Night of Pan, by 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?
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And now a GUEST POST from the Author!!
Thank you Sister Sinister for inviting me to join the conversation!
My name is Gail Strickland. My book, a YA historical fantasy called Night of Pan, is filled with Greek gods and oracles, mystics and visionaries. Night of Pan is a coming-of -age story about a young girl. You may have noticed there are a lot of coming-of-age books. Night of Pan is different. For one thing, there is no prom.
Let me ask you a question: Do you think the Oracle of Delphi in 5th century BCE Greece was a drug-crazed teenager manipulated by politically-savvy priests as many modern historians would have us believe? Or was she a wise visionary who helped save the cradle of democracy when the largest invasion the ancient world had seen attacked from the north—the Persian army, a million soldiers led by King Xerxes lusting after revenge for the death of his father at Marathon?
My fifteen-year-old Oracle, Thaleia comes of age in a time when philosophers created democracy, a time that shaped our western world more than any other. This is the same time in history that the movie 300 takes place. That movie presents prophecies from the Oracle of Delphi that I believe are inaccurate. As a Greek scholar in college, I translated the four prophecies we know from the ancient historian Herodotus and based my story on these four Persian oracles that all came true.
An army a million strong really did attack 300 Greek soldiers over two thousand years ago. This is all true, but the movie depicts Greece as defeating the Persians with only armed might and female warriors. These distortions of history teach that men controlled the world and that arms and might prevailed. That was not the whole story. Though the Battle of Thermopylae is in my book, my story isn’t about the kind of courage where someone picks up a sword and chops off heads. My book is about the courage it takes to know who you truly are.
Night of Pan tells the story of a simple village girl who is very brave. She is a fictional character based on the real Oracle of Delphi. Her name is Thaleia.
Thaleia lives in the mountain village Delphi—sacred center of the ancient world. Her parents and the town have her destiny mapped out for her. Uncertain who she is or what her destiny is, she knows the traditional path is not for her. She runs away when her father tries to marry her to a gross and much older man. Running free but unsure where to go, she follows mysterious flute music up Mt. Parnassos and meets the satyr-god Pan. He gives her a choice: Live forever in his magical meadow or return to Delphi to save her family, her home … all of Hellas. Thaleia decides to return.
Like any true hero’s journey, that’s when her troubles really begin.
The priests deny Thaleia’s visions and her wisdom. They manipulate the villagers’ fear to gain control and power. They are willing to lie and deceive and even betray the citizens to the Persians, so that they can claim power, wealth and prestige.
Thaleia discovers her own identity and power as she listens for the song of the universe. Like strands in a spider web, the song connects Thaleia to the earth and trees, the wind and stars and those she loves … and ultimately to the gods. Defying the villagers, priests and even death, she discovers that she is the true Oracle. Neither her parents nor the village priests want her to assume that role.
With wild poppies sprouting in her hair, Thaleia claims her identity as the Oracle of Delphi, the most powerful Oracle in all Greece and confronts the invading army as they march into Delphi to seize the gold and jewels and power.
Is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?
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.