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Medea: A Delphic Woman Novel (Delphic Women Series) Hardcover – June 4, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Between 1995 and 1997, Greenwood, the Australian creator of Phryne Fisher and (later) Corinna Chapman, wrote three novels under the umbrella title Delphic Women, retelling stories from Greek mythology from new angles. Medea, published in 1997 in Australia, was the third of the books, but it’s the first to see publication in the U.S. The author explores the legend of Medea—betrayed wife of the adventurer Jason and murderer of her own children—from a modern-day perspective. The story is told by two narrators: Nauplios, one of Jason’s Argonauts, and Medea herself, thus allowing Greenwood to relate events that are separated by vast physical distances in their chronological order. The prose is a bit clunky, but the story is compelling. The main conceit, that these ancient mythological creatures and events were actually real, is risky, but Greenwood makes us believe in centaurs, golden fleeces, and whatnot. She also makes us believe that Medea might have been mistreated by history, that the true story of the woman is perhaps even more astounding than the myth. Compared to Greenwood’s more well-known fiction, this book is a bit of a curiosity, but it’s definitely worth checking out. --David Pitt

Review

""Greenwood offers interesting riffs on familiar figures of myth, and impressively buttresses her biggest departure from the usual story in a scholarly afterword. She also makes the most of the dramatic potential in the journey of the Argo through dangers that anticipate Odysseus’s perilous return home after the Trojan War. The Medea-centric sections serve as a welcome counterpoint to Robert Graves’s Hercules, My Shipmate.""--Publishers Weekly starred review

""In the first volume of her “Delphic Women” historical series set in ancient Greece, Greenwood has taken the ultimate dysfunctional mother and created a character of depth and complexity who betrayed and was betrayed, was lost and, ultimately, redeemed. Greenwood, a prolific and popular writer in her native Australia, is best known here for her humorous Phryne Fisher and Corrina Chapman mysteries. Readers who enjoy such literary reinterpretations of classical myths as Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia or Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad will snap up Greenwood’s fresh take.""--Library Journal starred review

""Between 1995 and 1997, Greenwood, the Australian creator of Phryne Fisher and (later) Corinna Chapman, wrote three novels under the umbrella title Delphic Women, retelling stories from Greek mythology from new angles. Medea, published in 1997 in Australia, was the third of the books, but it’s the first to see publication in the U.S. The author explores the legend of Medea—betrayed wife of the adventurer Jason and murderer of her own children—from a modern-day perspective. The story is told by two narrators: Nauplios, one of Jason’s Argonauts, and Medea herself, thus allowing Greenwood to relate events that are separated by vast physical distances in their chronological order. The prose is a bit clunky, but the story is compelling. The main conceit, that these ancient mythological creatures and events were actually real, is risky, but Greenwood makes us believe in centaurs, golden fleeces, and whatnot. She also makes us believe that Medea might have been mistreated by history, that the true story of the woman is perhaps even more astounding than the myth. Compared to Greenwood’s more well-known fiction, this book is a bit of a curiosity, but it’s definitely worth checking out.""—Booklist

The well-known stories of Medea, Jason and the Argonauts are based on widely differing legends. Now it’s Medea’s turn to speak. Greenwood’s Medea is a priestess of Hecate and a princess of Colchis, in what will become the modern-day Republic of Georgia....The first of her three Delphic Women series to be available in the United States is an enthralling, sensual, tragic tale packed with historical detail.—Kirkus Reviews


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Product Details

  • Series: Delphic Women Series (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1464201439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1464201431
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,534,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I heartily recommend it!
Dasha S
I really enjoyed this book and have found Kerry Greenwood's books fascinating, well written and her heroines are always quite diverse.
MRS ANNE ROBBIE
Jason flirts with Medea who falls in love with him.
Harriet Klausner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By tess gerritsen on September 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I was given a copy of this book as a gift while on tour in Australia. I had never read anything by this author, but I was interested in the subject matter (the Medea and Jason myth) and wanted to see how the author would interpret it. I didn't expect anything extraordinary.

Boy, was I wrong.

From the very first paragraph, I was hooked. The story is gorgeously rendered, and even though I was already familiar with the tragic ending to the tale, I couldn't stop reading to see if Ms. Greenwood could possibly add any note of optimism to such a sad tale. Along the way, I met some favorite characters from Greek mythology, from Herakles (who's marvelously painted here as a crusty old hero with a heart of gold), the vain and unreliable Jason, the Amazon Atalante, and of course the passionate Medea, driven half-mad with desire, and later from grief. The tapestry is richly painted, the characters vividly three-dimensional, the tension (especially sexual) always compelling. Ms. Greenwood somehow manages to make every action by Medea perfectly believable, and in the end I deeply sympathized with this dark and complex character and wanted desperately for her to find a happy ending.

This is a book I didn't want to end. I dreamed about the characters for days afterward. How nice to know there are two more books in the triology.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By susan on May 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great characterisation. Greenwood hasn't changed the Greek myths, she's made them come alive. The magic is neither explained away nor made to do things a modern reader can't believe, but cleverly managed so it's as real as the characters believe it is. And strong female characters resist or subvert the passive roles assigned them by the Achaeans (Homer's Greeks). A really interesting read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Selene on April 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A vivid and darkly compelling tale - blood, sex, sorcery and Scythians, who could ask for more? - based on the earlier Jason/Medea myth current before Euripides wrote the play which became the definitive version. Who knew (not me) that the citizens of Corinth paid Euripides to make Medea the killer of her children instead of the enraged Corinthian mob of the original story? Just one of the fascinating details I picked up from Greenwood's interesting and informative add-ons, including a cast list, substantial afterword and bibliography.

Can't believe I haven't come across this book before. It's a wonderfully evocative intepretation of an ancient Greek legend, given a passionate, feminist and very human twist. I'm off to track down the other two in this undeservedly forgotten trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ivy on June 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
We all know, or think we do, the story of Medea, Jason, and the Golden Fleece. Ms. Greenwood's MEDEA isn't the Medea we know from Euripides. Narrated by Medea and Nauplios, Jason's friend and fellow Argonaut, we're given both the male and female POV making it a more intimate and personal tale.
Settle in and prepare to be swept away.

Ms. Greenwood has managed something wondrous with MEDEA. She's taken a falsely maligned figure and given her a voice that speaks clearly across the centuries. Ms. Greenwood's Medea is accessible, understandable, and sympathetic. Medea leaves everything behind while giving body and soul to a faithless, feckless man. In using her talents and skills to further his interests she sows the seeds of her own future misery.
In MEDEA Ms. Greenwood deftly retains the mystical combining it with the practical thus creating a completely plausible and exceptional re-telling of Medea, Jason, and the Golden Fleece myth. Men may have had the power and physical strength but women were the keepers of knowledge. Female knowledge could be a terrible thing often trumping male power. She fired my imagination and transported me to a time when magic existed and gods could walk among men and interfere in their affairs if they so chose. Vital and vivid characterizations of familiar figures, their foreign lands and cultures only add to the sense of "being there".
If you love mythology and strong women, then I highly commend MEDEA to you. I'm excitedly awaiting the second in the Delphic Women Trilogy, Cassandra. I can't wait to see what Ms. Greenwood does with my favorite Trojan prophetess and princess.
Reviewed by IvyD for Manic Readers
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dasha S on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a great fan of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series, and decided to take on chance on this book. I hesitated because I didn't think that I could bear the tragedy of Medea's life story. However, I kept coming back to this book because chapter by chapter it was much more fascinating that any other book that I turned to. It casts such imaginative light on different aspects of the Greek legends. Greenwood does use literary license but she appears to have based her story on a lot of research. I heartily recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julia Waters on August 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I came across this book quite by accident, and from the first few pages, I was captivated. The story of Jason and Medea has been one that I have read about for years, always tending to believe better of Medea then the classics reported. The character development in this version is excellent, the story is very well written, and aspects of Medea as a priestess of Hecate inspiring. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
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