Check out ‘Night of Pan’ – the first book in Gail Strickland’s The Oracle of Delphi trilogy, courtesy of Curiosity Quills Press
Night of Pan
Author: Gail Strickland
Genre: Young-Adult, Historical-Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: November 7, 2014
Series: Book One of The Oracle of Delphi Trilogy
Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan
The slaughter of the Spartan Three Hundred at Thermopylae, Greece 480 BCE—when King Leonidas tried to stop the Persian army with only his elite guard—is well known. But just what did King Xerxes do after he defeated the Greeks?
Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is haunted by visions: roofs dripping blood, Athens burning. She tries to convince her best friend and all the villagers that she’s not crazy. The gods do speak to her.
And the gods have plans for this girl.
When Xerxes’ army of a million Persians marches straight to the mountain village Delphi to claim the Temple of Apollo’s treasures and sacred power, Thaleia’s gift may be her people’s last line of defense.
Her destiny may be to save Greece…
…but is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?
A sun-bronzed hand thrusts from the shadows, grabs my shoulder. Ebony fingernails dig into my forearm. Panic fills me. My feet feel like they grow tendrils snaking into the dirt, rooted with the poppies and wild grasses. I can’t breathe or cry out.
A hoofed leg steps from behind the pine. I don’t move.
A satyr squats before me, his muscled thighs matted with bristling fur that curls over hooves. His broad chest—sturdy as an old oak—heaves.
The air between us is charged with light and a hum like a swarm of bees.
A quizzical smile crosses his face. He lets my arm go and steps back.
I should run, but I can only stumble one step away, afraid to turn my back to this creature, half man, half goat smelling of garlic and musky wine.
My heart, filled at first with mindless terror is stunned by the delicate lift of his fingers as they dance across his flute. The rippling notes tighten my chest; conjure images of deep forest dancing down to a wine-dark sea. Strong muscles shape his bronzed shoulders. With a tilt of his head, he seems to float from stone to fallen log, leaping and twirling with the music. Dark trees bend like an attending chorus, drawing the forest shadow away from the center of the glade, until it fills with light and melody, motion and power. Needles cling to the satyr’s curls.
He stops circling. His eyes are blue like the summer sky.
Pulling me close, he licks my neck. I stiffen in his embrace.
Once more he leaps around me.
I am drawn to his grace, the power of wild goats in the delicate lift of each hind leg, his hairless torso, gold with oil and sweat. Corded veins at his neck course with heated blood as he dances lightly before me then hides behind the old pine. Is he gone?
I whirl around as his hoof strikes an exposed rock behind me.
His knees prance as he plays quick trills on the flute.
The satyr kneels before me.
His silence, his breath envelope me. Like harsh ice crystals melting to warm spring waters, his gaze that filled me with terror, sweeps a rush of warmth up my legs, into my lungs, my heart and tightens my throat. With lithe fingers, he lifts my hair, lets it fall, strand by strand clinging against my breasts then leans his sun-bronzed forehead against my chest, snuggling into the crook of my neck. He peers at me, his face—wide like a bear’s—inches away from mine.
He is the god Pan, his eyes full of me. They know me. As no one understands me, this god, smelling of goat and thyme and garlic, his eyes laughing and full of scheming… this god sees into me. I smile back at his gap-toothed grin. His tongue works a hole where one of his front teeth is missing between full, smiling lips.
About The Author:
While studying the Classics in college, Gail Strickland translated much of Homer’s ILIAD and ODYSSEY, Herodotus’ prophecies and THE BACCHAI by Euripides. Living on the Greek islands after college, she discovered her love of myth, the wine-dark sea and retsina.
THE BALTIMORE REVIEW and WRITER’S DIGEST have recognized Gail’s fiction. She published stories and poems in Travelers’ Tales’ anthologies and the San Francisco Writer’s anthology. Her poetry and photography were published in a collection called CLUTTER.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gail grew up in Northern California. She raised her children; was a musical director for CAT children’s theater; taught music in schools; mentored young poets and novelists and introduced thousands of youngsters to piano and Greek mythology. Gail is passionate about bringing the richness of Homer’s language and culture to today’s youth.
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