Happy Release Day to
Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson!!
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Happy Book Birthday, Phillip!
“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.
Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”
Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand year old memories. And then he began.
So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.
This is the true story of the Minotaur.
Asterion in the labyrinth
I was bored, lonely, and cold, wallowing in my own guilt and sadness. I gathered the darkness to me and wrapped myself in it like a blanket. I tried to remember the light of the sun, the wind on my face, but the memories were fleeting. After a time, I gave up trying to chase them. It was like I had always been in this place.
I did try to mark the passage of time. At first, I did it as a matter of necessity, a way to keep me sane, my only connection to the world above. On a wall near the trapdoor, I used my horns to scrape marks, one for each day. I really didn’t know for sure. I suspect that I might’ve slept and missed a few but I did my best.
Later, it became a game. Something to do. I started to toy with the marks, embellishing and changing them. In my growing insanity, I thought that I was creating fabulous works of art. Much later, when I was able to examine them properly, I saw them for what they really were. Random marks and scratches. The work of a madman. Or a beast.
As a result, I really had no idea how long the first part of my imprisonment was. At the time, I believed it might have been weeks or months, even years.
I did other things to try and keep me sane and occupied. I exercised, wrestling imaginary opponents. I tried to climb the walls. Sometimes, in utter rage and despair, I attacked the limestone, knowing the feeling of wetness on my knuckles was blood but not caring.
I assumed that food and water came once a day, but perhaps it was every second, lowered down in a basket from above. There wasn’t much of it—sometimes a bit of broth or soup, occasionally a chunk of stale bread. The water tasted sour, but I always drank it.
I only caught glimpses of my guards. At first, I yelled at them, pleading, begging. Later, my pleas turned into rants. They threw rocks at me and I swiftly got the message.
It was at this time I discovered the second of my animal friends. I would’ve preferred the companionship of another dog like Kyon, but dogs were in short supply in the labyrinth. It was a rat.
Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.
He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.
Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.
His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.
He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.
When not writing, he works as a school teacher.
Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.
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