A darkly brilliant first novel imagines a missing chapter in the life of Ovid. Why was Ovid, the most popular author of his day, banished to the edges of the Roman Empire? Why do only two lines survive of his play Medea, reputedly his most passionate work, and perhaps his most accomplished? Between the known details of the poets life and these enigmas, Jane Alison has interpolated a haunting drama of passion and psychological manipulation. On holiday in the Black Sea, on the fringes of the Empire, Ovid encounters an almost otherworldly woman who seems to embody the fictitious creations of his soon-to-be-published Metamorphoses. Part Healer, part witch, she seems myth come to life. Enchanted and obsessed - and, for the first time in a long while, flush with inspiration - Ovid takes her back with him to Rome. But the inexorable pull of ambition leads him to make a Faustian bargain with fate that will betray his newfound muse. As the two of them become entangled in its snares, the reader is drawn deep into an ingeniously enacted meditation on love, art, and the desire for immortality.
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February 2002 : UK Hardback
April 2001 : USA Hardback
June 2003 : UK Paperback
March 2002 : USA Paperback
March 2001 : USA, Canada Kindle edition