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"A novel that is as intoxicating and hypnotic as the sacred smoke inhaled by the oracles."--Elizabeth Knox, author of The Vintner's Luck and The Dreamhunter Duet.
"An engaging, subversive reimagining of the tale of the eponymous Greek heroine who is upheld as a shining example of the dutiful wife for her selfless sacrifice."--Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel's Mercy
In Greek mythology, Alcestis is known as the good wife; she loved her husband so much that she died to save his life and was sent to the underworld in his place. In this poetic and vividly imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal, bringing to life the world of Mycenaean Greece, a world peopled by capricious gods, where royal women are confined to the palace grounds and passed as possessions from father to husband.
Alcestis tells of a childhood spent with her sisters in the bedchamber where her mother died giving birth to her and of her marriage at the age of fifteen to Admetus, the young king of Pherae, a man she barely knows, who is kind but whose heart belongs to a god. She also tells the part of the story that's never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld before being rescued by Heracles? In the realm of the dead, Alcestis falls in love with the goddess Persephone and discovers the true horror and beauty of death.
Katharine Beutner grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned a BA in classical studies from Smith College in 2003, and she recently completed an MA in creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is currently a PhD student in eighteenth-century British literature. Her work has appeared in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. Alcestis is her first novel.