My Other Epic

June 23, 2015

Two women compete for the affection of the Aztec empire’s greatest warlord.

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More Worries About Achilles

June 7, 2015

…….Was I fraternizing with the enemy? Did my conduct pose a threat to Troy’s survival? How could it? Whether I was with Achilles or not, nothing we did here changes what is happening at Troy at this moment. And if we are separated once we get back, what we have done has no more relevance and cannot influence what will then occur.       -Polyxena

 

To Resist Achilles or Not?

June 1, 2015

We shared an affinity for each other, while knowing this could only result in unhappiness and heartbreak for us both if we succumbed to our basic instincts. So we resisted our impulses, the strain of our exertions very much evidenced in our glances. I wished at times that he would just seize me, take his pleasures with me, ending all my hesitations over this, and through this release me from my obsessive cravings. The question paramount in my mind, and I think also in his, was whether to submit to our impellent inclinations or continue resisting these, thereby depriving us of what we most desired.  – Polyxena

Meeting Achilles

May 26, 2015

…He removed his helmet and let his fair hair wave freely from its confines, shaking his head. He was, by any measure, a most handsome man with an almost beautiful face, if such a description might be applied toward that gender. He again looked me in the eye, revealing no particular emotion. “I am Achilles,” he said.

 

 

 

On the Amazon Commander, Antiope

May 20, 2015

She was a strikingly beautiful woman -even Helen would have found serious competition in her- and had an aura of authoritativeness about her that made it obvious she was in charge.   Polyxena on first seeing Antiope, her love before meeting Achilles.

Page One…

May 4, 2015

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My name is Polyxena. I am the last of the five daughters born to Hecuba, second wife of King Priam of Troy. My older sisters are Ilione, wife of the Thracian lord, Polymnestor; the chaste Cassandra; Creusa, wife of Aeneas of the Dardanians, allies of our city in our long war with the Greeks; and the lovely Laodice, married to the Greek Telephus of the Tegeans so he would not involve himself in this costly war. Were it not for Laodice, I would be regarded the most beautiful of King Priam’s daughters.

I have many brothers: Hector, Paris, Helenus, Deiphobus, Polites, Troilus, and Polydorus being the more notable among them. Rather I should say I have but one brother, for the others were slain, three by none other than great Achilles himself. Troilus fell earlier in the war, slain by Achilles before his famed falling-out with Agamemnon. Polydorus, the youngest and most beloved of my parents, who was forbidden to participate in the fighting but inadvertently found himself caught up among our warriors during one of the many battles waged back and forth before the city, was struck down by a spear cast by that mighty Greek.

And there was Hector, the hope of our city, whose prowess and strength endeared him to all, most especially to my father—oh, how we depended on him!—slain before the city walls in single combat with Achilles, in full view of us. Who can forget the sight of his body dragged behind the wheels of the victor’s chariot? Then Paris fell, and later Deiphobus, when our….

…interested in reading more? My book is available for purchase here. 

Neoptolemus Slays Polyxena

February 29, 2012

For The Curious

March 3, 2011

I thought I would give a quick run-down on what happened to some of the characters in my novel after Polyxena’s death as mentioned in the Trojan myths. None of this is in my story (which ends abruptly at her death), but might be of interest to anyone who’s into Greek mythology.  I am speaking of the captive Trojan women.

Andromache, Hector’s wife and Polyxena’s friend, was claimed by Neoptolemus (in my novel as compensation for the loss of Polyxena) and appears to have been treated well by him.  They went to Epeirus after Troy and she bore him three sons, but was ultimately abandoned by him when he married Hermione, Helen’s daughter.  He turned her over to Helenus, Priam’s only surviving son, who became a strong ally.  Helenus took on the role as guardian of Andromache’s children and she bore him a son, Cestrinus.  Later (I assume after Helenus’s death) she went to Mysia with her son Pergamus (by Neoptolemus), who conquered the city of Teuthrania and renamed it Pergamon.  Andromache’s descendants ruled in Epeirus for many generations and she had a shrine at Pergamon.  

Cassandra, Polyxena’s clairvoyant sister, as has been mentioned in a previous blog, was claimed as a concubine by Agamemnon.  There is an interesting aspect to this story, in that she is said to have borne him two sons, Teledamos and Pelops, and yet, on arriving at Mycenae, she and her sons were murdered, along with Agamemnon, by the king’s wife, Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus.  This suggests that, like Odysseus, Agamemnon had a rather long voyage back to Mycenae from Troy.  By some accounts he was slain by his jealous wife because of his love for Cassandra; she saw her as threat to the throne.   Cassandra was buried near Amyclae, where she had a shrine under the name Alexandra.

Hecuba, Polyxena’s mother, does not fare well in the myths.  Given to Odysseus after the fall of Troy, she learned that her son, Polydorus (this contradicts the story that Polydorus was slain by Achilles -the version accepted in my novel), had been murdered for his gold by Polymestor, King of Thrace, a former Trojan ally, who had been entrusted to care for the boy.  Odysseus stops there on his way home and Hecuba plans her revenge, luring Polymestor into her tent and then blinding him, after killing his infant son.  The Greeks, as punishment, decided to stone her to death, but instead of a corpse, they find a fiery-eyed dog.  A variation to this story has Hecuba turning into the dog while being pursued by Polymestor’s bodyguards bent on avenging their king.  Still another account has her transformed aboard ship and that she then jumped into the sea.  Her turning into a dog is said by some scholars to represent the identification of Hecuba with Hecate (Goddess of the Underworld) who is attended by dogs with flaming eyes.  In any case, it’s not an admirable ending for her. 

Thalia, Polyxena’s handmaiden, is purely fictitious.  She takes her name from one of the nine muses (the muse of light verse and comedy).

Coming Up Next

February 24, 2011

Polyxena is actually my second novel.  I have written another epic work titled Water Dog about Aztec Mexico, that has lain dormant for many years, but which I am thinking of getting published in the near future.  Water Dog is about the Aztec emperor, Ahuitzotl (Ah-weet-zotl), Montezuma’s predecessor and the greatest of their warrior-kings, and could not be more different from Polyxena.  It’s a third-person account of a monarch renowned for his ferocity, but also has two leading female characters that the reader will take a liking to.  Both compete for his affection; for one, the empress, an unrequited affair because of his passion for a mistress, who lives in dread of losing his love to her rival because of her beauty.  In a way, this novel can appropriately be called a soap opera among the Aztecs.

Water Dog -the English translation of the name Ahuitzotl used only in the title- is a true historical fiction novel, unlike Polyxena, which was based on mythology, with most of its leading characters having lived.  A lot of research went into this novel; I think I’m the only person in Seattle who owns an English-Nahuatl (Aztec) language dictionary.

The basic theme of Water Dog can be summed up as pride leading to fall.  Ahuitzotl is an arrogant and ambitious, yet a fascinating and charismatic warlord who stops at nothing in order to attain his vainglorious ends.  Readers may not appreciate him at first, but I compensate for that by keeping their interests riveted on the two competing ladies of his court.   In the end, however, he is seen as a tragic figure in the classical tradition, that is, he himself sets into motion the forces which ultimately culminate in a cruel retribution against him and evokes our sympathy.  Sorry that I can’t give you a completion date at present, but it won’t be long now.

My Book’s Future

February 21, 2011

Over the past few months I have given potential readers a number of blogs on my novel, a story of the fall of Troy as seen through the eyes of King Priam’s youngest daughter, Polyxena, relating her thoughts to us (i.e. Aphrodite) just before she becomes the last casualty of the war.  I think it is one of the better stories written about Troy, unique in its conception and construction; she touches us with her basic goodness, her observations, and in providing her perspective on the more renowned people associated with these legends as she meets and converses with them.  Above all, it is a love story -between her and Achilles, and although their time together is of short duration, the love they shared is alluded to often and makes its presence felt through the rest of the novel.

What do I see as Polyxena’s future?   Readers will be the test of that.  The book is good (it won an editor’s choice award for me); my hope is that anyone reading it will share this opinion and recommend it to others.  The response I’ve gotten from those who have read it has been very positive; my biggest problem, one which I admittedly did not anticipate, was that so few people know who she is.  Even those familiar with the Trojan War tell me they have never heard of Polyxena -disheartening.  Perhaps, if fortune favors me, my novel will popularize her name once again.

If dreams can come true, then certainly I would like to see my story made into a movie – what an epic it would make!  I mean, this book has it all:  Amazon warriors, epic battles, renowned heroes, action, adventure, and romance.

But even if none of these things happen, I have to say that I enjoyed working on this story -a true labor of love.  It didn’t actually take that long to write -eight months- but a lot of thought went into this work, long before even starting on it.  If there’s such a thing as a writer falling in love with his main character, then that is the case with me.  Polyxena is a beautiful creation -she is real, having attributes one likes seeing in a person, as well as the flaws, making her very human.  Her story is so tragic in that she wants to believe she was responsible for her fate and yet knows that other influences had a hand in it -events she believes were orchestrated by the Goddess Aphrodite- but never quite understands how, circumstances obscuring the answer from her.  My intention was to make it unclear, to her as well as the reader.  So the question remains:  Did Polyxena create her own fate or was she fulfilling her destiny?  I leave it to the reader to decide.