "one of the truly fine historical novels of modern times" (The New York Times).   In myth, Theseus was the slayer of the child-devouring Minotaur in Crete. What the founder-hero might have been in real life is another question, brilliantly explored in The King Must Die. Drawing on modern scholarship and archaeological findings at Knossos, Mary Renault's Theseus is an utterly lifelike figure--a king of immense charisma, whose boundless strivings flow from strength and weakness--but also one steered by implacable prophecy. The story follows Theseus's adventures from Troizen to Eleusis, where the death in the book's title is to take place, and from Athens to Crete, where he learns to jump bulls and is named king of the victims. Richly imbued with the spirit of its time, this is a page-turner as well as a daring act of imagination. Renault's story of Theseus continues with the sequel The Bull from the Sea. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.… (mais)
  1. 40
    Black Ships por Jo Graham (_Zoe_)
    _Zoe_: Both take a legendary/mythological story and bring it to life in a plausible historical world.
  2. 20
    The Song of Achilles por Madeline Miller (wrmjr66)
  3. 20
    The Song of Troy por Colleen McCullough (_Zoe_)
  4. 31
    The Odyssey por Homer (alalba)
  5. 10
    The Mark of the Horse Lord por Rosemary Sutcliff (gwernin)
    gwernin: A view of sacred kingship among the Celts.
  6. 00
    The Hunger Games por Suzanne Collins (sturlington)
    sturlington: The tributes of the bull dancers are similar to the tributes to the Hunger Games and Collins has said she was inspired by the Theseus myth.
  7. 00
    Goddess of Yesterday por Caroline B. Cooney (cmbohn)
    cmbohn: Another look at ancient culture and their relationship with the gods.
  8. 12
    The Mists of Avalon por Marion Zimmer Bradley (krasiviye.slova)
    krasiviye.slova: Similar decline and fall of the matriarchy theme, with different spins.
  9. 02
    Memoirs of Hadrian por Marguerite Yourcenar (Waysider)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 51 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
The story of the legendary Greek hero Theseus, told in exciting action-heavy prose, with a surprising eye to historical plausibility.

The myth of Theseus is particularly interesting from a historical perspective, because it was long thought that the Minoans of Crete were mostly mythological. Historical sources that tell the story of Theseus set the events in the ancient past. It wasn't until the 1920's that archaeologists dug up the palace at Knossos and documented the seat of Minoan civilization in detail.

This book, written in the 1950's, takes all of the details of the myth and imagines them through the lens of the available historical facts. There are very few anachronisms in this book. The ways that the people behave align perfectly with the world they are presented within. Theseus behaves like an ancient Greek, speaking and making decisions with the tone and priorities of a hero from the Iliad, but with the warmth and realism of a solid contemporary depiction. Theseus is bold, principled, honorable, and foolish. He is proud of himself and shamelessly absurdly horny, but with a layer of vulnerability and realistic self-awareness that comes across as charming. Theseus loves deeply and his perspective is usually generous, though some aspects of his character distance him from the modern reader: most notably his casual familiarity with death and killing.
( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
I've loved Greek (and Roman) myths since I was a kid. I remember fighting with a third-grade classmate over which of us got to check out D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths first when the school library bought it (I got to it; my friend went on to become a professor of classics... I should have let him have it first. Sorry, Paul.). I am not a scholar or a historian, but remember many of the tales well. Daniel Mendelsohn recently wrote a touching essay about what Mary Renault's novels meant to him when he was a teenager, smitten by the classics amidst personal angst. He wrote to her, she wrote back, and they sustained an affectionate epistolary relationship till her death. So I was eager to plunge in for myself, and see what Renault did to bring the ancient Greek world, its customs, beliefs, arts, and, in this case, the hero Theseus to life.

Which, for the most part, she does quite wonderfully. The writing is graceful, with a vivid feel for the country, the palaces, the mountains, and its people. It may feel a bit decorated, a bit mannered, which may date it for some tastes. I especially liked how she translated the "magical" episodes of monsters and miracles, gods and curses, into a believable, "natural" reality - Minos becomes an isolated king, disfigured from leprosy, who hides away deep in his palace, wearing a golden mask of a bull to cover his diseased countenance. The tales feel genuine, and a modern reader might easily say, yes, this could very well be how it happened.

The trouble is... Theseus. Theseus is a jerk. He is arrogant, condescending, egotistical, promiscuous, and is forever banging on about his sacred "pride." He kills without compunction, he ridicules other cultures not as macho as his. He believes in his heart he is the god Poseidon's chosen son, so whatever he does is fine because the god supposedly has approved of it. He is also smart, talented, strategic, clever, and brave. But when it comes to women.... Now, I *know* that this is fiction. I *know* that Renault's intent may have been to try to depict Theseus and his time as they were, complete with prejudices, and an appalling contempt for women everywhere he goes. Women are toys, or war booty (the "girls" are divided up along with the gold, the arms, the war horses, etc. to the victors). They are dismissed as entirely silly, selfish, cruel, superficial, cunning, helpless or just a nuisance... or childish, pretty, and f*ckable. The entire city of Eleusis is overjoyed to be "released" by Theseus from a horrible era where the government is run by women. Powerful women are either goddesses (and even then they are fickle, jealous, vengeful, and not to be trusted) or an abomination. So... I puzzle over Renault's intent. How does a woman writer - a gay woman writer - decide to depict women so dreadfully? Of course, we are being given Theseus's own thoughts and point of view throughout, but it's not clear whether this is meant to be an admiring portrait, a truthful portrayal of how women in that society were viewed and treated, or a cautionary tale. All told, I found Theseus to be very annoying company for many pages.

Well, all that said, there are some intimations of growth in the callow young hero. He gets a little smarter about persuasion and leadership. He actually learns to admire and value the skills that the young sacrificial "girls" bring to the bull arena. There are some moments when Theseus comments that now that he is old, with a string of tragedies behind him, he might not have done or said such a thing, or behaved in such a way. So perhaps, in volume 2, our hero's hubris receives its due, and he learns the hard way to be a better man. I'll stick around to find out. ( )
1 vote JulieStielstra | May 17, 2021 |
Unfortunately “The King Must Die” was a disappointment. I was expecting something more like [a:David Gemmell|11586|David Gemmell|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1202771023p2/11586.jpg]’s epic re-imagination of the fall of Troy; a masterpiece recast of a legendary myth.

Part of the novel’s problem lies with its one-man cast. Theseus is neither a conflicted nor complex hero -- he’s emotionally detached, a little bit narcissistic and adheres to a strict moral code, but not in the interesting “Dexter” way. The story really suffers from the first person POV and, perhaps, could have been stronger with the addition of other characters.

The second problem was the slow-moving plot-line -- things only spiced up after the half-way point of the book! Although, the first part was necessary to explain Theseus’ actions in Crete, it was a boring necessity. And even when the plot picked up some pace, it spluttered into a halt, never really reaching a climax.

However, “The King Must Die” is not an overall failure. Moments where the myth shines through -- the Minotaur, the string, Ariadne’s fate -- were imaginative and inspirational. ( )
  meerapatel | Dec 29, 2020 |
He wrestles, he sings,
dances with bulls, saves the girl!
Tad forgetful, though. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
historical, Greece ( )
  librarygoodman | Jan 12, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 51 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Renault comes up with many ingenious and plausible solutions to the riddles posed by trying to place the legends into a historical context.

You’ll find excitement and beauty, philosophy and action, danger and fulfillment — all the very best qualities of a myth retold.
adicionada por elenchus | editarEmerald City Book Review (Mar 15, 2017)
 
adicionada por Shortride | editarThe New York Times, William du Bois (sítio Web pago) (Jul 14, 1958)
 
A novel to be read with pleasure and great excitement.
adicionada por Shortride | editarSaturday Review, Granville Hicks (Jul 12, 1958)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (11 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Mary Renaultautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Bark, MimiDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bianciardi, LucianoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
DESMONTS, AntonioTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dyer, KrisNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Goldberg, CarinDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hemmer Hansen, EvaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hughes, BettanyIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mirlas, LeónTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rush, JohnArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rychlíková, OlgaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Scarpi, N. O.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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But it is death for men to spy on women's mysteries.
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New York Times Bestseller: This retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus, king of Athens, is "one of the truly fine historical novels of modern times" (The New York Times).   In myth, Theseus was the slayer of the child-devouring Minotaur in Crete. What the founder-hero might have been in real life is another question, brilliantly explored in The King Must Die. Drawing on modern scholarship and archaeological findings at Knossos, Mary Renault's Theseus is an utterly lifelike figure--a king of immense charisma, whose boundless strivings flow from strength and weakness--but also one steered by implacable prophecy. The story follows Theseus's adventures from Troizen to Eleusis, where the death in the book's title is to take place, and from Athens to Crete, where he learns to jump bulls and is named king of the victims. Richly imbued with the spirit of its time, this is a page-turner as well as a daring act of imagination. Renault's story of Theseus continues with the sequel The Bull from the Sea. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.

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