Tracy Barrett's Dark of the Moon Takes a Fresh Look at the Myth of the Minotaur

Sep 15, 2011, 05:30 ET from Tracy Barrett

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y., Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- When ancient Greek travelers returned home from Crete, whose citizens worshipped a god in the form of a bull and whose priest wore a bull costume during rituals, they garbled the facts and came up with the story of the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull who devoured human children. Their inaccurate retelling of Minoan beliefs gave the world one of its most popular myths. Now, Tracy Barrett, a specialist in historical fiction set in the ancient Mediterranean, reimagines the shadowy world that gave birth to the legend in her novel, Dark of the Moon (Harcourt).

In Crete, the moon goddess rules and a deformed and nearly mindless man, confined under the palace for his own and others' safety, is feared as a monster by everyone except his teenage sister Ariadne, and eventually, Prince Theseus of Athens, who has been sent to kill him. Told in alternating points of view by Ariadne and Theseus, Dark of the Moon explores issues of love, faith, and betrayal that today's teenagers can recognize.

Like Barrett's King of Ithaka (Henry Holt), a retelling of Homer's Odyssey from the point of view of Odysseus's son Telemachos, Dark of the Moon examines love, family, belief, and responsibility. Rich in historical detail and intriguing characters, both books explore how tales are created.

A starred review in Kirkus calls Dark of the Moon "both excitingly alien and pleasingly familiar." School Library Journal says it's "deft, dark, and enthralling," and Publishers Weekly asserts, "Fans of Greek mythology should appreciate this edgier twist on one of its most familiar tales."

Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous novels for young readers, including the popular Sherlock Files series. Her nonfiction includes The Ancient Greek World. Tracy was a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Regional Advisor for ten years and is now SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1994. An alumna of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, she holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from U.C. Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, TN, and teaches at Vanderbilt University. Visit her at

SOURCE Tracy Barrett