Hades’ Daughter (The Troy Game, #1)

ISBN: 0765344424
ISBN 13: 9780765344427
By: Sara Douglass

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About this book

Created by gods. Destroyed by revenge. Reborn in the darkest magic of all. THE TROY GAME. The ancient Aegean sorcery lives on.Theseus bested the Minotaur with the aid of Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth. So when Theseus betrays her, Ariadne turns her wrath upon him and all his world, the catastrophe strikes the Mediterranean. Thera explodes, Atlantis sinks below the waves, poisons fill the air, tidal waves inundate nations, entire peoples are destroyed.Amid the chaos, the great city of Troy falls, undone as much by Ariadne's revenge as by Greek cunning. Among the scattered Trojans wanders one man, Brutus, who carries with him the Troy Game, the greatest secret the western world has ever known. And Ariadne wants it – badly. As do her wicked daughter-heir successors.The Greek goddess, Artemis appears to Brutus and offers him a splendid and powerful future if only he can resurrect the Troy Game. Hungry for power and a home for his people, Brutus accepts her challenge. And so the Troy Game begins, on the shores of the Thames in ancient Iron Age Britain.But the malevolent Minotaur, Asterion, has escaped death and seeks to destroy the Game completely. And Cornelia, Brutus’ strange, unknowable wife, trails death in her wake.Everywhere lurks Ariadne’s legacy of hatred, carrying western Europe into a maelstrom of darkness

Reader's Thoughts


I really liked this book. (I've never met a Sara Douglass book I didn't like) It combines elements of ancient Roman mythology and Celtic mythology in a compelling fantasy world. It has power plays, sorcery, gods and goddesses, as well as evil personified in the Minotaur. There is quite a bit of unrequited love, sensuousness, and lust. The story line has a parallel story that takes place in the future running throughout the book. Chapters are told in different voices, which helps to give insight into the well-developed characters. This is the first of a four book series. I've also read the second book and found it just as compelling. Now, I have to acquire the last two books in this series.


I was looking for a new author in the SF/Fantasy shelves of my local independent bookstore, and found a large section by Sara Douglass. The Troy Game series (there are four books) seemed worth a try, though I'm not big on historical fantasy.Well.By half way through this first book, I knew that I had to have the next ones ready and sitting on my shelf. (I just started book 4.) It has turned into one of those stay-up-too-late ignore-the-kids-while-I'm-eating-lunch kind of series. The characters are real and many-layered. They have interesting and sometimes conflicting motives. The relationships are genuine, multifaceted, and deep.If you like fantasy at all and enjoy deep and lengthy (4 books, 600+ pages each) stories that grow and develop along the way, then I can't recommend these highly enough.


While this starter to the series is packed full of passion and promise, I feel like it was the best book in the series. Without spoilers, by the time I was reading the fourth book, I was so disgusted with the main character that I found her unlikable. When terrible things would happen to her, I didn't care anymore. So I quit reading the book at that point.As a setup for a series, it does it's job in spades. The four rating will be the highest this series will get from me.


I was kind of more than a little surprised (and impressed to be honest) how much I ended up liking this novel at the end of it. For the first 100 pages I was in agony; seeking only to read my required amount (I give every book 100 pages to shape up, though there are exceptions to that rule), before I could smack it across the room and into my to-sell pile. But somehow I ended up reading the next 100, and the 100 after that. Hades' Daughter has an...interesting...plot. And by that I mean its crazily convoluted and just...well out there. Reincarnation, jumps in time, moments with a murderous Minotaur (and believe me that sounds much more fun and scary than it actually was), gods and goddesses, ritualistic, rapey sex...Yeah, it's one of those fantasy novels. With plenty of emotional outpouring (literally and metaphorically) by the characters to boot.I think my shelves say it all. The cast in Hades' Daughter had both a very whiny (enough to rival the majority of the YA heroines I read) and highly annoying protagonist (her tears alone....jeeze) and a bunch of idiots who get much too overworked over their jealous feelings. And one of the main villains can't seem to figure out how to assassinate someone, even though she has the power to create crazy sea storms, destroy gods, and apparently is good at manipulation based on her ability to control these jealous idiots. but that would ruin the plot, Carissa. The main villain, said Minotaur, is sadly as about as interesting and compelling as our whiny, pathetic heroine, and most of his random moments made me want to jump in with a jar of tar-tar sauce and kill him, so I wouldn't have to read about him chuckling in the darkness and stroking his knife (no that is not a euphemism, I hope anyway) while waiting for his revenge. Which, considering there are THREE sequels to this series, is going to be a lonnnnnnnnng time in coming. Which is also kind of the reason why I'm not going to continue reading the series, even though I'm sort of interesting in reading more. I'm trying to be more selective in my reading choices, something a long 500-pages meh quartet doesn't quite cut it, plus based on the synopsis for each of them, there's a definite reincarnation and repetition theme going on, probably with some added character development. Which, if you hadn't guessed, I'm not quite intrigued by. All in all, while I was somehow sucked into this novel (something I'm still trying to figure out-its definitely not the writing, maybe it's train-wreck-cant-look-away worth?), its not a fantasy series I wish to continue. Too much crying. I've been there once before, with Wizard's First Rule. On the bright side, however, my reaction does bode well for my future reading of The Wayfarer Redemption. 3.5/5

Michael Nalbone

Mayhem, Murder, Magic, Sex, Jealousy, and Drama.

Robbie Cox

A historical fantasy, this book has some great moments and then some rather poor ones. While I enjoyed Sara Douglass's writing, the characters quite often seemed too much. Brutus was anything but the man he claimed to be and in many ways he was more of a spoiled brat than his thirteen or fourteen year old wife that he conquered and raped. The other member of this love triangle, Genvissa, was too evil for her own good and came off not quite believable. While I will continue the series and hope many things will become more obvious i the further installments, I was left feeling not quite satisfied with this story. Furthermore, the brief leaps forward in time I found to be more exhausting than helpful.

Steph Philippe

I liked it. I like the character development, and you don't recognise them at all by the time you get to the end of the series. Amazing how they evolved before your eyes without noticing. And if the characters are utterly unlikeable, that's part of the story. Not every story has to be a Hollywood, happy ending fairy tale with a hero or heroine to champion for. It's just different - and sometimes different is good, and this one is definitely interesting.

Karen Brooks

Sara Douglass has a wild and wonderful imagination and the concept underpinning this first book in a quartet enables her to explore it to its wicked fullest. Drawing on a mixture of Greek myth, pagan practices and history, Douglass weaves a rich tale of foundation, bloodshed, loss and power intertwined with misunderstandings and torn loyalties. The characters are larger than life and their rise and fall matches this. Looking forward to the next one in the quartet, and its leap forward in time, in what promises to be another fabulous series.


Its an okay book. It took forever to get going and once it did I didn't find it overly well done. The last 50 pages or so were pretty good but not much more than that. It is one of those books that is just just interesting enough that you continue reading it in hopes it improves.None of the characters are likable except maybe for Coel. They are all pretty much awful people who only really care about themselves and do so many stupid things.I love anything to do with Ancient Greece so this book was a great disappointment to me. I doubt I will ever bother to finish the series.


The book shows promise, though it's not strong enough to stand on its own. I'm going to have to suspend judgement until I've read the rest of the serious - but at least the first book did make me want to read the rest.I'm not sure that the "original" story is helped by the brief interludes with the "final" story, however. It's almost like the Douglass wanted to say "no look! Something bigger is going on!" Well, yes, we the readers could figure that out on our own. Leaving out the bits with M. Skelton would not have detracted from the enjoyment of the story.

Alex at Raiding Bookshelves

Original Language: EnglishPublisher: Voyager BooksCountry: AustraliaPublication Date: December 2002ISBN: 0732271649Page Count: 596Hade's Daughter is the first of Sara Douglass' (Sara Warneke) Troy Games Quartet. Narrated by the adolescent Dorian Princess Cornelia, Hades Daughter is a fantastic historical adventure in an alternate universe. Set in the Ancient World, a hundred years after the fall of the legendary city of Troy, Hade's Daughter is about the greatest Game ever played. At the heart of all the great cities of history lies the Labyrinth; the Labyrinth protects cities from harm until the great Greek warrior Theseus shuns Ariadne and brings doom down upon all civilisations. Hade's Daughter plays on the legend of the Great Labyrinth in Crete, built for King Minos at Knossos. King Minos angered the Gods when he claimed a fine bull for himself, after offering it to the Sea God Poseidon. In retaliation the Gods made Minos' wife fall in love with the bull and she bore it a child; the Minotaur, half man. half bull. Minos had Daedalus build a great Labyrinth for the Minotaur. Each year (or nine depending on the source) seven youths and seven maidens were sacrificed from Athens into the Labyrinth. By the third cycle, Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens, volunteered as a sacrifice. On his arrival in Crete Theseus met Ariadne, daughter of Minos, and she fell in love. Ariadne gave Theseus the key to defeating the Labyrinth ( a golden ball of string) and he defeated the Minotaur. Unfortunately for Theseus, some accounts say the Gods forced him to abandon Ariadne on an island instead of taking her back to Athens with him, and this is where Hade's Daughter begins. (More on the legend...)The scorned Ariadne is not just a Princess of Crete, she is the powerful Mistress of the Labyrinth and in her anger she brings destruction to the Ancient World. The cities of Athens, Troy and many other ancient civilisations fall as destruction follows in the footsteps of Theseus. One hundred years after the curse of Ariadne, the Game is dead and only one Kingsman (the male partner of the Mistress) is left.Douglass writes a convincing account of the fall of glorious cities, allowing her readers to picture events as she portrays. Hade's Daughter is obviously well researched; the small details from language, to clothing and behaviour show a deep understanding of the Ancient Worlds she recreates through her words. From the Greek city of Mesopotamia to the Llangaria (early England) Douglass' attention to detail makes the narrative more plausible. Brutus of Troy is believed to be the original founder of England (see more here) and her portrayal of events follows the correct time-line while offering an alternate view point.The characters are diverse. Brutus is an important legendary/historical figure, along with his fellow Corineas (founder of Cornwall), Ariadne and Theseus are well known mythical characters; by using real figures, Douglass had created an alternate history for us to appreciate. The dark magic of the Labyrinth is something worthy of both our awe and our fear. Woven through the narrative is a secondary story. Written in short bursts, are the follow up stories of the main cast. From Asterion, the Minotaur, to Genivessa, the Darkwitch, to Cornelia, the innocent, a familiar cast appear in the unfamiliar and (somewhat) modern setting of war torn London. By introducing the future storyline in Hades Daughter, Douglass is foreshadowing the events of the following three novels, but never gives anything important away.If you are looking for a fun and intriguing historical novel then Hade's Daughter, and the rest of the Troy Games quartet are a wonderful addition to your library. A lengthy and detailed novel, it has loveable and emotional characters that will keep you on your toes.


This was the second attempt at this book - the first being when I was a teenager and I just couldn't get through it. This time was totally different. A very complex and compelling story taking us back to the days of the ancient Greek gods. With the fall of the ancient Labyrinth, evil is unleashed on the Greek world and civilization quickly crumbles. Far away on the coast of what will one day be England, one small outpost thrives with the Mistress of the Labyrinth as it's leader. Calling out to her partner, the Kingman, she sets in motion a devastating series of events that will either lead the world into the light, or destroy it forever.While at times the complex storyline made the book drag a little - every sentence had a reason for being there, you just might not realize it yet. Definitely not a book for those wanting a quick run through a fantasy land, this book requires a bit of concentration - but it's well worth the effort. About half way through things just started falling into place and I had a hard time putting it down.


I think if this was a standalone novel I would have rated it lower, because finishing without knowing there is more to come leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The protagonist is a weak woman but I liked her anyway, and her weakness is important so she had room to grow in the series. You will find yourself loving and hating each character at different points throughout the series, and you are meant to. The books combine enough history and mythology to please those who like that sort of thing (like myself) and there is quite a few R rated scenes so prepare yourself for that (anyone familiar with Sara Douglass will have already done so). A book I have read many times over the last 5 or so years and I recommend anyone who finishes this book to continue the series. It definitely gets more complex as you continue.

Helen Petrovic

I’m going to come right out and say it; I loved this book.I’m not quite sure why – I’ve always considered myself a very character-driven reader, and I found every single one of the characters in this book utterly unappealing, to the point where about half way through I remember remarking that I had no idea who I was supposed to be cheering for. Yet still, this story gripped me, and I had to read on.Hades’ Daughter combines elements of ancient roman mythology and pagan ritual into a compelling fantasy world. It is a world of lust, sex, violence (and violent sex), jealousy, ambition and power.Douglass has been criticized for over-zealous depictions of sex and depravity in her novels, but I didn’t find this to be so. Douglass is a female-centric writer, and I think it is hard to imagine a female protagonist in a medieval setting who does not confront ‘sex-as-weapon’ – either used against her or wielded by her for advantage. I enjoyed the backdrop of the feminine world that this book so richly invokes; the roles of woman as mother and lover, and the concepts of fertility, birth and rebirth.As I have said, the characters in this book are seriously flawed, yet fascinating all the same; Cornelia is desperately needy to the point of melodrama, Brutus as his name implies is heartless and brutal, Ariadne’s power-hungry desire for revenge and her cold jealousy makes her entirely unlikeable. And behind it all, lurks the greatest evil, the Minotaur who once inhabited the heart of the ancient Labyrinth, and aims to destroy all their plans.A fabulous start to a series, and, in my opinion, Sara Douglass’s best.Reblogged from http://highfantasyaddict.wordpress.com


Touch problematic in various of ways.Rape. Victim blaming. Stockholm-acceptance and internalization of abuse.All of it is portrayed in a pretty shitty manner, but I still find the book to be one of my favorites...

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