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The King Must Die (1958)

de Mary Renault

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Theseus Myth (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2,518535,243 (3.95)152
New York Times Bestseller: This retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus, king of Athens, is "one of the truly fine historical novels of modern times" (The New York Times).   In myth, Theseus was the slayer of the child-devouring Minotaur in Crete. What the founder-hero might have been in real life is another question, brilliantly explored in The King Must Die. Drawing on modern scholarship and archaeological findings at Knossos, Mary Renault's Theseus is an utterly lifelike figure--a king of immense charisma, whose boundless strivings flow from strength and weakness--but also one steered by implacable prophecy. The story follows Theseus's adventures from Troizen to Eleusis, where the death in the book's title is to take place, and from Athens to Crete, where he learns to jump bulls and is named king of the victims. Richly imbued with the spirit of its time, this is a page-turner as well as a daring act of imagination. Renault's story of Theseus continues with the sequel The Bull from the Sea. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.… (més)
  1. 40
    Black Ships de Jo Graham (_Zoe_)
    _Zoe_: Both take a legendary/mythological story and bring it to life in a plausible historical world.
  2. 20
    The Song of Achilles de Madeline Miller (wrmjr66)
  3. 31
    Odissea de Homer (alalba)
  4. 20
    The Song of Troy de Colleen McCullough (_Zoe_)
  5. 20
    The Mark of the Horse Lord de Rosemary Sutcliff (gwernin)
    gwernin: A view of sacred kingship among the Celts.
  6. 00
    Goddess of Yesterday de Caroline B. Cooney (cmbohn)
    cmbohn: Another look at ancient culture and their relationship with the gods.
  7. 00
    Els Jocs de la Fam de Suzanne Collins (sturlington)
    sturlington: The tributes of the bull dancers are similar to the tributes to the Hunger Games and Collins has said she was inspired by the Theseus myth.
  8. 01
    The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind de Julian Jaynes (themulhern)
    themulhern: Jaynes would argue that Theseus was a pre-conscious here; Renault, on the other hand, makes him very self-aware. However, the god does speak to Theseus, to tell him of impending earthquakes.
  9. 12
    The Mists of Avalon de Marion Zimmer Bradley (krasiviye.slova)
    krasiviye.slova: Similar decline and fall of the matriarchy theme, with different spins.
  10. 02
    Memorias de Adriano de Marguerite Yourcenar (Waysider)
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» Mira també 152 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 54 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"El rey debe morir" alude a esa antigua tradición de los pueblos indoeuropeos en la que el rey sagrado debía morir ritualmente asesinado por el nuevo rey. Mary Renault desgrana el mito de Teseo, rey niño de Eleusis, condenado por el ritual sagrado a una muerte precoz. Este héroe de la mitología griega desafió el decreto de los dioses, mató al Minotauro, destruyó el palacio de Minos y reclamó el trono de su padre. Después se convertiría en uno de los más grandes navegantes y conquistadores de la Grecia clásica.
  Natt90 | Mar 17, 2023 |
A wonderful blend of myth and historical fiction, all told by Theseus as he progresses from childhood in Troizen, until he learns that his father is King of Athens. He starts for Athens by chariot, but is stopped in Eleusis, where he becomes the King who must Die. But this is not his fate (moira), and so he goes on to Athens where, having made himself known to the King, he gives himself the Cretan tribute takers, to honour Poseidon.
And so he comes to Minoan Crete, the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. A story splendidly reimagined.


I read Renault’s highly enjoyable Alexander novels about 35 years ago and I don’t know what has taken me so long to pick up this book. The language is slightly dated (published in 1958), but for me this captures the archaism when writing about the Bronze Age. [For example, She had that vein of wildness which stirs a man because it lies deep, like Hephaistos’ fire which only the earthquake loosens from the mountain.

Brilliant. ( )
1 vota CarltonC | Jan 18, 2023 |
I read this book for book club, and managed to slog through it, but I hated it. I don't know how she managed to make mythology so boring, but she did. I would not recommend this, there are tons of better books, if you are interested in Greek mythology. ( )
  queenofthebobs | Apr 9, 2022 |
The story of the legendary Greek hero Theseus, told in exciting action-heavy prose, with a surprising eye to historical plausibility.

The myth of Theseus is particularly interesting from a historical perspective, because it was long thought that the Minoans of Crete were mostly mythological. Historical sources that tell the story of Theseus set the events in the ancient past. It wasn't until the 1920's that archaeologists dug up the palace at Knossos and documented the seat of Minoan civilization in detail.

This book, written in the 1950's, takes all of the details of the myth and imagines them through the lens of the available historical facts. There are very few anachronisms in this book. The ways that the people behave align perfectly with the world they are presented within. Theseus behaves like an ancient Greek, speaking and making decisions with the tone and priorities of a hero from the Iliad, but with the warmth and realism of a solid contemporary depiction. Theseus is bold, principled, honorable, and foolish. He is proud of himself and shamelessly absurdly horny, but with a layer of vulnerability and realistic self-awareness that comes across as charming. Theseus loves deeply and his perspective is usually generous, though some aspects of his character distance him from the modern reader: most notably his casual familiarity with death and killing.
( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
I've loved Greek (and Roman) myths since I was a kid. I remember fighting with a third-grade classmate over which of us got to check out D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths first when the school library bought it (I got to it; my friend went on to become a professor of classics... I should have let him have it first. Sorry, Paul.). I am not a scholar or a historian, but remember many of the tales well. Daniel Mendelsohn recently wrote a touching essay about what Mary Renault's novels meant to him when he was a teenager, smitten by the classics amidst personal angst. He wrote to her, she wrote back, and they sustained an affectionate epistolary relationship till her death. So I was eager to plunge in for myself, and see what Renault did to bring the ancient Greek world, its customs, beliefs, arts, and, in this case, the hero Theseus to life.

Which, for the most part, she does quite wonderfully. The writing is graceful, with a vivid feel for the country, the palaces, the mountains, and its people. It may feel a bit decorated, a bit mannered, which may date it for some tastes. I especially liked how she translated the "magical" episodes of monsters and miracles, gods and curses, into a believable, "natural" reality - Minos becomes an isolated king, disfigured from leprosy, who hides away deep in his palace, wearing a golden mask of a bull to cover his diseased countenance. The tales feel genuine, and a modern reader might easily say, yes, this could very well be how it happened.

The trouble is... Theseus. Theseus is a jerk. He is arrogant, condescending, egotistical, promiscuous, and is forever banging on about his sacred "pride." He kills without compunction, he ridicules other cultures not as macho as his. He believes in his heart he is the god Poseidon's chosen son, so whatever he does is fine because the god supposedly has approved of it. He is also smart, talented, strategic, clever, and brave. But when it comes to women.... Now, I *know* that this is fiction. I *know* that Renault's intent may have been to try to depict Theseus and his time as they were, complete with prejudices, and an appalling contempt for women everywhere he goes. Women are toys, or war booty (the "girls" are divided up along with the gold, the arms, the war horses, etc. to the victors). They are dismissed as entirely silly, selfish, cruel, superficial, cunning, helpless or just a nuisance... or childish, pretty, and f*ckable. The entire city of Eleusis is overjoyed to be "released" by Theseus from a horrible era where the government is run by women. Powerful women are either goddesses (and even then they are fickle, jealous, vengeful, and not to be trusted) or an abomination. So... I puzzle over Renault's intent. How does a woman writer - a gay woman writer - decide to depict women so dreadfully? Of course, we are being given Theseus's own thoughts and point of view throughout, but it's not clear whether this is meant to be an admiring portrait, a truthful portrayal of how women in that society were viewed and treated, or a cautionary tale. All told, I found Theseus to be very annoying company for many pages.

Well, all that said, there are some intimations of growth in the callow young hero. He gets a little smarter about persuasion and leadership. He actually learns to admire and value the skills that the young sacrificial "girls" bring to the bull arena. There are some moments when Theseus comments that now that he is old, with a string of tragedies behind him, he might not have done or said such a thing, or behaved in such a way. So perhaps, in volume 2, our hero's hubris receives its due, and he learns the hard way to be a better man. I'll stick around to find out. ( )
1 vota JulieStielstra | May 17, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 54 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Renault comes up with many ingenious and plausible solutions to the riddles posed by trying to place the legends into a historical context.

You’ll find excitement and beauty, philosophy and action, danger and fulfillment — all the very best qualities of a myth retold.
afegit per elenchus | editaEmerald City Book Review (Mar 15, 2017)
 
afegit per Shortride | editaThe New York Times, William du Bois (Web de pagament) (Jul 14, 1958)
 
A novel to be read with pleasure and great excitement.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (11 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Mary Renaultautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Bark, MimiDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Bianciardi, LucianoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
DESMONTS, AntonioTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Dyer, KrisNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Goldberg, CarinDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hemmer Hansen, EvaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hughes, BettanyIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mirlas, LeónTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rush, JohnAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rychlíková, OlgaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Scarpi, N. O.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Oh, Mother! I was born to die soon;
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--Achilles, in the Iliad
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But it is death for men to spy on women's mysteries.
They were so stupid that they thought women conceived by their own magic, without help of men. No wonder a woman seemed so full of power to them! If she told a man no, who but he would be the loser? She by her art could conceive from the winds and streams, she owed him nothing.
We have taken the bull by the horns; we have leaped for you and not run away; we always gave you a show.
It is grief to a man to look on mysteries he does not understand.
"Moira?" he said. "The finished shape of our fate, the line drawn round it. It is the task the gods allot us, and the share of glory they allow; the limits we must not pass; and our appointed end. Moira is all these."
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

New York Times Bestseller: This retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus, king of Athens, is "one of the truly fine historical novels of modern times" (The New York Times).   In myth, Theseus was the slayer of the child-devouring Minotaur in Crete. What the founder-hero might have been in real life is another question, brilliantly explored in The King Must Die. Drawing on modern scholarship and archaeological findings at Knossos, Mary Renault's Theseus is an utterly lifelike figure--a king of immense charisma, whose boundless strivings flow from strength and weakness--but also one steered by implacable prophecy. The story follows Theseus's adventures from Troizen to Eleusis, where the death in the book's title is to take place, and from Athens to Crete, where he learns to jump bulls and is named king of the victims. Richly imbued with the spirit of its time, this is a page-turner as well as a daring act of imagination. Renault's story of Theseus continues with the sequel The Bull from the Sea. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.

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