The Moon Riders
By Theresa Tomlinson
When a young Amazon woman, Myrina, becomes one of the warrior priestesses known as the Moon Riders, she is well prepared to perform their sacred dances, hunt and fight when necessary. But the Moon Riders who inhabit the plains of Troy are drawn into the troubles of the city and when the visionary princess, Cassandra, becomes Myrina`s confidante, the help of the young band of horsewomen enables Cassandra`s young friend, Iphigenia to escape from the sacrifice planned for her. Hereafter the Moon Riders are drawn into the siege and the ensuing battle. Theresa Tomlinson, combining meticulous research into the Amazon women with the ancient legends of Troy, has created an epic story of tragic dimensions.
Cassandra rose to her feet and Myrina saw with apprehension that she was trembling from head to toe, her face white as snow. The princess pointed her finger at the beautiful Queen of Sparta. ‘How could I dance, on such a night as this?’ She then swung round and pointed at Paris. ‘My brother brings you no honoured guest, he brings destruction to Troy!’
A horrified silence fell. Guests sat there gaping, shocked beyond belief. This was the deepest discourtesy. Chryseis put her head down between her hands in shame.
‘How dare you? How dare you?’ Priam bellowed.
Myrina took Cassandra’s arm. ‘Hush, my friend,’ she whispered, trying to calm her. ‘You do none of us any good.’
But Cassandra was awash with tears that came flooding down her cheeks, though her arms had gone stiff as sticks. She turned her gaze once more to Paris, her mis-matched eyes deeper in colour than ever. Then her breath sank suddenly low, though in the quietness every word was heard.
‘This is no shopping trip. You bring your lover to shelter here! You bring us death.’
Both Priam and Hecuba were on their feet, Hecuba in tears and Priam purple-faced with rage. ‘You are no daughter of mine,’ he shouted, then he was lost in a violent fit of choking.
Cassandra stumbled to the side as though she’d faint, but Hati was there, taking her arm, Atisha on the other side, supporting her around the waist.
The king recovered his breath for a moment. ‘Get her out of my sight!’ he growled.
‘I shall go!’ Cassandra gasped. ‘Away with the Moon Riders again!’
‘Go – and don’t return,’ Priam told her. ‘If these are the manners that you’ve learned you’d best stay with the wild barbarian dancers.’
Theresa Tomlinson spent many years as a children’s author and was twice short-listed for the Carnegie Medal. Historical themes have always fascinated her and many of her books are set close to home in Sheffield where she brought up her children and Whitby/North Yorkshire where she lived as a child. THE MOON RIDERS - a novel originally aimed at Young Adults - took her further afield, inspired by childhood memories of learning ‘Greek Literature in Translation,’ taught by a broad-minded nun.
‘It was in the classroom that I first discovered an exciting and rather shocking world of adventure, magic, love and tragedy as we read THE ODYSSEY, THE ILIAD and THE OEDIPUS TRILOGY. In the HISTORIES OF HERODOTUS, I came across fabulous stories of the warrior women known as Amazons. I am so pleased to see that in more recent versions of the story - both films and books - the Warrior Women play their part in the Trojan War, including Penthesilea’s fight against Achilles, a theme from an epic poem by Quintus of Smyrna 400 BC. My research included reading about modern day archaeology and the discovery of women warrior burials in the areas to the north of the Black Sea and eventually took me to the ruins on Hisarlik in modern day Turkey, believed to be the remains of Troy.’
THE VOYAGE OF THE SNAKE LADY is a sequel, which follows the journey of the Amazons across the Black Sea in the aftermath of the Trojan War.