DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • In the opening prologue, Odysseus’ father Laertes sets out his expectations of his son for when he is a grown man. How are Odysseus’ decisions later shaped by these and the times he lives in? Are there any particular things that mark him out as a hero or as different from his contemporaries?
  • The sacrifice of the maiden Iphigeneia is a shocking and horrific event. Are there any ways in which this acts as a catalyst to the subsequent course of events that follow?
  • In popular culture, the story of the Odyssey is often perceived as a love story between Odysseus and his wife, Penelope, and his determination to return home to her. To what extent do you agree with this interpretation?
  • When Odysseus meets Kirke, the men are deeply suspicious of her and view her as a witch. How might this perception reflect the beliefs of a patriarchal society? How does Kirke challenge the presumptions about women held in her time?
  • When Thea returns to the island, how does her recent marriage break-up affect her relationships with the people she encounters and her judgement of situations? What is a key motivating factor for Thea in the choices she makes? How much does her past still influence her in the present?
  • The story is described as traversing time. Do you agree with this and are there any resemblances between the characters in the ancient and contemporary stories or themes that are played out?
  • In addition to the main protagonists Odysseus and Thea, are there any particular characters who also make a strong impression and if so how?
  • Are there any ways in which Odysseus and Thea personally grow over the course of the story? If so, what do you think influences this?
  • To what extent have the values concerning heroism and what it means to be a worthy individual changed over time? How might you explain this?
  • The book was released to coincide with Earth Day 2020. What part does the natural world and the beauty of the landscape play in the writing and also reflect concerns about climate change? Does it make any difference to these themes or the narrative that the story is set over 3000 years?
  • How do you feel about the ending? Did you feel that both stories were brought to a satisfactory conclusion? If you were writing the story, what ending would you create?