Patrice Kindl, . . Houghton, $16 (, $16 ISBN p) ISBN 978-0-618-16684-8

Kindl (Goose Chase) inventively meshes classical myths, archeological findings and imaginative speculation in an intriguing tale full of mystery and emotion. Set in Crete, the story up-ends tradition, in which Ariadne achieves a tragic glory for helping the Greek hero Theseus slay the Minotaur. Kindl taps Ariadne's younger sister, Princess Xenodice, to narrate. Where this Ariadne is ruthless, like their stepmother, Queen Pasiphae, who rules over matriarchal Crete, Xenodice is kindhearted. She feels protective of her half-brother Asterius, the much-feared Minotaur who is kept in a separate chamber of the labyrinth where the royal family resides. While most people consider Asterius a monster, the princess grows deeply troubled when she learns that Ariadne and Ariadne's lover, Theseus, are conspiring to kill him. Then Xenodice discovers that she and her good friends Daedalus and Icarus also may be in danger. The author nimbly reweaves classical motifs while vividly conjuring an ancient world. As fans of her The Woman in the Wall might expect, Kindl does particular justice to the idiosyncrasies of the labyrinth; her envisioning of a matriarchal society and its rituals also proves memorable. While the story will especially interest those with a grounding in mythology, cloak-and-dagger buffs should enjoy it, too. Ages 10-14. (Aug.)