cover image Electra


Kerry Greenwood. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0213-1

Greenwood fans will welcome her thoughtful second reinterpretation of a well-known Greek myth (after Medea). Troy has fallen, and the surviving Greek leaders have undertaken their various journeys homeward. The fate of their supreme leader, Agamemnon, is conveyed through the eyes of his daughter Electra, who begins her narrative by recounting, “I knew she was going to kill him when she laid out the sacred tapestries.” As in her prior ancient historicals, Greenwood offers up several first-person storytellers, and makes them all convincing. The ignored Trojan seer Cassandra and the peripatetic Odysseus also lend their voices to the tale. Most significantly, Greenwood adds a new, but plausible wrinkle, basing her version on the assumption that revenge for Electra’s father’s death was not her sole motive in killing her mother, Clytemnestra, and her mother’s lover, Aegisthus. Among Greenwood’s other talents, she displays a gift for writing songs of the period. (Dec.)