Shadow of Athena

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
394 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2018
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

In an exciting setting in ancient Greece, Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is a tale of adventure and romance, with hints of Greek mythology. Marpessa is a maiden chosen by lot to appease the goddess Athena for a sacrilege committed hundreds of years ago, so she must serve in Athena's temple in Troy for a year. She is taken away from her family at a time when she is betrothed to the powerful and cruel Klonios and he must wait to have her. The young slave, Arion, is charged to accompany her across the Aegean, but Arion has other plans. He wants his freedom and jumps ship. But then the city of Troy is attacked by barbarians, killing many, and Arion rushes to the citadel to rescue Marpessa, who is gravely wounded. He gets her out of Troy and heals her. The two give in to the attraction they have for each other, but can they really have each other?

Elena Douglas's novel recreates an exciting world that fans of Greek mythology will relish, with themes of love, war, freedom, and religion. The premise is interesting — a young man and woman who fall in love for each other and in very strange circumstances. But it is forbidden love, because he is a slave, and she is promised to someone else, someone powerful. While Arion and Marpessa worry about Klonios' revenge, there is still the goddess Athena, whose wrath isn't appeased. The setting creates vivid images and landscapes together with a culture that transports readers into ancient Greece.

The plot is sophisticated, filled with many twists and surprises. I enjoyed the strong plot points and how the author builds the tension for readers. She makes you care about the characters, then she puts those characters into very tight situations. Shadow of Athena is gripping, infused with emotion and skillfully written to be captivating. Your attention is grabbed from the very first page by the beauty of the prose and it doesn't waver till the last engrossing page. It felt like I was watching a movie, thanks to the author's gift for narrative and for creating a world that readers can easily visualize.

Karen Hesson

Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is an epic historical fiction tale full of adventure and romance. Marpessa, the young maiden daughter of a wine merchant, is chosen to be sent to Troy to serve as a slave for one year in the temple of Athena. After her servitude is completed, she must never marry and must remain a maiden her entire life. Breaking these oaths would risk unleashing the wrath of Athena on Marpessa’s beloved city. Arion, one of her father’s slaves, is charged with the task of making sure that Marpessa reaches the temple of Athena safely. He takes this journey as his opportunity to escape slavery and finds himself near Troy when barbarians ravage the city. Arion manages to save Marpessa and vows to find a way to send her home to her mother. On their journey, they struggle through much hardship and find themselves lost in a deep love that can never be.

I loved reading Shadow of Athena. It was full of action that kept me turning pages. The love that grew between Marpessa and Arion felt genuine because they sacrificed so much for each other. The characters were so well written that I felt their hope and despair along with them. I also enjoyed reading a story steeped in Greek mythology, as that subject has always fascinated me. Elena Douglas is clearly very knowledgable on the subject and did a fantastic job of creating a riveting story based on real traditions from the era. I look forward to reading more of her work!

K.C. Finn

Shadow of Athena is a work of fiction based on historical events and the world of ancient Greece and was penned by author Elena Douglas. In a truly classical love story, but one fraught with danger, dread, and epic quests, we find ourselves in dire straits with our heroine, the sixteen-year-old Marpessa of Lokris, right from the early chapters. Marpessa is chosen to serve as a slave in the far-off city of Troy for a year and, pending her survival, she is due to become the bride of local leader Klonios. But once Marpessa meets her escort and fellow slave Arion, they form a bond which neither can deny, and their forbidden love spells out romance, risk, and disaster in both of their futures.

Author Elena Douglas has crafted a masterful historical love story that is sure to please romance readers of all types because it encompasses so many excellent themes and intrigues for them to follow. The forbidden love of the young pair is excellently played out in terms of plot points, and the emotional development of Marpessa and Arion’s bond is sensitively narrated and slowly built up to its full emotive power. The odds are stacked against them, and the beautifully portrayed backdrop of the harsh world of ancient Greece and Trojan life gives the story its epic feel, even in the quieter moments. What results is a superb and immersive story with realistic yet powerful characters. Overall, I’d highly recommend Shadow of Athena to historical romance fans looking for an accomplished author to fall for.

Scott Cahan

Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is historical fiction at its finest. The setting is ancient Greece around 700 BC. It’s a work of fiction built around an annual ritual documented to have taken place during that period. The story is a love story at its core about two young lovers who overcome tremendous odds to be together. They begin as a young man named Arion who grudgingly does his duty to protects a young maiden named Marpessa. After tragic events, Arion rescues Marpessa and vows to do the right thing and return her to her home. The bulk of the story is their long and difficult journey to return to that home. Along the way, they develop a passionate love for each other that is forbidden by their family, society, and even the gods. Yet they are willing to face it all as long as they can remain together.

I’m not normally a fan of books where the love story is the main focus, but Shadow of Athena grabbed my attention from the opening scene and kept me turning the pages until the very end. Author Elena Douglas has a rare gift of being able to write a book packed full of action, adventure, danger, and suspense while simultaneously giving us fully developed characters who we can’t help but care for deeply. In other words, Shadow of Athena is 100% a love story, but somehow it is also 100% an action-adventure novel. The book is never boring but moves swiftly along through many twists and turns and dangers that our loveable characters must endure. This book is also notable for giving us a rich picture of life in Greece and its islands long ago. The attention to detail was so thorough, the culture became a character on its own within the story. I highly recommend Shadow of Athena.

Ankita Shukla

Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is an engaging historical fiction tale that revolves around an ancient custom. To appease the goddess, two girls were sent to Athena's temple at Troy every year. For this duration, these maidens served in the temple. Ultimately, they returned to Lokris with the vow of chastity for the rest of their lives. Marpessa was a high-spirited, courageous sixteen-year-old daughter of a vintner. When the high priestess called her name in the ceremony, she did not have a choice but had to succumb to the will of Athena. Since the journey from Lokris to Troy was quite dangerous, Marpessa's hard-hearted father reluctantly spared one of his slaves, Arion, to accompany the girls. Arion grabbed this opportunity with the aim of running away from the life of a slave. However, destiny had something extraordinary planned for Arion and Marpessa. When barbarians raided the temple of Troy, Marpessa and Arion found themselves bound to each other.

Marpessa is the wonder woman that we have all been waiting for. Way ahead of her time, she is courageous, romantic, and free-spirited. Although she understands the norms of her world, she is torn between her desire to be with Arion and endanger his life or leave him behind and be heartbroken. Instead of hiding behind Arion, she believes in walking alongside him. Elena Douglas has narrated the conflicting emotions of the characters wonderfully. Their thoughts and emotions could not have been better described. The intrigue and twists never end in this gripping tale of cultural beliefs, human values, struggle, hope, and survival. Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas will not only wow readers but also fill them with courage.

Tiffany Ferrell

In Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas, sixteen-year-old Marpessa, a descendent of Ajax, is one of the girls chosen to make the journey to the goddess Athena's temple in Troy. Not knowing that his daughter would be chosen, Thrasios offers his daughter's hand in marriage to the wealthy oligarch Klonios as payment for not coming through with the quota of wine he had promised the year before. When Thrasios finds out from a very angry Klonios that his daughter is chosen to be a lifelong maiden and servant of Athena, he is terrified of his wrath. Despite the strict rules saying the girls chosen must remain maidens their whole lives, Klonios demands that Marpessa will be his to marry after her year of servitude to the goddess is up. He fears nothing from Athena, which worries Thrasios, but he can say nothing to stop the man. He sends his slave, Arion, to accompany his daughter and another maiden to Troy. Along the way, they encounter many obstacles and a better understanding of one another.

Elena Douglas has written a wonderful piece of historical fiction in Shadow of Athena. Marpessa was a very likable character in the story as well as Arion. Both were unique and had their own distinct personalities that I enjoyed getting to know. I normally don’t read historical novels from this time in history but in Shadow of Athena I found a book that gripped my curiosity and attention. The plotline flows wonderfully and is easy to read and follow. There were many welcome surprises while reading that urged me to continue on to find out what happens next. I definitely will be recommending this novel to my fellow historical fiction lovers.

Barbara Brunetti, AKA Elena Douglas

I was very pleased with this review, especially when the reviewer said reading Shadow of Athena was like watching a move. Many of my readers have told me that my book would make a great movie. I am inclined to agree, since, as I was writing it, the scenes would flash before my eyes in a very visually detailed way. For more reviews of Shadow of Athena, see below.

Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

Shadow of Athena
Elena Douglas
Penmore Press
978-1946409980 $19.50 Paper/$3.19 Kindle
Penmore Press:
In ancient Troy, young maidens from afar are chosen by lot to serve as slaves in Athena’s temple for a year. Such is the unfortunate fate of sixteen-year-old Marpessa of Lokris in Shadow of Athena, who embarks on a journey that challenges her life. Accompanying her is the slave Arion who escorts her to her new life, escapes slavery himself, and lingers to help her when Troy is overcome by barbarians, sparking another journey for the two.
But with the temple of Athena destroyed, Marpessa, whose life has been sworn to the goddess, is adrift, with no way to return home. And Arion feels his life has devolved into an empty, meaningless struggle to survive. Can two lost souls who want something more and different from their lives become united over a goal that seems to defy their separate destinies?
Shadow of Athena excels in exploring the social, political, and religious flavors of the times as cruel oligarch Klonios searches for a way of achieving his heart's desire (Marpessa) despite her newfound obligations and her struggles against his power.
Schemes and dreams swirl around the beautiful girl as she examines her own heart's desires and the course of her life during the course of an arduous journey that changes everything.
Author Elena Douglas has done a fine job of researching ancient history and mythology surrounding Athena the goddess and events in Troy to blend them into a riveting story line powered by a feisty female protagonist, a strong, resourceful hero, and their struggles against the inimical forces of man and nature.
From their encounters with the sailing Phoenicians to the evil machinations of a vengeful villain, and in the end a mother charged with protecting them both against all odds and tradition, Douglas crafts a story that weaves Trojan events and atmosphere into a compelling tale replete with nonstop action and intrigue.
Readers seeking an adventure story nicely grounded in historical research, early Greek history, and the evolving love between two very different young people will find Shadow of Athena compelling, educational, and filled with real notes about what is known about the annual ritual of the Lokrian maidens in a world where goddesses, curses, and fate flourish.
Shadow of Athena

Discovering Diamonds

Based on an ancient legend and a true practice, Shadow of Athena takes us back to Ancient Greece where the lives of men, women and children were ruled by the gods – or at least, by those who served them - with the blind belief in the powers of those gods coming through very clearly and well written.

The city of Lokris is cursed by Athena and is obliged to send two maidens each year to serve the goddess at her temple in Troy. They are to serve for one year before being discharged, but they may not marry or have children for the rest of their lives.

Marpessa is one of the two girls chosen to the dismay of her mother and the annoyance of her father, a vintner, who has promised her hand to a rich and cruel merchant. A slave, Arion, is to travel with them as protection and with a promise of freedom when he returns. A series of events throws them together and, of course, they fall in love. But Arion is determined to fulfil his oath to Marpessa's mother and bring her home safe. The two are innocents and naïve, duped many times as they try to make their way back. Dangers face them on the journey and if or when they do return to Lokris, what fate awaits them there?

There were a couple of quibbles: one was because of formatting and the other confused me. Dealing with the first: every thought by any character is italicised to the point where there is at least one instance on almost every page. Few of these actually needed to be in italics, particularly when certain thoughts or incidents would have been emphasised by italics ... the impact was therefore lost.

The second is that the author's pen name is on the front cover and spine, yet her real name, in the US style of publishing, is printed at the top of every left-hand page. This reviewer wonders what is the point of a pen name if it is not consistently used overall. Was this deliberate or an error missed during editing? Perhaps this was an ARC copy (paperback edition reviewed) and has been rectified before the final print run?* The arrangement is somewhat confusing - it would not hinder the e-version however, as the use of an author's name and book title heading each page is not included - so I'd recommend the e-book for preference.*

Putting these two issues aside, this is a neat, if sometimes predictable, tale - but there is nothing wrong with predictable! The writing is solid without being spectacular (there is nothing wrong with that either!) and the author traces the journey of the couple's maturity from vague recognition to true love very well indeed.

All in all, an enjoyable read.
* The publisher has been notified - we believe the error has been rectified.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds

Geraldo B

Shadow of Athena is a well-written, exciting adventure story and romance set in the post-Trojan-War Greek world. Elena Douglas truly knows how to capture the reader’s attention and keep her/him focused on the story as the characters move from danger to danger, dilemma to dilemma, anxiety to anxiety. In reality, however, it is the characters, rather than plot, that make the story so compelling. Marpessa, the heroine, is particularly well portrayed, her inner voice captivating the reader as she confronts a steady stream of physical threats, grapples with forbidden love, and reflects on where her future will take her. The hero, Arion, and Marpessa’s mother, Amaltheia, are also complex, well-developed characters. The villainous characters in the story—and there is quite a collection of them!—are more one dimensional, but marvelous nevertheless in their villainies. Shadow of Athena is based on an actual practice of sending Locrian maidens each year to serve in the temple of Athena in Troy. This is just one example of Ms. Douglas’ attention to historical and cultural authenticity; others include her description of Troy and its walls, the Phoenician ships and its tiers of rowers, winter shipping practices in the Aegean, and the powerful presence of the gods and goddesses in the lives of the people. These details vivify the portrayal of the Greek world in which the story takes place. All in all, Shadow of Athena is a great read, not only for those who love ancient Greek literature and culture but for those who like a good adventure story with plenty of romance.

Corrie M

Shadow of Athena is an incredibly well written book, with a great storyline and very well developed characters. The description alone had me hooked, and the style of writing that followed kept me just as captivated. Author Elena Douglas delivers a vividly described landscape, coupled with descriptive language, and a fast paced harrowing story of love and survival. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in historical romance, adventure, or just great writing. Would absolutely love to see a movie of this book.

John Crewdson

This is a fast-paced story of love and adventure that brings people and places from ancient Greece to life and will hold your attention from start to finish. Douglas has done her research and has found a way to blend a wealth of historical details with an exciting tale. The settings and people she describes seem at once ancient and modern. The beautiful but tough heroine Marpessa will appeal especially to girls and women, but this is a story for everyone from about age 12 on up--particularly those with an interest in the ancient Greeks, their gods and mythology.

Grady Harp

A profoundly moving novel revisiting Greece and the legends that retain impact for all of us, Elena Douglas understands the traditions of storytelling and enhances these myths and facts with skill and depth of character development. In her hands the story becomes palpably real and a very fine novel. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, December 19

Winston J. Phillips

This story is about a journey, one that goes full circle clothed in danger from the beginning through to the end where it all began. Two people are forced to make this journey, one a young girl (Marpessa). In an annual village practice to seek the Goddess’s favor, she is selected to go to Athena’s temple in Troy as a servant of the Goddess. The other is a young man (Arion) her father’s slave, sent to protect her and to see her safely back home at the completion of her obligations. On this rested his freedom or his death.
They face danger everywhere: fighting a flash flood, rough seas getting to Troy; escaping soldiers and marauders; escaping again to return home (because the people in Troy and Lokris think that she is dead); finding a ship and managing to hide Marpessa’s gender from lusty sailors; and returning to their Greek village, Lokris, And here Arion faces his biggest personal challenge - that of being executed.
Over the journey, Arion and Marpessa develop a deep bond of love for each other strengthening his obligation to Marpessa’s mother to bring her safely home. This is not the ordinary romantic love but a bond bathed in a willingness to sacrifice one’s life and safety for the other. Both express this kind of love. In fact their concern for the other and ensuing procrastination appeared at times to this reader to be at least theoretically counter-productive. But this reflects another aspect of the author’s writing skills - an attention to detail in the physical and emotional experiences of the story.
This book had me entrapped in its smoothness of its intrigue, holding my breath until a wonderful ending for both.
Highly Recommended.

Chelsea McQuitty

This novel is a must for people who love to read mythology and legends of old. The story is filled with excitement and beauty, which will draw you in from the very beginning. Apart from that, the author’s voice really works well with this type of story. She is able to create a mood that helps the reader feel like they are reading an old legend, while still bringing a realistic vibe to the story as if the reader is still playing a role in what is unfolding. I loved her ability to create characters in a setting that feels new to me. On top of that, the story seemed to fly by. I wasn't bored for an instant. Although the story was a great read, I feel this is a book that will have to be revisited again and again in order to find all of the wonderful details the author has come up with.

Ann Metlay

The book abounds in historic accuracy. Her characters wear Greek clothing and use the tools and implements of their time. The setting is so accurately described I can only imagine that she, the author, lived and struggled right there, among her characters. As a history buff, I moved from chapter to chapter, wrapped in the actions, the experiences of Marpessa and Arion.The plot’s complications do not resolve themselves until the final page of her well-written adventure. By that time I, as a reader, had grown to appreciate these well-rounded protagonists. I am ready for their next intriguingcrusade. And knowing the fertile imagination of this author, you can bet she has another adventure waiting for us. I cannot wait to read it!

Erik Argenti

If the mission of Elena Douglas was to cause me to lose sleep due to my inability to put this book down then a tip of the hat to her. It worked. I very much enjoyed this piece and would recommend it with enthusiasm to anyone who is looking for a work of historical fiction that takes no shortcuts to nail down the details needed to transport you back in time to ancient Greece, all the while maintaining the thrilling action-packed elements and pace that will keep you on the edge of your seat with just enough time in between to build the kind of love that isn't the deficit of some unrealistic fairytale hopeless romantic, but rather, one that that is believable because when two people go through enough together, sacrifice for each other, and depend on each other to survive there reaches a point in which the fear of the rules of men and the punishments that come with breaking them pales in comparison to the fear of living without the other.

Jane Wong

The characters are well developed. I really cared what happened to them as they moved from one harrowing situation to the next on their travels across the Aegean Sea. Through the eyes of the main characters we experience what life was like for them: the transportation, food, living conditions, social hierarchy and religious practices of the time. The heroine of the novel, Marpessa, prays to Athena for help just as a modern day woman might pray to her God of today. We also see how human manipulation can twist religion for its own ends.

Susan Halpern

I Was entranced by this book. I couldn't put it down. the plot unfolded brilliantly.. Most of all, the descriptions brought me completely into the time and place of Sparta and Greece with the details of ancient life. Beautifully Imagined and written.

Rita Maria Biasin

This is a very well written historical novel and an extremely exciting love story.
From the very beginning I felt completely immersed in the history, the geography, the customs and the rituals of ancient Greece.
The love story captured my heart and kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.
I loved this book and I highly recommend it.

Carold Kassouf

A wonderful tale of adventure. I truly felt connected to the characters. The story was written expertly, and the descriptions were elegant and beautiful. I would encourage anyone who loves ancient Greece, and traveling back in time through the magic of books to read this fantastic novel!


I thoroughly enjoyed this book - great adventure story. In today's world the characters would fall in love - end of story. But ancient Greece poses challenges with class, honor and respect for the gods. The protagonist characters are richly written, story is compelling. Can't wait to read more from this author.

M. P.'s Review

What a wonderful experience reading this book was! This romantic thriller set in the ancient world of the Mediterranean was exciting from start to finish. I truly enjoyed it and I think you will too. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Mr. Collins

Shadow of Athena is a great read. It is full of suspense, emotional excitement and interesting characters. The plot keeps the readers interest and builds to a great conclusion. Very entertaining.

Joe M.

This book is a highly engaging account of the dramatic adventures of a young woman and her protector in classical Greece. Although the setting is 2500 years ago, the writing style is modern. As a result the reader can identify with the characters; they are believable. The reader gains an appreciation of the importance of Greek religion centered on the Greek gods/mythical figures. The plot is well constructed and the adventure moves along briskly. The novel is hard to put down. The chapters are short, enabling the reader to keep track of the plot. With the idealism of the main characters and the clash between good and evil, the book avoids the shallowness of many novels. I am recommending the book to youthful readers, to adults, and to my book club.

KMB 13

We can never know for sure how things happened in ancient times, but if you love reading historical novels about how events might have unfolded in those long ago days, then Shadow of Athena by Elena Douglas is a story you’ll probably enjoy.

One of the most important things about stories that take place in other times is that the details have been researched, and this author gives us authentic elements that bring ancient Greece to life. Her interest in ancient Greek mythology started early in her life and eventually combined with her love of writing.

This book has something for everyone – love, suspense, danger, well-crafted characters, and a riveting story.


This was a page turner from the gripping and tense very first scene, a gathering of the people in the town of Naryx in ancient Lokris, Greece, where two young girls are chosen every year to be sent to the temple in Troy and sacrificed to a year of servitude to the Goddess Athena. Not unexpectedly, Marpessa, one of the book's protagonists, whose name is in the drawing for the first time (I am estimating that she is 15 or 16) is one of the two girls picked and this is how the book begins. The rest of the book is about Marpessa's voyage to Troy and there is one riveting scene after another, including their sad departure from Trokis and the tearful yanking of a young daughter from her loving mother, the voyage itself over rough seas, their landing and attempt to get through Trojan marauders intent on killing the young girls before they reach the Temple where Athena is and the early experiences of servitude in the Temple, which Marpessa had a very difficult time abiding by.

Then there was the invasion of the barbarians and all hell breaks loose. Marpessa survives the raid (otherwise we would have a short book) and the rest of the book is a fascinating story of survival involving Marpessa and the escaped slave (the other protagonist), Arion, a true hero. The two travel around parts of rural Greece in a desperate attempt to get home to Lokris, even though they both realize that Arion is likely to be put to death upon their return. During their journeys, the two fall in love. They experience one unbelievable experience after another and it is all very real, as they encounter the difficulties to be expected with two people like this traveling alone in Ancient Greece. It all leads up to a riveting and climactic ending.

The book is 247 pages long and not one of them is boring. I took it on my trip to Hawaii and knocked it out in two days. My only regret was that I was done.


The author's descriptions of the settings in this novel are akin to an artist painting a canvas, each brush stroke offering a new detail making the scene come alive in vivid technicolor! Also, the narrative is packed with intriguing historic detail, action, conflict, suspense, and romance too. The author has masterfully woven in every thread. Once you pick up this book, you won’t want to put it down.

Amazon Customer

Received this book as a gift and what a great gift it was! The Shadow of Athena story grabbed my attention from the very 1st chapter and never let it go until the surprising dramatic end. I was cast into the ancient Greek world where lives and customs are governed by the seasons and the whims of the gods and goddesses. The story follows the plight of a young maiden chosen to serve Athena as an appeasement of a past transgression and the young slave chosen to escort her to Athena’s temple in Troy. However, this is no ordinary girl or young man, and the events that befall them made it difficult to put the book down. I became a part of the struggle between honor, duty, cruelty, kindness, freedom’s temptation and forbidden love. There were so many twists in the plot, I found myself holding my breath at times and wondering how they could possibly get out of the situations they found themselves. This is a captivating read to take on a vacation or discuss in a book group. I certainly plan to recommend it to my group.

Charlotte Devorak

Especially for lovers of historical fiction, this is a lively tale that carries you through the world of ancient Greece, Troy and beyond, then charges forward to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. It also inspired me to think about the actual mechanics and materials of that era; the technical knowledge and day to day life of those people. What "stuff" did they have and know how to use? Shadow of Athena brought to mind many questions as well as provided several hours of entertainment!


I love the way the author made us feel the joys and sorrows of her characters as we followed their harrowing adventures. I also really enjoyed the many details of ancient lifestyle and technology, especially the difference in sailing technology between the Greeks and the Phoenicians.

David Baggett

It's not just for romance novel lovers! If your looking for a great read that is both well written and historically accurate then this is your book. With its well developed characters and fast paced writing style Shadow of Athena keeps you engaged and eager to get to the next page. I highly recommend it!


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this work of historical fiction. It was a true thriller and I found it difficult to put down. The characters were well-developed and engaging. The suspense was maintained right to the last few pages. I also enjoyed reading about the aspects of daily life, gender roles and spirituality in ancient Greece. I am eagerly awaiting the next book from this author.

K. Cohen

Shadow of Athena transports the reader to the time of ancient Greek gods, Troy and epic odysseys. The book succeeds in combining a tale of adventure, love and excitement with details of and insights to another time. Enticing read for anyone and particularly for those interested in Greek mythology. Nice work Elena Douglas!

Warren J. Brunetti

Shadow of Athena is not typical of the novels I read, but since it was given to me by my Sister-in-law I felt obligated to do so.
Boy, was I surprised! Shadow of Athena turned out to be a real page turner. It is a mystery, romantic, and historical novel all in one.

Elena's prose clearly captures her characters' emotions of love, hate, fear, joy, pain, and disappointment as they struggle to exist in the rugged environment of Ancient Greece.
Shadow of Athena is a good Summer read and could very well turn into a great action movie.

Madeleine Marie

An historical romance. This is the story of a temple maiden and a slave and their odyssey throughout the ancient Aegean Sea, extending, as far as the Bosporus-- an exciting and, at times, perilous journey. This is a good read; I was sorry when the book ended, and I wait in anticipation for Elena Douglas' next book,

Carol Neighbor

This was a great summer read! I read it on a trip to Greece and it really helped me envision what life could have been like on those beautiful greek islands so many centuries ago. Good plot, descriptive scenery and intersting historical details.

Ruth Tobey

Ancient Greece came alive with this captivating page-turner. I was hooked from the very first chapter. The characters and their love story with all its twists and turns kept me really riveted from beginning to end.

Amazon Customer

I really enjoyed the book, which reflects a very interesting part of Greek history and is romantic, thrilling and kept me reading through until I finished it. I strongly recommend it.


If when you were growing up, you hungered for stories where young women were not simply damsels in distress, you and the young women in your life will enjoy this adventure. Marpessa, the heroine, is strong, smart, and very brave. There’s lots of drama packed into this book and along the way you learn some interesting things about life in ancient Greece and why the Phoenicians were so successful on the seas.

Amazon customer

Although set in ancient times, this is an empowering story for girls and young women, for all times. We witness the main character, only 16 years old, getting stronger and stronger, as she faces the ordeals and endless challenges thrown at her, never giving up, and trusting that true love will conquer. An uplifting role model for all of us.


It is difficult to put the book down. Lots of adventure and suspense keep you reading.

Amazon customer

Great read! The book is fantastic and hard to put down! Would recommend to anyone that enjoys a great adventure and love story.

Amazon customer

This story offered me an insight into the life style of an ancient era. With sudden plot twists, I was kept in suspense just long enough to make this a very worthwhile read!

Ellen Olivia

Who is Athena? And what does she want? These are the questions that turn this book from the usual historical romance to a fascinating page-turner. From scrubbing the steps of the Temple of Athena, to encountering Trojan invaders and Phoenician ships, the Zeitgeist of Ancient Greece propels this book as much as the fate of our protagonists. In the end, there is the question: Is the Goddess fair? Is she just? Will she release her wrath upon the main characters, or is she their ally? No spoilers here! I recommend it as a worthy vacation read.

A. Mora

I found myself rooting for Marpessa and Arion! Great character development.

Russ Ann

Shadow of Athena is a love story that would define a solid bond built on journey and hardships that the two characters went through together. Their love wasn't out a superficial attraction, but was built on the trust and companionship along with how much time they've spent and depended on each other throughout their length adventure. This may be one of the best ten historical romance books on my list with the love story being realistically and well-developed with each passing chapter.