Shadow of Colossus
T. L. Higley
Trade Paperback/400 pages
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". . . Set during the week prior to the earthquake that toppled the statue of Helios of Rhodes, the statue is a touchstone for the central character, Tessa of Delos. . ."
T. L. Higley’s Shadow of Colossus is the first in a series of novels to focus on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is set during the week prior to the earthquake that toppled the statue of Helios of Rhodes. The statue is a touchstone for the central character, Tessa of Delos.
At a young age Tessa is sold by her mother to a procuress and becomes her most prized hetaera. Tessa remembers it as the day of her death and longs for the day when her body would follow, yet is shamed that she can not bring herself to finalize the act. As she grows older, she becomes famous on the island—beautiful and brilliant and outspoken. She is a companion that men will spend a fortune to possess.
Her current owner, an elderly strategoi or political leader, uses her intelligence, insight, and beauty to further his political aspirations yet treats her abominably. In a heated argument he is accidentally killed by a falling tile. Everyone in the household realize that Tessa will be accused of causing his death.They agree to cover up the death, to allow Tessa time to make good her escape from the island that has become her prison because of her fame. But a corrupt man chooses this time to begin a campaign to gain power amid violence, and he plans to blame on the Jews.
Tessa says she didn’t believe in friendship, she has made a few new friends among the Jewish community. So she is drawn into the effort to uncover the person behind the mysterious circumstances on the island before the citizens turn against the Jews with fatal results. Everything is brought to a conclusion as the earthquake hits and Helios falls.
There is abundant dialogue and quick pacing, but the language is spare and gives the reader little feel for life on ancient Rhodes.
Reviewer: Denise Lowe