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Cavanila's Choices: A Novel of the Minoan Cataclysm Paperback – April 29, 2014
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About the Author
In 2000, following a research and academic career in the biomedical sciences, Jesse Sisken visited the Minoan archeological sites at Knossos and Phaestos on the Greek island of Crete. He became fascinated with that culture’s achievements in art and architecture and how the eruption of the Theran volcano signaled the end of its thriving civilization. He has since devoted himself to formal and informal studies of ancient Greek art, history and archaeology and returns to the Aegean islands nearly every year, learning more about the region’s physical and cultural history with each visit. His novel, Cavanila’s Choices, is the first of a series to be set in those islands. And as his attraction to the Aegean Islands grew, he became a serious photographer of their beauty. His photographs have been exhibited in numerous venues. He enjoys the outdoors, skis in the winter and has flown small airplanes and gliders for many years. He lives with his wife in Lexington, Kentucky.
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Awakened by an earthquake, Princess Cavanilla, and her father, the regent of Thera, brother of King Minos of Kephtor manage to escape the destruction. She attempts to help the devastated residents while her uncaring, self-centered father berates the High Priestess to make more sacrifices to the gods. Finally, Bardok, Commander of the Minoan Navy initiates required evacuation. Cavanilla, similarly to Bardoc's distrust of godly influence resultant from years of dealing with the elements begins also to have doubts. They gradually are attracted and together begin trying to aid the residents. Their attempts are hindered by King Minos' attempts to retain godly authority/position, his attachment to his self-promoting high priestess mistress, by the resentment of the Kephtorians to share food and work with the displaced Therans and reluctance of sub-rulers' to provide even their usual tithes. Cavanilla's true desire to help her people forces many dangerous decisions to overcome the self-righteousness of the rulers to finally stave off complete disaster.
Conclusion: Intriguing, nicely-paced/written story fictionally chronicling a historical cataclysmic event.
Pitted against a weak king and a scheming high priestess, Cavanila shows resilience and courage as she tries to help her people deal with the effects of a volcanic eruption that causes devastating earthquakes and spews deadly ash that sickens both people and livestock as it also ruins crops.
In the first book in a proposed Minoan Gold Trilogy, we meet not only Cavanila, but members of her family, her servants, and her brave lover, Bardok. The complex plot takes the reader throughout the buildings of this remarkably advanced city, its surrounding settlements, and its vital harbor which was key in the trade routes in this key area.
You can visit the setting of this novel today, and see the island’s lagoon that is actually a volcanic caldera.
Author Jesse Sisken visited the area many times, and his photos are on his website, along with a blog written by the Minoan Gold Bull created in the novel to appease the god Poseiden, thought to have been responsible for the cataclysm.