As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace.
The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year. When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him.
But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country.
And Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths. She speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel. A truly spellbinding, epic story taking readers on an unforgettable journey. Perfect for fans of Circe, A Thousand Ships and The Silence of the Girls.
Jennifer Saint explains her inspiration for the novel…
“The inspiration for Ariadne first sparked when I was at university and studied the Roman poet Ovid for the first time. When I read the Heroides, a collection of letters written by the women of myth to the men who had wronged them in various ways, I was captivated by seeing these familiar stories from a different perspective.
“Ariadne writes a powerful letter to Theseus after she has given him the clue to lead him safely from the Labyrinth, lair of the Minotaur, betraying her father and kingdom to do so.
Her younger sister Phaedra writes a letter of her own, full of clever rhetoric and persuasion. We see that they are intelligent and passionate women trying to carve out their own destiny in a world where the odds are stacked against them.
“Years later, I would read my children the Greek myths I had always loved. I was reminded of Ovid when I came to the story of the Minotaur in which Ariadne’s crucial role was reduced to a couple of sentences in the background of Theseus’ legend.
“The richness and complexity of female relationships, especially sisters, is so interesting”
“I felt that Ariadne deserved her own voice. I wanted to put her in the spotlight where she belongs.
“Although Phaedra had her own individual story, I also wanted to explore the relationship between the sisters and how growing up in the shadow of the Minotaur shaped their experiences.
“I felt that the myths I had encountered about Ariadne and Phaedra were focused on the men in their lives. So I wanted to make their sisterhood central in my book.
The richness and complexity of female relationships, especially that of sisters, is so interesting. The two sisters of the Minotaur, whose fates were so devastatingly interlinked, offered such a compelling story that I was really excited by the idea of telling it.”
Now hear Jennifer introduce her heroine…
Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next 13 years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students.
Ariadne is her first novel. She is working on another retelling of ancient myth for her second. Follow her on social, @jennysaint