Brief Description: A girl helps her father raise horses, which the village people don’t understand until the horses prove themselves during an enemy raid. Last book in Minoan Wings trilogy.
Historical Era: Antiquity
Date Range: 1500 BC
Original Publication: 2021
Suitable for Grades: 4-8th
Target Audience: Middle Grade
This exciting tale features a Bronze Age Minoan girl on the cusp of womanhood, who must overcome her physical limitations and timidity to help her town during a foreign invasion. Preteen Clio laments her injured leg, the result of a fall from her horse. No longer able to ride, she hobbles around with the help of a crutch, gamely assisting her mother making prized pottery. Her Greek father, a Trojan refugee, has tamed several local wild horses and taught Clio everything she knows about horsemanship. As this story begins, he is building her a chariot so that she can continue to enjoy her horse. The rest of the townspeople witness this equestrian activity with bemusement, having no use for horses themselves. They consider goats and oxen more practical beasts of burden.
The novel realistically depicts everyday Minoan society in a bustling and prosperous village populated with craftspeople and traders, shepherds and religious leaders. Life is nevertheless sometimes harsh. Clio’s injury is not the only tragedy suffered by her family. An older sister died giving birth to a baby boy, and an aunt had been sacrificed to the gods. Clio’s loving parents try to protect her from a similar fate as the religious oracle calls for a new sacrifice in response to the foreign raiders.
Will Clio and her friends be able to help thwart the raiders? Will a young maiden have to be sacrificed? Will the horses prove themselves useful? Read this exciting (and educational) tale to find out!
The novel is written alternately in prose and verse, which can make it difficult to ascertain whose point of view is represented and may frustrate young readers. Other material includes a map of Gournia, which is now a fully excavated Minoan archaeological site. It is a fun exercise to compare the Google Map satellite view of the archaeological site with the map in the book and the descriptions in the text.