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Other titles in the Odyssey of a Slave series:

Arrow Through the Axes


Arrow Through the Axes Cover

ISBN13: 9781553803232
ISBN10: 155380323x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Fiction. Young Adult. ARROW THROUGH THE AXES concludes the "Odyssey of a Slave" trilogy that began with the Red Maple-nominated TORN FROM TROY, retelling Homer's Odyssey. The slave Alexi, now free of his Greek captors, infiltrates the Greek strongholds of the Bronze Age in search of his sister. In so doing he participates in the stories of Orestes, son of Agamemnon, as he seeks revenge for his father's murder, and of Telemachus, son of Odysseus, who lands on Ithaca, the home island of Odysseus, just in time to witness the arrival of a mysterious stranger. As Alexi comes to understand the damage that the Trojan War has visited upon its victors, both he and the reader are forced to confront an unpleasant truth, while Alexi must decide where his allegiance really lies. Re-casting the Odyssey as a YA adventure, this trilogy brings ancient mythology to life in a way that traditional retellings cannot. We see what life would have been like for Bronze-Age warriors as Bowman interweaves adventure, ritual and historical detail into a realistic and compelling narrative. Readers who have experienced pop mythology, and now want to dive deeper, will find ARROW THROUGH THE AXES especially satisfying, but all readers will enjoy this powerful excursion into the classic mythology that shaped western culture.

About the Author

Patrick Bowman was born in Ottawa and educated in Toronto. After writing software for twenty years, he slipped the corporate bonds to become a full-time children's author. He is the author of the trilogy, "Odyssey of a Slave," which grew out of his long-time interest in the Greek classics, and is published by Ronsdale Press: TORN FROM TROY (2011), CURSED BY THE SEA GOD (2013), and ARROW THROUGH THE AXES (2014). Patrick lives in Toronto with his wife and two daughters.

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nrlymrtl, May 31, 2014 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
Book 3 picks up where Book 2 left off. Our young hero Alexi is now somewhere between 17 and 19 years old and he has done a lot of learning and growing in Books 1 & 2. With the death of an enemy in Book 2, he finds himself escaping the island of the sacred cattle with Lopex and crew. Only, there is this big thundercloud chasing them, raining down lightning bolts. Pretty soon, the ship is torn apart. Alexi finds himself rescued by the young woman who warned him about the cattle on the island. His wounds are tended and eventually he leaves to go in search of his (hopefully) alive sister. His travels take him on many adventures through Greek lands. On the way, he befriends Orestes and meets Agamemnon and the infamous Helen. Later, he meets Telemachus (Tel to his friends) and finds himself in the middle of the ribald wooing of Lopex’s wife (everyone assumes Lopex is dead since he has been gone for so many years).

If you checked out my reviews of Books 1 & 2, then you know I have quite enjoyed this series. While Book 3 was still enjoyable, I felt that Alexi’s character backslid in age and intelligence a bit. Perhaps this was done on purpose to keep Book 3 suitable for a certain age of readers? I am not sure. I did enjoy Alexi’s growth in Books 1 & 2. He lived through the siege of Troy, most of it without parents. Lived through the sacking of Troy and was made a slave. He has been a slave for 2 books and 3-5 years of sailing around on adventures with rough men. So by Book 3, I would think that he would be a little more jaded about a lone woman on a sacred island populated by sacred cattle. Every evening, she makes him a nice tea, and after consuming it, he grows very weak. This goes on for just over a month. Alexi’s father was a healer and Alexi himself has been tending sailors with poultices and concoctions and stitches for years. And yet, he doesn’t suspect this tea. Since this event happens early in the book, I don’t mind using it as an example, but it is not the last example of Alexi’s sudden dimwittedness.

Still, if I set that aside and pretend that Alexi is 12 or 14 again, then the story is quite fun. Two adventures really stand out for me. He meets Orestes and at the court of Agamemnon, he meets Helen. Agamemnon is a little crazy and very possessive of Helen. This spells trouble for even young, innocent Alexi. Helen gets a chance to tell her side of the love story between her and Paris, and that was a nice touch. The second scene that I thoroughly enjoyed was at the very end. I can’t say too much about it, but the title and the cover will click once you get there. It was intense and a very good wrap up to this trilogy (though part of hopes that Bowman goes on to write the further adventures of Alexi, the Adult).

Telemachus was an odd character. His father went off to participate in the siege and sacking of Troy, so the lad grew up with out a father. He is a bit socially inept, yet friendly. I did find it a weak plot point to say that his social ineptness was due to not being raised by a man, so he doesn’t know how to behave as a man. Yet he is traveling with a male companion as he searches for his father, interacting with lots of men. Seems to be plenty of men in this story line, and around his mom’s house (the steward, the hopeful suitors, the slaves, etc.). Later, we see Telemachus become more ‘manly’ which seems to be mostly the character trait of decisiveness (I guess Tel never saw his mom be decisive).

Which points to the women of the story. There are a few and they have small roles. And they are mostly cast in the roles of love interest, slave, wife. We do have one who helps Alexi escape at one point and it would have been nice to see a more balanced arrangement of characters and roles. But this might have been difficult to do and stay mostly true to the ancient original storyline. So I won’t harp on the point too much.

Over all, this has been a great trilogy and a fun retelling of this ancient tale. While I missed having Lopex in the bulk of this story line, I did find Alexi’s adventures through Greece as he searches for his sister to be amusing. Also, it was very interesting to see through Alexi’s eyes how the lengthy siege against Troy took its toll on the Grecian lands, and not just on Troy. The lengthy war was not good for the masses and few people profited from it. The side jaunt over to Agamemnon’s court was quite chilling and it was a good way to show how one of the main provocateurs of the war fared.
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Product Details

Bowman, Patrick
Ronsdale Press
General Juvenile Fiction
Children s-Fables
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Related Subjects

Children's » Fables
Children's » Middle Readers » General

Arrow Through the Axes Used Trade Paper
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Product details 214 pages Ronsdale Press - English 9781553803232 Reviews:
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