The Arkadians

Lloyd Alexander

from Amazon.com “An expertly developed cast of characters rounds out this witty epic that’s filled with romance and adventure.  Lucian, the archetypal hero, knows more than he should about the king’s nefarious soothsayers and must escape the palace or be killed. He takes with him Fronto, a poet whose folly has turned him into a donkey.  Guided by Joy-in-the-Dance, a pythoness oracle who serves the Lady of Wild Things, they seek the Lady on an Oz-like journey for answers to their problems, joined on the way by Ops, a chief who was cast out of his village.

The travelers do not get what they had hoped for from the Lady, but Lucian does learn why her followers and his Bear Clan are enemies. The seekers are then sent on another journey that completes the heroic cycle. On one level, this is a rousing adventure complete with cliffhangers and do-or-die situations. On another, readers familiar with Greek mythology will find clever hints at the myths’ purpose and genesis.  The Arkadians have experiences and listen to tales that resemble the stories of Narcissus, the Wooden Horse of Troy, Odysseus, and Theseus and the Minotaur, among others. The women are the wise ones in this novel and play their own heroic roles.

On a deeper level, this tale is about love and peace, symbolized by the marriage of Lucian and Joy-in-the-Dance and the subsequent uniting of the Bear Clan and the Followers of the Lady. Thus, Arkadia becomes the mythical Arcadia, which poets lauded as a utopia. The plot has many twists and turns, but is not hard to follow, and Alexander’s style is eminently readable.”

Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC.  Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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