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Roberta Gellis
book cover

Book 5

Who recommends:
Who discommends: Linda, Barbara, Robin

I love the old Roberta Gellis books but I did not care for this. A hearty discommend for me. I forced myself to read it til the end. The story is ok but really dragged for me. Was very slow at times. Since the hero was a dog most of the time, the romance was almost non-existent til the later half and was still very sparse. I really miss her passionate love scenes as of old. This book seemed very dispassionate for me til almost the end. Now I'm wondering if I'll be able to enjoy BULL GOD. :-(--Linda (25 Aug 01)

Make that a discommend for my for THRICE BOUND by Gellis. Now, it *is* a romance and has a lot going for it. And I even waited a few days to see if it grew on me.

On the bright side, this is the story of Hekate and we get to meet up once again with Hades and Persephone from DAZZLING BRIGHTNESS, Orpheus and Eurydice from SHIMMERING SPLENDOR, Psyche and Eros from ENCHANTED FIRE, and we get an early story about Dionysos from BULL GOD. And you can almost taste the dust of the road and the cold wind and smell the pines in the story. A map at the beginning gives you a sense of where things are.

But on the dark side, (yawn), it finally came down to not much caring about what was going on. Hekate's father is Perses, a powerful sorcerer, who at the story's opening summons his daughter Hekate to inform her that he's decided that she will be the queen of Byblos - forget that there is already a queen (Hekate doesn't mind that Perses plans the queen's death). But the king is no charmer and of course Perses wants Hekate as the queen so he can end up ruling there.

Perses in a fit of anger once turned Hekate into an old crone, limps and aches and all, and Hekate learned then that she was a shapeshifter (a problem since magicians can benefit others but shapeshifters only profit themselves and so are often done away with.) Since that time, Hekate has been careful to avoid her real form or that of a nubile young maiden <g> since Perses can steal her power by coupling with her <ick>.

Now Hekate realizes the time has come to leave and she flees and ends up taking shelter in a cave occupied by Kabieros. It seems that only in the cave is Kabieros in human form -- once he leaves, he turns into a large black dog. And so the road story begins to find someone who can break Kabieros' curse.

Our pair spend some time in Colchis and narrowly escape with their lives, on through the middle east, finally to Olympus, where they discover a different sort of magic than they are used to, and finally back to Byblos where the curse is broken.

I had a feeling things weren't going well for me and this book when I spent two pages reading about pack animals, the terrain, where they spent the winter, what she sold to natives as a "healing woman, and a priest in a village. At the end of that two pages, I had somewhat lost a sense of where the story was. That feeling was re-inforced by the deliberate way of telling the story starting a section with "It took Hekate years to reach Olympus, but she had seen no need to hurry." Oh, yeah, she wasn't a dog. "Travelling again, she discovered she had developed a strong taste for new places, new people and new ideas. Having learned from Yehoraz the spell for drawing a language from a person's mind, she never needed to be marked as a stranger ..."

After a couple of pages similar to the above, you lose sense of what time is being covered -- once the story is finally rejoined with action, I realized I was going to be told the story of the intervening years before Hekate reached Olympus.

This is a fairly lengthy book, all 530 pages of it, and I first thought the length was the problem -- this would have been a better book if it had been tightened. And perhaps it would have been a better book if more vivid scenes were included -- this is a classic road book and covers many dusty miles that are fairly uneventlful with not much conversation -- although Hekate and Kabieros do speak together.

But after this one, I went back and picked up BULL GOD (which I hadn't yet read.) Nope, it wasn't that I just wasn't ready for Gellis -- BULL GOD is definitely a story that goes somewhere -- not so with THRICE BOUND.

So, umm, I guess if you're a completist or want to read some pretty fascinating tales of everyday life in ancient middle east and Greece, this is your book. But for an entertaining story, it definitely lacks direction and purpose.--Barbara (09 Mar 02)

Glad it wasn't just me. I love Roberta Gellis but this was a slow read for me. But I'm really glad that BULL GOD is better. I've been afraid to pick it up. :-) --Linda (10 Mar 02)

I read this though it wasn't anywhere near as good as BULL GOD. The romance was more disconnected.--Robin (19 May 02)

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