This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before. Beyond Ithaca’s shores, the whims of gods dictate the wars of men. But on the isle, it is the choices of the abandoned women – and their goddesses – that will change the course of the world.
On the island of Ithaca, queen Penelope maintains a delicate balance of power. Many years ago, her husband Odysseus sailed to war with Troy and never returned. In his absence, Penelope uses all her cunning to keep the peace – but this is shattered with the arrival of Orestes, King of Mycenae.
Orestes, son of Agamemnon, is mad.Wracked with guilt for putting his own mother to death, he grows ever more unhinged. But a king cannot be seen to be weak.
To keep him safe from the ambitious men of Mycenae, his sister Elektra brings him to Ithaca to recover under the protection of Penelope. But no sooner has Orestes arrived then his uncle Menelaus, the blood-soaked king of Sparta, comes looking for him. Menelaus hungers for Orestes’ throne – and if he can seize it, no one will be safe from his violent whims.
Caught between Sparta and Mycenae, Penelope must protect Ithaca from two mad kings on the edge of war. Her only allies are Elektra, desperate to protect her brother, and Helen of Troy, Menelaus’ wife. Each woman has a secret, and their secrets will shape the world…
‘Claire North brings a powerful, fresh and unflinching voice to ancient myth – darkly fascinating, raw and breathtaking’ – Jennifer Saint
‘Like Penelope at her loom North both weaves and unweaves, teasing out the threads of Homeric myth to recombine them into something unique, wonderful and urgently contemporary’ – M. R. Carey