Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #30

TITLE: Athena: Throne Race
GENRE: Historical Fantasy

Odysseus clung to the black crags that bit into his hands, screaming defiance at the surge of water that tore at his body and treated him like a loose cork in the bitter sea. The crash of surf against the rocky shore told him the backwash was headed his way, and he knew his muscles were too weak to keep hold. Athena has abandoned me.

He saw the fatal turn of the water, felt the first tug that would tear him loose. He cursed the tide that would sweep him back out to sea with no more dignity than the young crabs just beyond his fingers . . . . And at that moment, he reversed the odds and threw off despair. He let go of the rock.

Odysseus had no time to chuckle at his own craftiness when the surf dragged him to where the water was only choppy, not crashing against the hard shore -- just as crabs always had half a chance to scuttle back after the roiling waves savaged them. He swam while gazing at that fell coast, the strain of shipwreck no longer allowing his legs to kick like a stallion tromping through knee-high barley. He looked for any imperfection, any gap in those rocks. Something, even a spit of sand in the dawn light. Then he saw the river.


  1. I really really enjoyed this. I also love the onomatopoeia of the first few sentences in the third paragraph. Very clever. The only tiny weeny nit pick is that I think the word 'chuckle' doesn't quite fit what is going on. Otherwise I would certainly read on. Very intriguing!

  2. MH87: Very cool idea. Odysseus is a really hardcore character and the tone is spot on. There is an issue with transition into Odysseus' head. In this instance:

    "The crash of surf against the rocky shore told him the backwash was headed his way, and he knew his muscles were too weak to keep hold. Athena has abandoned me"

    You'd either want a new sentence before the phrase "Athena has abandoned me" introducing us into the internal or just changing the pov to "Athena had abandoned him."

  3. I like the feel of this opening and, with the above-mentioned tweaks, it could be really solid! I particularly liked this line: "like a stallion tromping through knee-high barley."

    I want to see where his loyalty to Athena stands after this, assuming he survives! Good luck!

  4. I love fantasy based around the gods. But I felt that this was overly dramatic making Odysseus's voice a bit unclear. I would scale back on some of the "screaming defiance" and "threw off despair"s and focus on telling the story.

  5. I agree with secret agent in that it's a bit overwritten. There's no Odysseus here, it's all you. When he's screaming defiance at the gods, perhaps give him a voice and actually let us hear what he has to say.

    I also agree that the chuckling doesn't work. it doesn't fit in with the tone you've set. I do remember this from before, and I think this is your best version so far.

  6. i gotta say that you have to be brave to take on any greek myths after the brilliance of the percy jackson series. it has to stand out and say something different, and i think you have too much backstory here and the sentences are a bit long to follow the action properly. i would say to tighten it up and get into the plot in a more obvious way.