Caroline B. Cooney brings to life this epic tale of one girl's courage.
At age six Anaxandra is taken by King Nicander to be a companion to his crippled daughter on the island of Siphnos. Anaxandra has adjusted to her new life when, six years later, Siphnos is sacked by pirates, and she is the sole survivor. When a fleet of ships stops on the island to investigate, she assumes the identity of Princess Callisto to survive. The ships belong to Menelaus, king of Sparta, and he takes her back to Sparta with him. But Helen, wife of
Menelaus, does not believe that this child is Princess Callisto. Anaxandra manages to stay out of harm's way--until Paris and Aeneas arrive. When Menelaus and his men depart to attend his grandfather's funeral, Paris and Helen's passionate affair plunges Sparta and Troy into war.
Winner of the Josette Frank Award
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
An ALA Notable Book
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Delacorte Books for Young Readers
November 10, 2003
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney
I I was six years old when King Nicander came to the island of my birth, demanding tribute and a hostage. I did not know what a hostage was, nor tribute. The king was taller than Father. His oiled beard jutted from his chin like a spear point. His arms were hard and tanned, his eyes twinkling. I liked him right away. "So you are Alexandra," said Nicander. I corrected a king. "Not Alexandra. Anaxandra." His eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled. "Anaxandra, you are coming for a sail with me. You will be companion to my daughter, Callisto." A sail? I was so excited I hardly bothered to kiss my parents goodbye. My brothers got to go to sea and have adventure, but I always had to stay home with Mother. And I had never met a princess. Callisto means "the fairest," just the right name for a princess, the way Anaxandra was just the right name for me. Mother packed some clothes and my fleeces and put my doll in a box, which I hugged to my chest. I had never owned a box, and Mother kept jewelry in this one. It was heavy, which meant she had left some jewels in it. I would have a guest-gift for the princess. An officer sat me on his shoulders and off we went. I never looked back at my brothers, standing in a row, silent and envious, and I never waved to my parents. Our village was perched a thousand feet above the sea. The path to the harbor tilted steeply. I clung to the officer's neck so I wouldn't fall off. "What's your name?" I asked. He peeled my fingers from his throat so he could breathe. "Lykos." This means "wolf," which made me think of my puppy. I had named her Seaweed, because when she romped in the water, she came out hung with green fronds. I almost told Lykos we had to go back and get Seaweed, but I remembered that I would be home by bedtime to tell Seaweed all about it. The sailor carrying my clothes and fleece said to Lykos, "Why didn't the king take sons for hostages? A little girl isn't going to make Chrysaor double his tribute." Chrysaor was my father's name; it had the word for gold in it. My mother's name was Iris, which means "rainbow." The king caught up to us. He tugged on my long curls and told me I had hair as red as King Menelaus. I had never heard of King Menelaus. "A girl as hostage?" said Lykos to the king. "Chrysaor needs his sons to pirate with him," said the king of Siphnos, "but his daughter he loves. He'll obey me for her sake." The donkey path was slippery with pebbles and sand. The men struggled for balance and swore at my father for not chiseling steps into the stone. Steps would make it too easy for pirates. Father knew because he was one. He loved to tell about the towns he had sacked and burned. We had many slave women he had brought back. The men he couldn't keep, because they knew how to use weapons and were too dangerous. All around the island the sea sparkled. We wound down the bare bones of cliffs to the harbor, where there were so many ships, I could not assign a finger to all of them. I used up ten fingers counting ships, tucked my elbow into my side to keep the first ten safe, used my fingers over again, and had to tuck in my other elbow. All together there were ten ships, ten ships, and eight more ships, long and slim with black hulls and red sails. Each sail was stitched with a white octopus, its long legs tied in knots. "You have enough ships to take Troy, don't you?" I said to the king. My father sailed past Troy every year. He admired Troy but hated her more. "Troy," repeated Nicander, and he and his men looked east, where Troy lies, far far away. Troy is built on a citadel above a strange rough river that runs uphill into a second sea. Beyond the second sea are endless supplies of slaves