Clytemnestra

A Novel

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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 14 Mar 2023
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark

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Description

Madeline Miller's Circe meets Cersei Lannister in a stunning debut following Clytemnestra, the most notorious heroine of the ancient world and the events that forged her into the legendary queen.

As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best...

You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.

But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice.

Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods' hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did.

If power isn't given to you, you have to take it for yourself.

A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece for fans of Jennifer Saint and Natalie Haynes, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.

Madeline Miller's Circe meets Cersei Lannister in a stunning debut following Clytemnestra, the most notorious heroine of the ancient world and the events that forged her into the legendary queen.

As...


Advance Praise

“Crackles with vivid fury, passion and strength. A powerful, thought-provoking portrayal of a fascinating and complicated woman framed in beautiful prose. I loved it”–Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne and Elektra

"Powerful and sympathetic, Clytemnestra shines a light on Helen of Troy's overshadowed sister. Crafted with page-turning suspense, Casati spins a mesmerizing story of an ambitious warrior queen who must use all her skill to protect herself and those she loves from men who view women not as equals, but as pawns to be sacrificed upon the altars of lust, greed, and fame. An ancient and intriguing tale made fresh for today's 21st century battles." ― Liz Michalski, author of Darling Girl

"Bold and elegant, Costanza Casati's debut bursts onto the page in flashes of light. This book deconstructs Clytemnestra's infamy and then, with tremendous empathy and wisdom, reconstructs her into an enthrallingly complex figure filled with passion and spirit. This fiery tale of revenge and desire really is the stuff of legend―Casati's unflinching storytelling is irresistible." ― Sarah Priscus, author of Groupies

"Clytemnestra redefines the retelling genre with a heroine who, instead of enduring suffering, avenges it. Complex characters, stylish writing and a glimpse into the heart of one of history's most reviled women – Casati's Clytemnestra is a self-determined warrior queen" ― Annie Garthwaite, acclaimed author of Cecily

“Crackles with vivid fury, passion and strength. A powerful, thought-provoking portrayal of a fascinating and complicated woman framed in beautiful prose. I loved it”–Jennifer Saint, bestselling...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781728268231
PRICE $26.99 (USD)
PAGES 448

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Average rating from 48 members


Featured Reviews

I requested an arc of this book solely due to the MOST BEAUTIFUL book cover and title I have seen in a while. I had never heard of Constanza Casati before so I wasn't sure what kind of experience I was going to have with this book and let me tell you I am STUNNED at how beautiful this book was. I am SO happy and thankful that I was given the chance to review such a gem of a read.

This book will transport you to another world where you will suffer right along with the main character, Actually, it would be more accurate to say that you don't just feel like you're walking along side her, but that you actually ARE her. You will feel every single emotion the main character feels. Whether its feelings passionate, all-encompassing love or experiencing that familiar deep, visceral feeling of wanting to enact revenge for being wronged, you will go on an emotional rollercoaster. This book felt PERSONAL and I'm still sitting here taking it all in.

Clytemnestra was an easy read in that its fast-paced and beautiful prose kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. It was absolutely riveting, and one of the most compulsive reading experiences I've have in quite some time. My ONLY complaint is that I wish it was longer as I wasn't ready to leave that world just yet.

I'm already planning a re-read of it and will be purchasing the hard copy version when it is eventually released.. Please do not change the cover. It is PERFECT!

Miss Constanza Casati understood the assignment and so I say without hesitation that this book is a solid 5/5 stars.

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This was my first book reading from Costanza Casati, and I'm glad I was able to read this. I love Mythology retellings and am always excited to get to read a new project. Clytemnestra was exactly what I was hoping for and really enjoyed the way Ms. Casati wrote Clytemnestra. It felt like the original myth but was beautifully redone and still felt like the same story but different. I look forward to read more from Ms. Casati as I really enjoyed this book.

"In the stark light of the torch, Aegisthus wields his sword. It flashes forward, like a lion’s claws, then back. There is nothing elegant about his movements, nothing graceful. There is a kind of desperation in the way he fights. The sky bleeds above him, then grows darker, angrier. She holds her jeweled knife tight. She waits as he turns his back to her, making his sword whirl, and then she throws it in his direction. His head jerks back in time. He lifts the sword to his face, and her knife bounces off it."

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Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati is a great historical fiction that shines the spotlight on an enigmatic, complex, and fascinating woman of ancient Greece.

It is just fascinating and fabulous that a woman of Greek Mythology can be so notorious and talked about, but yet has had such a small voice and has been type casted and condemned (traditionally). Well, Ms. Casati is about to change all of that.

Invigorating, addictive, emotional, dramatic, and stunning are just a few words I can find to describe this gem. I was captivated from the very beginning and never wanted it to end.

Ms. Casati has a true talent and has made an ancient historical and mythological figure current, relevant, real, and human.

Just wonderful.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Sourcebooks Landmark for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 3/7/23.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this author, but I love a Greek mythology retelling, so I requested an ARC. Thank you to netgalley, the author, and the publishers for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This novel was stunning, particularly for (what I believe is) a debut.

Although there were moments when I felt that the novel could have been shortened, there were just as many where I wished it wouldn’t end. The writing was beautiful and stayed true to the lyrical format/prose of old mythology, while managing to modernize some of the language. The characters were complex and complicated and, although the minor characters were numerous, even they were well-developed and purposefully written. For this genre, this novel really stood out to me in how thoughtful Costanza was in making tangible the relationships between the players and their complex feelings, which I experienced as I read. Again, I appreciated the attention that was given to characters other than Clytemnestra in this regard. It brought the book to life.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, and I definitely recommend it. I will for sure be on the lookout for more books by Costanza.

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If you enjoy Madeline miller, or myth retellings you will love this. It was hard to put down to do my daily tasks, I ended up reading it in 2 days! Highly recommend it!

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Absolutely breathtaking and hard to put down! There have been a lot of retellings of Greek myths from a woman’s point of view, and even a recent story of Clytemnestra, but this is just as good as Electra!

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I really enjoyed this read so much I read it all in one sitting couldn't seem to put it down will definitely recommend to others to read as well thank you so much netgalley for approving me for this arc

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This was an interesting book. I'm pretty familiar with Clytemnestra through other things i've read, particularly her killing her husband and the events of Orestes, but she was never the main character, so seeing the story from her pov is new. I also didn't know about her earlier life (the first bit of the book is modeled off later myths about her that I haven't seen mentioned much in other adaptions similar to this), but it added so much context to her story and why she does what she does that it's hard to imagine the narrative without it. The story starts when Clytemnestra is a child in Sparta, and goes through her killing Agamemnon, stopping before any of the later part of her myth takes place. I thought she was a strong, well-written character that gave voice to a famous, and maybe often notorious, character from Greek mythology. It's hard not to side with Clytemnestra here, seeing what she has to go through. While there are obvious parts where the author changed things around (like how Agamemnon meets his end), overall it follows the tone of the original myths well and was a fun read.

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Clytemnestra gave a much more detailed and nuanced view of the titular character than has been given in the traditional mythology. Told from her perspective, her actions and choices are colored in a completely different way than in other tellings.

I really felt for what she went through; the way that grief and loss can shape a person’s choices. This was a super interesting read, especially if you’re already familiar with mythology!

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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC copy to read and review. These thoughts are my own!

I’m a big mythology lover so when I seen this book; I knew I had to request it.

I really love having a woman’s point of view because most mythology retellings are from a man’s stand point and you don’t get to see the woman’s side or perspective. I hadn’t known much about Clytemnestra because she hasn’t been a main character in any of the stories I’ve read or research I’ve done. She’s very interesting that’s for sure. I’m not sure I’d compare her to Cersi though. I hated Cersi; I didn’t hate Clytemnestra.

This book was lengthy but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There were parts of the book that drew me in and I didn’t want to put it down but then there were also parts that kind of bored me and I just wanted to either rush through it or just put it down. I think all in all, it’s a decent book. Would I have shorten the book, yes but then again it’s not my book. I would definitely buy an actual copy to put with my mythology collection. It’s a great read for people who love mythology retellings.

4 stars!

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Told through the eyes of Clytemnestra, ancient Greek’s huntress, warrior, mother, murderess, and queen.

If there’s one story I could read retellings over and over of, it’s the Trojan War. They are always focused on Helen and Paris. I’ve always known Clytemnestra and been curious about her. I absolutely loved this look from her perspective. Helen is a secondary character, and really not all that interesting compared to her big sis. Clytemnestra is the perfect portrayal of revenge and female empowerment in a time when they had none. Even though I knew everything that was going to happen, it wasn’t any less intriguing. I wish this book never ended!

“Gods do not care about us. They have other concerns. That is why you should never live in the shadow of their anger. It is men you must fear. It is men who will be angry with you if you rise too high, if you are too much loved.”

“Lately kings and heroes have dropped like flies, but, just as her grandmother predicted so long ago, queens outlive them all.”

Clytemnestra comes out 3/7.

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Huge thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks and Costanza Casati for this ARC. I read this book at the tail end of a mythology binge, and I loved this one. This book is all about Clytemnestra’s story, from details of her childhood in Sparta, all the way up through the end of the Trojan war. I went into this book knowing a lot about this story and specifically the women of the Trojan war. Even though I knew the story, the artistic take on this story still left me surprised and on the edge of my seat. I felt so emotionally attached to the story and every scene, even though I already knew the ending, which is something so special and so hard to do. I specifically loved how much of the book was focused on Clytemnestra’s life and childhood in Sparta. In my personal life, my mother told me and my sister stories of the strong and powerful women in Spartan lore. So reading more about the Spartans in this book really touched me in a way that I felt connected to the stories from my own mother. This book was powerful, emotional and empowering. I loved this take on Clytemnestra’s story and would recommend this to anyone who wants to read more Greek mythology.
(4,5 stars rounded up)

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In "Clytemnestra", Costanza Casati has taken a woman who's frequently villainized in Greek mythology and given a fresh and complex take on her life and story.

Clytemnestra is frequently remembered for her role in murdering her husband Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus, after his victorious return after the Trojan War, but many forget that she's the sister of Helen of Troy. In this retelling, Casati starts at the beginning of her childhood, crafting a fiercely strong and protective woman who readily defends her siblings in wrestling matches - a common occurrence for both women and men and Sparta. She falls in love with and marries Tantalus, King of Pisa, and gives birth to their son, but her life is upended when her father, Tyndareus, enters into a scheme with Agamemnon and Menelaus of Mycenae. Tantalus and their son are brutally murdered by Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra is forced to marry her husband's and son's murderer; Helen is similarly coerced into a marriage with Menelaus.

In the years that follow, Clytemnestra works to solidify her position as Queen, juggling the roles as ruler, mother, and unwilling wife to a man she never loved. Her physical prowess and intelligence make her a respected and feared leader, but we get to see her moments of weakness when it comes to helping her siblings and the love she has for her children Iphigenia, Elektra, Orestes, and Chrysothemis. When her sister Helen leaves Menelaus for Paris of Troy, she prays that her husband will die in the future battle - but is once again has her world fall apart when Agamemnon tricks her and Iphigenia, and sacrifices his own daughter for a "little bit of wind" to allow their ships to sail. Clytemnestra has to deal with this loss alone, and in Agamemnon's absence, finds respite in Aegisthus, a traitor to Agamemnon's and Menelaus's family. Upon Agamemnon's return, she finally acts on the wish she's harbored for decades, having to face the repercussions of her actions.

I'm incredibly impressed that this is Casati's debut novel; the writing was beautifully crafted, descriptive, and flowed across passages and chapters. She took on the perspective of Clytemnestra, highlighting the complexity of her character, emotions, and thoughts thoroughly, and created a woman who felt real-to-life that many of us could connect and empathize with. Instead of a devious, traitorous queen, we're presented with a woman forced into a life against her will, having faced incalculable loss over her life, doing her best to protect her loved ones.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone, especially fans of Greek mythology retellings, and can't wait for its release in March 2023!

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Everything you could want from a mythology-based fantasy. In the vein of both Jennifer Saint and Natalie Haynes, fans will absolutely love this one too. I would venture to say that her name will soon be added to theirs when people are comparing books within this sub-genre of mythological/historical fantasy.

Clytemnestra is beautifully portrayed, strong-willed, fierce, unapologetic, and independent. Traditionally one of the most hated women in Greek mythology, this story brings a new light to her life. From her childhood through to adulthood, we see how trauma has shaped her life and her personality, and the effects that it’s had in the course of her life and on the decisions she makes. You will feel her anguish, burn with her rage, and vie for revenge right alongside her.

The story is full of complex relationships. It conveys the strength of bonds between family and friends, and the ramifications of betrayals. The ambient prose paints the setting vividly and builds the state of the world around you, in a time dominated by men, where women were consistently underestimated and wrongly treated. This story has a profoundness to it. It becomes an evocative experience, drawing you into the plights of the characters.

This book had me from the start and never let go. If you love Greek mythology, its fantastical stories, and the stark reality of its dark nature, should definitely read this one.

[As a side note, I have to point this out in the hopes that someone on the editing team catches it. I would consider using a search tool to look up how many times the word “frescoes/d” is used in this book, because it’s quite a lot. I know we all have our crutch words in writing (seriously, the amount of times I have to go back and delete the words “just” and “actually” in my own writing is appalling) so it’s totally understandable. But I think (if it is still possible at this stage) it would be worth it to either find places to delete this word, replace it, or find some other way to describe the setting instead because it got a little distracting. I kept finding myself being pulled out of the flow of the story when noticing that word repeated on every other page. (I will not be adding this to the reviews I share elsewhere. I’m only including here on Netgalley with the intention that it could be helpful feedback for the publishing team.)]

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CLYTEMNESTRA
BY: COSTANZA CASATI

Costanza Casati has written a masterpiece called, "Clytemnestra," that is every bit as fantastic as my favorites called, "Circe," by the great, Madeline Miller. That is a masterpiece also, so this accomplished and ultra talented Author deserves the highest of praise for this novel. I love Greek Mythology, but so few can enchant and make you never want the book to end. That this is right on par with, "Circe," is a testament to how outstanding this retelling of "Clytemnestra," is. Reading it made me feel like I was hypnotized by its poetic prose. It is so addictive I felt like I was bewitched by Costanza Casati's siren song. I LOVED IT! It is also a favorite that I know that I will be recommending and talking about the fantastic reading experience I had to everybody.

Please do not change the beautiful cover, because I plan on purchasing the hardcover for my special collection. This will make a beautiful gift to friends and family. It far exceeded my expectations! I already knew "Clytemnestra's" story from reading "Helen had a Sister," by Penelope Haines, some time ago, which was my introduction to learning about Clytemnestra's life. Although, I enjoyed it immensely, it wasn't as comprehensive and as epic in scope as this one was. This lushly written account is far more detailed, and I don't want to sound unoriginal by saying that this chronicles Clytemnestra's life from the young Princess of Sparta, where she grew up. She was Helen of Troy's sister and this novel illuminates how much they loved each other and, how extremely close they were.

I had no idea that Clytemnestra had a first husband and child. I still don't know for sure if that was this Author's imagination and creative license. I am the type of reader who looks up everybody in this thrilling story and, I couldn't find a record of her first husband and infant son being in her life. Her first husband's name in this retelling is called, Tantalus. Although, this Author has a glossary of all of the characters in this story and she says he was King of Maeonia, and first husband of Clytemnestra. My research revealed him to be a Lydian king, son of Zeus and father of Pelops. It went on to say that as punishment for his crimes (which included killing Pelops), he was forced to remain in chin-deep water with fruit-laden branches over his head, both of which receded when he reached for them. His name is the origin of the word "tantalize". My research has no record of the kind first husband of Clytemnestra who bore her first born infant. Who both were murdered by Clytemnestra's father, Tyndareus, (King of Sparta), who conspired with Agamemnon to kill them, so Agamemnon could have Clytemnestra. In this retelling her father forces her to marry Agamemnon, who she hates for what they did to her first husband and her infant son. This Author may have decided to invent this using her creativity or maybe she knows more than I do. This is my only small quibble with this mesmerizing tale. Not knowing which version is correct.

Clytemnestra marries Agamemnon and it is not a spoiler to reveal what I have written about so far. I love and admire her strong will and goodness except to the ones that wronged her. I knew of her to become the Queen of Mycenae and that she goes on to have more children with King Agamemnon who its common knowledge--that he becomes commander of the Greek fleet during the Trojan War.

What he does is tragic to Clytemnestra and somebody close to himself and further inflicts the worst kind of heartache onto Clytemnestra to incite her to hate him even more, if that is possible. I agreed with her feelings of hatred towards him and was heartbroken as much as she is. Clytemnestra is a wise and loving devoted mother. Helen marries Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother who becomes King of Sparta.

That is all that I will disclose, but this is so filled with a beautifully written story of a fearless, yet compassionate coming of age story that encompasses Clytemnestra's young life as a warrior who could fight successfully. It includes her family of origin and her reign as Queen at a time when most men didn't respect women. She successfully rules as she is left for nine years while Agamemnon is off fighting Troy. This war begins because Paris, Prince of Troy, entices Queen Helen to leave her husband, King Menelaus and her young daughter in Sparta. I never knew that Penelope who marries Odysseus of Ithaca, was Clytemnestra's and Helen's cousin.

It bears repeating that the atmospheric imagery and the poetic prose is so suburb, that it is equally as spectacular as Madeline Miller's masterpiece, "Circe." This is a masterpiece and I feel grateful for the serendipity of my discovery of it being offered as an Advanced Readers Copy on Net Galley. You can't imagine how excited I was to see it on my Dashboard as approved to read and review it. It was pure bliss reading this and my fear is that I have read all of my favorites already and everything else will pale in comparison. If you have any interest in the Classics and in this case Greek Mythology you will absolutely love this as much as I did. You don't need any prior knowledge because the Author lists in the beginning of this all of the characters and what their significance is, with their backgrounds. I didn't need to memorize it because this very talented Author, Costanza Casati explains things so well into her narrative. I will definitely read anything that she writes in the future. If I could give this One-Hundred Golden Stars I would. I highly, highly recommend this! It is definitely a Favorite! Haunting! Poignant! Intimate! Unforgettable! A story that pulls you in at the very beginning and never lets you go. The sights and sounds are a feast for all of your senses.

Publication Date: March 07, 2023

Thank you to Net Galley, Costanza Casati, and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to leave a positive review, but my enthusiasm is because it is a great book!

#Clytemnestra #CostanzaCasati #SourceBooksLandmark #NetGalley

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This book was a great read, I really love this era of telling about Greek queens from their point of views and this did not disappoint

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