Murder at Mykenai written by Catherine Mayo
Published by Walker Books
Teenaged Odysseus, son of the King of barely known Ithaka, sneaks off from his minder at a procession and meets Menelaos, teenage son of the High King of Greece, who has also sneaked off from his minder.
When they meet, Odysseus and Menelaos are immediately suspicious of each other but they soon click and tell each other their stories. The only problem is that they are each severely punished when they are caught by their minders.
The two become best friends and find creative ways to manipulate their minders so they can spend time together.
A year and a half later, Menelaos’s father, King Atreus, is murdered and Menelaos has to flee for his life. He and his older brother, Agamemnon, barely escape and, even when they think they’re safe, someone betrays them.
While in exile, Menelaos is horrifically tormented by his tutor, Palamedes, who is also his cousin. Menelaos barely copes with the torture and his spirit becomes crushed. Odysseus helps rescue his friend temporarily but there are more challenges along the way. The two try to work out how to solve Menelaos’s problems without starting a war between two nations. They have to get Agamemnon on the throne somehow but Menelaos nearly dies after a profound beating when he confronts Palamedes about the torture.
The theme of Murder at Mykenai is to learn how to face the greatest of fears with humble courage not with brazen bravery. As Odysseus says in the novel: “People who are not frightened in a crisis aren’t brave, they’re fools. Real courage means staring terror in the face.”
This book would appeal to young adults or older. Parents and teachers should be warned that there are a few incidents with adult-level themes (sex, rape, violent murder and suicide).
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Catherine Mayo
Title: Murder at Mykenai
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: June 2013