Scroll down to read an Excerpt from CLYTEMNESTRA: THE MOTHER'S BLADE
Clytemnestra: The Mother’s Blade tells the story of Clytemnestra, sister to Helen of Troy and wife of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan War. Clytemnestra, though often overshadowed by her more famous sister, was more powerful in her own right.
Clytemnestra is going to be released on September 1, 2017, but you can order it today! Just click on the picture and it will take you to the Kindle edition. There will be a print version, but that cannot be ordered yet.
Here’s a review from Bob Mielke, a professor of English at Truman State University:
With Clytemnestra: The Mother’s Blade the Tapestry of Bronze series authored by Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood achieves a soaring new height. After previously making us rethink -- and re-experience -- such famed Greek women as Jocasta, Niobe and Antigone, they have dared to reimagine for us Clytemnestra: the murderous wife of Agamemnon and mother of avenging Orestes. Previously known to us as Sophocles’ villainess, especially as rolled into Lady Macbeth and Queen Gertrude by Shakespeare, Clytemnestra is here given the consideration it turns out she so richly deserves. Although second wave feminist revisionings certainly are a catalyst for such seeming subversions, a simple exploration of the mythological and quasi-historical record would suffice to show that Clytemnestra had most ample justification for her startling actions.
Rest assured that this is no mere act of feminist historical revisionism (not that there’s anything wrong with that per se!). Clytemnestra: The Mother’s Blade is the most action-packed and thrilling Tapestry of Bronze novel yet. One can imagine Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway drooling over this retelling at the prospect of playing such a character onscreen. Audaciously, the Trojan War is a mere sideshow in this incident-laden and surprisingly moving tale. It’s all a matter of perspective.
In sum, this book has it all: the intellectual act of re-envisioning the distant Hellenic past as plausible historical fact, the uncanny retelling of some very familiar stories in a strikingly new way and the pleasures of a thrilling beach read -- all at once. There are even a few distant echoes of the present in this vividly imagined antiquity. As wise old Nestor notes, “It is easy to make promises before one takes power, but difficult to keep them afterwards.” And war, Tyndareus cautions, “is a ruler’s weightiest decision, and should not be taken lightly” -- be it with Thebes, Mycenae, Troy, Venezuela or North Korea. Agamemnon is dead; long live Agamemnon....
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Excerpt from CLYTEMNESTRA: The Mother’s Blade
The urn feels heavy for its size. Does blood, wonders the queen, weigh more than wine? She has never considered the matter before.
Perhaps her burden is heavy because she has been carrying it so long.
She glances in the direction of the graves; her jaw tightens. Yes. Long before she filled the urn with blood and water, she carried this burden. But she will release it soon.
“May I take that for you, my lady queen?” offers a bodyguard.
She tells him no, and heads down the gravel path. Her guards accompany her without further question.
The dead, they say, yearn for blood. Surely this will satisfy the thirst of her darling children: not the blood of a mere ram or bull, but the life essence that flowed through the veins of the High King.
It is fitting.
Reaching the graves, she tells her men to stand watch at a distance; her words will be private. She warns the guards that she expects to be here much of the night: they are not to disturb her unless there is an emergency.
The graves are not new. The one dug more recently she approaches first, for the little one within it died much earlier – years before his bones received royal rites. Carved into the marble stele is an image that could be any infant boy; the stonecutter never knew her son. But she, Clytemnestra, still recalls the softness of her firstborn’s cheeks, the scent of his downy hair.
The queen pours a stream of red-tinted liquid onto the earth at the stele’s base. “Be at peace, Letreus.”
Perhaps she should not think of him as a baby. Had he lived, Letreus would be past twenty – a man full grown. Would he resemble his father? Or, born of her flesh, be more like her handsome brothers?
The twins, she reflects, died when they were not much older than Letreus would be now.
Dead, so many dead!
Stepping to the neighboring grave, she pours out more blood and water. The image of the girl carved into the marker stone blurs as tears fill the queen’s eyes. She blinks them away: even alone with her dead children, she will not show weakness.
“Be at peace, Iphigenia.”
She sets the urn on the earth between the two graves and watches paired stains spread across the dirt, remembering the bright crimson of her daughter’s blood on the altar that became her bier. Had Iphigenia lived, by now she could be a mother herself. But the man who called himself High King – father of his innocent victim! – stole that future too.
Overdue, this grave-offering. Her children’s ghosts must wonder why it has taken her so long.
She knows their questions. Why didn’t you protect me? Iphigenia’s voice: sweet and pure, but carrying the rebuke Clytemnestra deserves.
And Letreus – no baby’s cry, but a young man’s voice: Mother? Is that you?
“I’m sorry, my son.”
How many years did you live with my murderer? Not just anger: astonishment, horror and disgust. How many children did you bear him?
She addresses his grave. “At first, after he killed you, I did not want to live.”
But then I would never have been born. That remark, that voice, belongs to Iphigenia.
“That’s true. And you gave me a new reason to live, my dear.” The queen sighs, contemplating the past: mistakes, crimes, hesitations.
A girlish voice – imagined, or has the offering truly roused the shades? – interrupts her reverie. What happened, Mama?
The male voice: Tell us, Mother. I know so little – about you, about my sisters and my brother, about the man who killed me.
Now that Agamemnon is finally dead, his blood seeping into the earth, Clytemnestra is free to speak.
“I will tell you everything.”
Clytemnestra’s Family Tree (relevant portion)
Agamemnon’s Family Tree (relevant portion
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The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of interlocking novels set in ancient Greece, starting several generations before the Trojan War. Archaeological evidence indicates that this “Golden Age of Heroes” aligns with Bronze Age dates. Our series forms a tapestry, because the books tie together, though each novel focuses on one strand of story. Jocasta, Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes and Arrows of Artemis are available for purchase today. And more are in the works!
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