Searching for the Gods by J Ryan – Guest Post

Searching for the Gods by J Ryan – Guest Post

Today we welcome author J Ryan to the blog with her guest post ‘Searching for the Gods’. Check out her post below and her latest book ‘The Wolf Cub of Sparta‘ which was released on 22nd November 2022. – This post contains affiliate links.

J Ryan

Having completed her contemporary teen spy thriller series, Missing Dad, J Ryan found another YA spy story taking shape from the Greek mythology that had fascinated her ever since she was a child. Enthusiastic feedback from the secondary schools where she is a regular author visitor confirmed that her audience is ready to welcome teen heroes and heroines from more than 2,000 years ago.

Guest Post 2022 image

Searching for the Gods

When I was ten, my favourite occupation was to sit on the floor, leafing through the Waverley Children’s Encyclopaedia in search of Greek gods. The illustrations were exquisite, in fine, pale green ink. And although I strayed sometimes into the realms of Nordic and
Roman gods, the Greek deities remained my firm favourites.

Many years later, I had completed my ‘Missing Dad’ teen spy thriller series and was wondering what was to come next. Then I realised that it was to be another teen spy thriller, but set more than two thousand years ago. I had stumbled upon the Krypteia – the secret
service that the best Spartan youths were selected for. And suddenly all the creative power of Greek myths, gods and goddesses and the heroes of Homer’s Iliad started rumbling like thunder in my head.

Writing about Ancient Greece cuts through the techno-clutter that contemporary heroes have to deal with, and infuses the action with additional layers of meaning. So when The Wolf Cub of Sparta opens, Lycon and Zena are not climbing a mountain on a moonlit night; instead, ‘The goddess Selene is with us tonight. From time to time, she shows her radiant face behind trailing clouds’. Instead of rough weather at sea, we have Poseidon in a grumpy mood, or hitting them with the full force of his clenched fist.

Poseidon Pixabay image

When Lycon is being trained as an armourer, he embraces his new skills with a passion because he knows that he is now a follower of Hephaestos, the god of fire and metallurgy. And, like Hephaestos, Lycon is hugely inventive; creating a strong new chariot for Zena that is based on the structure of the shield of Achilles, which inspired him in a dream. Hephaestos’ mobility inventions included winged sandals; Lycon learns to fit injured Spartan soldiers with wooden legs, and to amputate gangrenous limbs, saving the life of his
comrade-in-arms, Leon.

On the moral axis, the behaviour of the gods and mythical heroes inspires one key player in Wolf Cub to make character judgements at a tender age. Lycon becomes tutor to the 13-year old Athenian girl, Lydia, and suggests, while reading the Iliad, that Achilles’ giant
sulk and refusal to fight when Briseis was taken from him by Agamemnon were understandable. She feels that Achilles should have risen above Agamemnon’s egoism; ‘It was up to the mortals to set an example to the gods who had started the whole thing. The gods were no better than squabbling children who could throw thunderbolts!’

And so we have the gods populating the ancient world in a way that makes our world a lonely place. And we have our protagonists vying with and surpassing their deities in ability, inventiveness and decent behaviour. Since time immemorial we have been searching for the gods. Perhaps, like the characters in Wolf Cub, we should find gods that we can look down on, instead of the other way. Either way, it makes for exciting writing.

Wolf Cub Cover

The Wolf Cub of Sparta

Author – J Ryan
Publisher – The Book Guild Ltd
Pages – 200
Release Date – 22nd November 2022
ISBN 13 – 978-1915352552
Format – ebook, paperback

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One night on a mountain, history holds its breath as two young Spartans wrestle…

One is the head of Sparta’s elite youth secret service, the Krypteia; Leon is looking for a lieutenant. The other was abandoned on the mountain as a baby with a crippled leg; Lycon kneels to no one. Bonded by war, they will fight to save all Greece from the deadliest Persian invasion ever. If they lose, Western history will take an entirely different course.

Combining an impressive knowledge of ancient Greek culture, history and warfare with a gripping story of camaraderie and friendship, The Wolf Cub of Sparta is the perfect read for anyone fascinated by Greek myth and the heroes and heroines behind the legends.

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Author Link


*Poseidon – Image credit: Image by intographics from Pixabay

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