An Unexpected Ally

A Greek Tale of Love, Revenge, and Redemption

Fiction - Mythology
192 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2024
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Author Biography

Sophia Kouidou-Giles was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, and university educated in the USA. She is the author of the memoir Επιστροφή Στη Θεσσαλονίκη/Return to Thessaloniki, published in Greek (Tyrfi Press); Sophia’s Return: Uncovering My Mother’s Past: A Greek Tale of Love, Revenge and Redemption; and the novella An Unexpected Ally. Circle of Peace: A Greek Tale of Perse's Great Hall, is her forthcoming stand-alone sequel. Kouidou-Giles loves music, walking outdoors and travel. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, near her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

An Unexpected Ally: A Greek Tale of Love, Revenge, and Redemption is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, interpersonal drama, and intrigue subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience. Penned by author Sophia Kouidou-Giles, this enchanting tale follows the journey of Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios, as she navigates love, loss, and her divine heritage. After bidding farewell to Odysseus, Circe finds solace in a newfound love affair and explores her relationship with her mother, Perse, leading her to embrace her destiny alongside the amphibian god Glaucus. Their underwater adventures unveil Circe's knowledge of herbs and her ability to heal and harm, culminating in a fateful return to Aeaea. However, when trouble arises in Delos, Circe must confront the forces of evil using her extraordinary powers.

Author Sophia Kouidou-Giles has crafted a work that masterfully intertwines ancient Greek mythology with timeless themes of humanity, offering readers a captivating narrative filled with beauty and intrigue from start to finish. As I delved into the pages, I was immediately drawn into Circe's world of love, loss, and divine intervention by the sense of passion and imagination in the narrative voice. The author expertly weaves together elements of fantasy and reality, creating a balanced and well-paced narrative that feels both timeless and relevant to contemporary readers. Circe's journey is beautifully penned with close narrative skill, bringing her into reality with a resonant and relatable sense of attitude, speech, and thought. Through a rich tapestry of ensemble characters and settings around Circe, the author takes us back through history, offering readers a fresh perspective on familiar tales while addressing universal themes of love, vengeance, and the struggle between good and evil. Overall, An Unexpected Ally is a must-read for fans of Greek history, mythology, and interpersonal drama.

Frank Mutuma

An Unexpected Ally by Sophia Kouidou-Giles is about the life of Circe. Circe was a powerful sorceress and an immortal with a vast knowledge of herbs and potions. She could shape-shift and loved to engage with mortals like Odysseus, who was a hero of the Trojan War and currently the king of Ithaca. Odysseus had come to Circe's island with his crew, which the sorceress had turned into pigs. After consideration, Circe is willing to let them go, as she is ready to move on and embrace what fate has in store for her. In Delos, she meets Glaucus, whom she believes is her perfect match, as he is also immortal like herself. Glaucus hadn't always been immortal. He had been a mortal who had paid a price to become an amphibian god. How will things turn out for Circe? 

An Unexpected Ally by Sophia Kouidou-Giles will capture lovers of history and mythology. This thought-provoking work triggered my curiosity to read more about Greek mythology, and it was evident that the book was well-researched. Circe's character introduces the reader to major Greek gods like Zeus and Apollo. I love how thorough and vivid Sophia was with the descriptions of events, places, and nature, which helped create a mental picture of what was happening. The characters were well-developed, and the excellent narration contributed to the overall beauty of the book. The subtle emphasis on nature and its healing properties will also resonate with many readers, especially now that the world is facing a climate change emergency.

Angelique Papayannopoulos

An Unexpected Ally by Sophia Kouidou-Giles is a tale of love, revenge, and redemption in the world of Greek gods and goddesses. The enchantress Circe was born to the sun god Helios and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. She lives on her island of Aeaea with Odysseus, a mortal who has stolen her heart but is eager to return with his men to his home island of Ithaca. The opportunity for a new love interest leads her to the island of Delos where she seeks out Glaucus, the amphibian god. They spend their time underwater learning about the healing and harmful properties of herbs. Glaucus is smitten with Skylla, a local beauty with whom Circe finds friendship and companionship. Despite Skylla’s indifference to Glaucus’ affection, Circe half-heartedly returns to her island. However, turmoil between gods and mortals in Delos brings her back to reverse a curse of evil.

An Unexpected Ally is a delightful story based on Greek mythology and stories of Greek heroes and heroines. Sophia Kouidou-Giles gives a vivid portrayal of the relationship between the gods and goddesses, and the mortals they encounter. Readers are introduced to a cast of enlightening and seductive characters who are flawed and experience heartache despite their superhuman powers. The narrative is creative, informative, and straightforward. Circe’s beauty, ingenuity, and magical powers entice in a love triangle. The mythical tale of An Unexpected Ally features love, revenge, courage, and justice. Furthermore, there is a glossary of gods, mortals, and places to clarify and provide useful information to the reader. You won’t be disappointed if you are a fan of mythology, fantasy, and magic!

R. W. Rynerson

Even though my knowledge of the Greek pantheon is limited, I enjoyed the seashore setting, the descriptions of characters' motives, and their interaction with each other. This book deserves a broad audience.