TITLE: CYNISCA AND THE OLIVE CROWN
GENRE: YA - Historical
The Games at Olympia have ever been a competition of men–until Cynisca enters her chariot.
Seventeen-year-old Cynisca is the awkward princess in the Spartan Royal House. Unlike her savvy siblings, her only talents lie in horsemanship, and to her politically minded relatives, she's useless. But everything changes when her crippled brother abruptly inherits the throne. Controversy erupts, and when an anti-royalist insults the new king, Cynisca snaps. A hostile exchange leads to a racing challenge, and Cynisca trounces the scoffer. That gives the king an idea: demonstrate royal authority by having Cynisca defeat his detractors in the great Olympic chariot race.
Cynisca jumps at the chance. For her, it's a rare opportunity to make her family proud. But the stakes–Olympic glory and unparalleled clout–are enormous. Moreover, no woman has ever dared enter the Games. With hostility from officials and entrants alike, the journey to Olympia may prove more treacherous than any track Cynisca's raced.
Based on events from Greek history, CYNISCA AND THE OLIVE CROWN relates the tale of the first woman to compete in the ancient Olympic Games.
A model Spartan princess was as skilled in the social arena as a veteran on the battlefield. Dignity was her armor, wit her blade. She could win allies with a glance, thwart rivals with a word. And she never ever embarrassed herself in public.
I was not that princess.
My ears burned as my sister pressed that point within the storeroom's thick brick walls. "Gods, Cynisca! How could you not remember Lord Polycles' wife?"
"I said I was sorry." In retrospect, I probably should've known better than to assume the pretty young woman accompanying the graying Assembly Leader to the town square was his daughter. Hoping to cast my mistake in a positive light, I said, "Maybe his wife was flattered–"
Proauga's fist slammed a shelf, rattling the clay lamps within. "Maybe you should have thought harder before opening your mouth. Considering how often you race against Polycles' son, you should know the man doesn't have any daughters."
"We don't exactly chat while harnessing the horses," I mumbled beneath my breath.
Proauga inhaled deeply, regaining composure with an effort. Her anger was far from spent, but with Agis returning from Delphi in two days, she had more important things to do. "Anyway, try not to insult anyone else. And fix your hair." She snatched the hairpin from my drooping knot and tossed it at me. "You're the king's half-sister. Look like it."
Easy for you to say. Envy wormed up as Proauga sashayed out.