Sweet Muse of Madness
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Sweet Muse of Madness

Book One in the Song of Greece Series

626 pp. Published by Anthony Giarmo 2012

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In the novel Sweet Muse of Madness, we experience the dramatic interaction between those who seek truth in nature, and those who find consolation in a God of Judgment. We journey back five thousand years to the Plain of Thessaly in pre-Bronze Age Greece, where we are introduced to Phanes and Ilithyia, God-King and God-Queen, respectively, of the Sacred Grove. Believed by the People of the Plain to be divine beings, Phanes and Ilithyia both are the embodiments of the Earth Mother, and as such, reflect their health over the land. The failure of the crops, however, would be indication that the inhabitants of the Sacred Grove are unworthy of their status and thus must be replaced. But even with a robust harvest, Phanes must continually demonstrate his strength by defeating any and all challengers in mortal combat, and Ilithyia must prove her worthiness by bringing forth healthy babies.

They have two teenage daughters, Parthenia and Gamelia, who are considered to be partially divine and so can travel to and from the Sacred Grove and mingle with common folk, unlike Phanes and Ilithyia, who are confined to their inviolate domain, where no mortal may tread.

Ilithyia’s mother, Cybele, and father, Attis, are the matriarch and patriarch of the farmhold Thessalia, and are also highly respected elders of the community, which is called the Clutch of the Sun Stones. Corybas, the Caretaker of the Sacred Grove, and Educas the Ponderer, are the two younger siblings of Ilithyia, and have not set eyes on their divine sister for thirteen years.

Into this community comes In-Shushinak, merchant-priest from the land of Sumer across the World Sea, and his young acoloyte, Hypsistos. It is In-Shushinak’s intention to proselytize the faith of his Heavenly Father before the Goddess worshipping people of the Plain, but to his dismay, Hypsistos is seduced by the unleashed passions of this wild land, as personified by Parthenia and Gamelia.

First in the Maddening, a seasonal celebration that purges demons and manifests violent, lustful rebirth, and later in the Sacred Grove itself, Hypsistos, driven by desire and ambition, meets an unexpected fate wherein a God-King must be challenged, a God-Queen and her daughters embraced, and where the seeds of a transformed world will be sown.