Monday, June 18, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #18

After seven weeks of vintage fantasy beginnings, I’m looking to a more recent novel for today’s “Beginning” of the Week: Jo Graham’s 2008 novel Black Ships. This novel is a re-imagination of The Aeneid, and you can read my review of it here.

You must know that, despite all else I am, I am of the People. My grandfather was a boatbuilder in the Lower City. He built fishing boats, my mother said, and once worked on one of the great ships that plied the coast and out to the islands. My mother was his only daughter. She was fourteen and newly betrothed when the City fell. 
The soldiers took her in the front room of the house while her father’s body cooled in the street outside. When they were done with her she was brought out to where the ships were beached outside the ring of our harbor, and the Achaians drew lots for her with the other women of the City. 
She fell to the lot of the Old King of Pylos and was brought across the seas before the winter storms made the trip impossible. She was ill on the vessel, but thought it was just the motion of the ship. By the time she got to Pylos it was clear that it was more than that.
– Jo Graham, Black Ships

This beginning hints of conflict and sets the tone for the novel, which takes place after the fall of Troy. The main character is interesting, but it takes a little longer than the first three paragraphs to get to know her. But that’s just my view. Let me know what you think about the beginning of Black Ships!


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Black Ships. It is definately a book that unfolds slowly but it held my attention until the very end.

Joseph Finley said...

Thanks for the comment!