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The King Must Die

The King Must Die - Mary Renault Unfortunately “The King Must Die” was a disappointment. I was expecting something more like [a:David Gemmell|11586|David Gemmell|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1202771023p2/11586.jpg]’s epic re-imagination of the fall of Troy; a masterpiece recast of a legendary myth.

Part of the novel’s problem lies with its one-man cast. Theseus is neither a conflicted nor complex hero -- he’s emotionally detached, a little bit narcissistic and adheres to a strict moral code, but not in the interesting “Dexter” way. The story really suffers from the first person POV and, perhaps, could have been stronger with the addition of other characters.

The second problem was the slow-moving plot-line -- things only spiced up after the half-way point of the book! Although, the first part was necessary to explain Theseus’ actions in Crete, it was a boring necessity. And even when the plot picked up some pace, it spluttered into a halt, never really reaching a climax.

However, “The King Must Die” is not an overall failure. Moments where the myth shines through -- the Minotaur, the string, Ariadne’s fate -- were imaginative and inspirational.