Song of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon

Song of Sacrifice
Janell Rhiannon
(Homeric Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: December 26th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical

The heart of the Trojan War belongs to the women.

Mothers and daughters; wives and war prizes, whisper to us across time…

…remember our songs alongside the mighty men of myth.

As the Age of Heroes wanes, the gods gamble more fiercely with mortals’ lives than they ever have before. Women must rely on their inner strength and cunning to survive the wars men wage for gold and glory.

Clytemnestra of Mycenae struggles for control of her life after Agamemnon ruthlessly rips it apart. Leda of Sparta survives a brutal assault by Zeus, shouldering a terrible secret in silence. Penelope raises Ithaka’s sole heir alone, praying for Odysseus’ swift return. Thetis, the sea nymph, despairs of her son’s destiny and resorts to forbidden magic to save him. Hecuba of Troy mourns the loss of her second son to a dark prophesy. And Shavash of Pedasus prepares her daughter to marry the greatest warrior who ever lived.

In a world where love leads to war and duty leads to destruction, the iron hearts of heroines will conquer all.

Sing, Muse, sing their song of sacrifice…

Replaces Song of Princes as the first book in the Homeric Chronicles.

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Author Bio:

In graduate school, Janell focused on the ancient history of Greece and Rome. Hooked by the “sword and sandal” world, she studied everything she could about mythology and Alexander the Great.

The Homeric Chronicles series is dedicated to merging dozens of Greek myths, including Homer’s epics, with plays, history, and archaeology. Her intent is to raise the heroines’ voices equally alongside the heroes, opening up a traditionally male focused genre to a female audience.

She lives in CA and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. She has a pack of two big dogs and two cats.

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-My Books-My World >> Guest post

 

“If you were in any of the Greek gods or goddesses which one would you be and why?” 

 

If I could be any of the Greek goddesses, I’d be Eleithyia.

 

This might be surprising, because she’s not in the major pantheon. However, she features prominently in the Homeric Chronicles. Eleithyia is the goddess who oversees actual childbirth. Because my series focuses so much on what the women are doing, thinking, and feeling, I couldn’t help but write about labor and delivery.

 

It’s easily envisioned that a warrior has this visceral strength, some powerful battle cry, and wields a mighty weapon against his enemy. What is the balance of this with female characters? Although women can also be battle-hardened, weapon-wielding warriors, the Homeric Chronicles sets the boundaries of women through their historical place in a Bronze Age world. I see childbirth as a woman’s “battlefield.” So I included several scenes of childbirth, which include a visit from Eleithyia. She offers comfort and warnings.

 

The following is the first appearance of the goddess in Song of Sacrifice.

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A few short hours passed before Clytemnestra felt the urge to push the child to the light. The pressure built and her eyes flew wide open with surprise and exhaustion. She grabbed Neola’s arm in fright. “It’s time!” The mid-wife and her attendants rushed to the queen’s side and helped her to the edge of the bed. Neola assisted Clytemnestra the short steps to the birthing chair. The mid-wife shifted the queen’s gown up over her waist. Another searing pain ripped down the queen’s back and her thighs. She grunted with the urge to push the child to the light. A small gush of water mixed with blood splashed on the tile. The queen threw her head back and cried tears of exhaustion. “I cannot!”

“You can, my queen … and you will,” Neola assured her.

“I’m so tired—” Another overwhelming urge gripped her body. Her legs shook with the effort to birth the baby.

“The head! You’re close, little one!” the mid-wife cried aloud, then quietly prayed, “Eleithyia, beloved goddess, bring him swiftly if it pleases you.”

Just then, the hearth flames flickered. The women turned to witness a breeze fluttering through the curtain at the balcony window. A pale dusty ray of light spilled into a circle on the floor in the center of the chamber. The women ceased all movement and bowed down in awe as the goddess materialized before them. She towered over them. Her gown shimmered silver and bronze in the folds. Stars flashed at the hem as she walked toward the queen. The women whispered her name in awe, “Eleithyia …” Clytemnestra’s eyes met the goddess’ gaze.

“My daughter,” the Goddess of Childbirth’s honeyed voice soothed the laboring queen, “you have suffered long with this pain.” She knelt before Clytemnestra and placed her cool hand on the queen’s arm. “You have suffered much in silence. I’ve been watching you. Rest easy, daughter. I’ll finish the work for you.” The gleaming goddess reached her hands inside of the queen, and without pain or crying out, Clytemnestra delivered the baby into the welcoming arms of Eleithyia. The goddess extended a long, pale arm toward the astounded maids. “Bring me the blade and the linen,” she commanded in a hushed voice. Neola scrambled to obey. Eleithyia cooed softly to the babe as she cut its life-cord and wrapped it securely. The goddess looked up, smiling, “It’s a girl.”

“May I see her?” Clytemnestra asked.

Eleithyia laid the swaddled babe into her mother’s eager arms. A joy so deep filled Clytemnestra that she cried and smiled. She didn’t believe it possible that her broken heart could ever love anyone or anything again. Her ruined soul rejoiced in the little hand griping her finger. She undid the covering to kiss the baby’s tiny toes and fingers.

Neola wept to see her queen so obviously filled with happiness. “Praise Eleithyia,” she whispered.

Clytemnestra looked up at Neola. “She’s perfect, is she not?”

“She is, my lady. What will you call her?”

“Iphigenia,” she said. “My strong little one.”

Eleithyia walked to the balcony and paused. Turning around, she said solemnly, “She’s yours … for a time. Treasure your days with her.”

_________

Hope you enjoyed that and thank you for inviting me to your blog! I also have a podcast based on Greek mythology and this series called: Greek Mythology Retold. It’s available on most major platforms.

 

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