In The Medusa Legacy, my debut fantasy thriller series, I weave a modern-day tale into some popular Greek myth. Below, I have provided some backstory relevant to the first two books involving Zeus and Athena.
Upon hearing a prophecy that his offspring with Metis, Goddess of Wisdom, would rule the heavens, Zeus was more than a little worried. That was his job and he wasn’t near ready to relinquish it. He’d worked hard to attain his new position as king of the Gods, ruler of the heavens. And knew all too well what it took to get there.
It had been a Herculean task, wresting rule from his father’s hands, but Cronus needed to go. Out with the Titans, in with the Olympians.
So, when his wife became pregnant, quite possibly with a child that would usurp his newly acquired position, Zeus took action. Borrowing a page from Cronus’s handbook on how to deal with threat and uncertainty, he swallowed his pregnant wife whole.
Why risk it? Problem solved.
Athena’s relationship with her father, Zeus, was understandably strained. She’d spent her entire youth imprisoned inside of him. That was no way to rear a child.
Not to mention, he never did relinquish her mother from his fleshy tomb. That hurt.
God of Justice, she seethed. What had Metis ever done to him?
With no nurtured maternal instincts, Athena eschewed the whole nasty motherhood business, declaring herself a virginal Goddess.
Men? Children? Who needed ’em.
Goddess of War? Sure. What the hell.
Goddess of heroic endeavor? Sure… Might come in handy someday.
So, Athena, more than a little pissed, kept her sentiments to herself. Preferring the indirect approach, she was too smart to go toe-to-toe with the king of Gods. There were other ways to hurt the old man.
“Son of a bitch! Do it! Do it now!” Zeus commanded his son, Hephaestus, to cleave apart his skull with the double-bladed axe. The pressure in his head was more than he could bear.
With a flash of light and shower of gold, Zeus’s cranium split open and Athena sprang free, fully armored and ready for battle. Her battle cry pealed over the island of Rhodes, announcing her arrival.
Zeus pushed his skull back together, his ears ringing from the banshee wail of Athena’s release. Raising his thunderbolt, he considered for a moment to take action. But she was a woman. No threat there.
Besides, she reminded him of Metis; they’d been good together once. Maybe he’d been hasty in swallowing her before he’d even known whether she was bearing him a son or a daughter.
Yet, over time, as Zeus got to know Athena, he started to question the wisdom of letting her live. At every turn, she undermined his command. His friends warned him of giving her too much latitude, letting her disobedience go unchecked for way too long. He was running out of patience.
From the moment of her emergence, Zeus’s and Athena’s relationship ranged from uneasy truce to opposite sides of the epic conflict of Troy (Athena and Poseidon siding with the Greeks; Zeus with the Trojans). The backstory blurb above demonstrates there are two sides to every story.
In my first book, the Medusa Deception, Zeus’s tolerance of Athena’s actions and her inner motivations are brought to light, uncovering more deception and knife-twisting than was ever known.
In the sequel, the Dodona Prophecy, the conflict between Zeus and Athena comes to a head, with Mandy caught in the middle.
I get a kick out of researching the ancient myths, reading between the lines and putting my own spin on them. I hope you enjoy them too.
Please watch for The Dodona Prophecy, book two in the series, due out in 2015.
The Myth Twister