Monday 6 November 2023

In the Shadow of the Bull (An Ancient Crete Mystery Book # 1) by Eleanor Kuhns

In a world of Goddess worship, sacred snakes and sacrifice, human jealousy, resentment and betrayal still run wild . . .

Ancient Crete, 1450 BC .   When her sister Arge drops to the floor in convulsions and then dies at her wedding, fifteen-year-old Martis, a young poet and bull leaper in training, is certain she was murdered. The prime suspect is the groom, Saurus, a barbarian from the Greek mainland, but when Arge’s Shade visits Martis, swearing Saurus is not her murderer, Martis vows to uncover the truth.
As Martis begins asking questions, she discovers that while her sweet sister Arge may have had no secrets, many of the people around Martis certainly do… but if the murderer is not Saurus, then who is it? The Egyptian lady who frequents the docks, one of Martis’s other sisters, her father, or someone entirely different?
Martis is in a battle against time to save her sister’s Shade from eternal unrest and uncover the killer before they strike again . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

In the Shadow of the Bull is the first book in the Ancient Crete Mystery series by Eleanor Kuhns and it is centered around Ancient Crete in 1450 BC .... I have not read a book from that time period before and I was thoroughly surprised at how captivating it was !!

In the Shadow of the Bulls follows Martis and her family.  Martis is preparing to be a bull leaper and entertain the High Priestess as well as everyone in her town ... unfortunately things shift after her sister Arge dies right before she is to be wed.  Arge is about to marry Saurus, a barbarian sailor, when Martis says a quick prayer to the Goddess trying to prevent the marriage from happening.  Martis believes that her prayer to the Goddess is what caused her sister to die.  Everything changes when Martis is visited by Arge's shade (ghost) insisting that she was poisoned and that Martis must find out who killed her.

Even though Martis did not like Saurus, she doesn't think that he should be executed for Arge's murder if he is innocent.  And after talking with him, she believes that he genuinely loved her sister and wouldn't harm her.  But who would want to kill her and how did they do it ?

When Martis finds out that Arge was poisoned, she has a lot to figure out.  Then when another sister, Nuia, helps Saurus escape and they flee on his boat, Martis is left with more questions than answers.

Martis continues to be visited by Arge's shade insisting that she will haunt the family if her murder is not solved and the murderer dealt with.  And when Nuia and Saurus are brought back and held in the caves until they will be executed, Martis knows her time is running out.

Readers will be on the edge of their seats reading this story.  It is so different from any other stories I have read and it was so fun getting down and dirty with Martis and her life.  Reading about how things were so different and difficult for her was quite a refreshing story.  It was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in a new series and look forward to more books to follow to see what will happen next for Martis and her family.

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