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The King Must Die

Narrated by: Kris Dyer
Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
Non-member price: $34.45
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Publisher's Summary

The epic of Thesus, the boy king of Eleusis, ritually preordained to die after one year of marriage to the sacred queen but who defies God's decree and claims his inheritance - the throne of Athens. This re-creation of a Greek myth is written by the author of The Last of the Wine.

©1958 Mary Renault (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"One of the truly fine historical novels of modern times. Not since Robert Graves's I, Claudius has there been such an exciting living image of the Ancient World on this grand scale." ( New York Times)
"Takes the raw material of myth and makes it credible - I am spellbound by Miss Renault's art." ( Observer)
"Vivid and convincing...it brims with feeling." ( Sunday Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Evocation of a forgotten civilisation

The world of the Minatour and the bull dancers is brought from ancient frescoes into the immediacy of our present-day imagination. A wonderful re-telling and reading of the classic legend. All honour to both author and reader.

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  • Lori
  • 25-03-2015

Finally! An unabridged old favorite

I've loved this book since I first read it 25 years ago as assigned reading for a university course. Mary Renault makes the story of Theseus so plausible. I thoroughly enjoyed the unabridged audio version.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Brinkman
  • 15-07-2015

Astounding

Any additional comments?

This is the rare book that functions as a great story regardless of how much of the background material you are familiar with. As a retelling of a classic myth, it reads as a coming-of-age story set in antiquity. But, the more familiar one is with the source material, the more astounding the book becomes. There is a ton of historical referencing done, but the genius of it is that it doesn't stand out from the story, it only serves it. The more you know about the mystery cults of Hellenic and pre-Hellenic Greece, the more fascinating the story goes. A little background reading on the Eleusinian and Bacchic/Dionysus mystery cults, as well as the Minoan culture and Palatial periods and even the volcanic eruption on Thera/Kalliste ca 1500BCE open up an entirely different perspective on Renault's talent. For me, this is the finest historical novel I've read. Kris Dyer's narration here is spot-on as well.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • =A
  • 22-08-2018

ever a favorite

When i was a child my mom told me all myths have a kernel of truth behind them, and I have always wondered at the events that might have inspired the legends. This was always my favorite retelling of a myth. Now I am old enough to recognize the research she put into it I am even more impressed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • LR
  • 24-03-2016

Good read for classics majors

I first read Mar Renaults books in high school, so they have nostalgia value for me. Good tales, well-researched and plausible. The Theseus story is told in King Must Die and Bull from the Sea, and the parallel Alexander one in Fire from Heaven, the Persian Boy (my favorite) and Funeral Games. Last of the Wine is a lovely picture of Greece's golden age with Socrates and Plato, and the Praise Singer much earlier in history.
The readers are adequate and the books are unabridged. Pleasant and interesting read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Marsha L. Woerner
  • 08-04-2019

Sections tied together to make a whole life

(As posted in GoodReads)
I had actually read this book years ago, but I really only remembered snapshots from it, so as I listened this time, at first I thought that it was the wrong book. I did not remember the actual connections between the various snapshots that I had. Hearing the whole book together and being able to re-place the remembered scenes in order and importance was very enlightening. I remember having really enjoyed the book, but the only part that left a lasting impression on me was the very end.
I find the representation of the religions and vast relevance thereof to the characters far more powerful that I observe Christianity or Islam, or even Judaism in the current modern lives. Our current knowledge of nature and the scientific basis really doesn't leave appropriate room for the mythology of current religion, but that ancient religion was mythology was highly appropriate. As an atheist, I can appreciate the good done by belief in gods in ancient Roman times despite the fact that our knowledge now leaves only room for imagination.
This book traces the whole life of a king with five (I think) separate stages, each of them unique and complete, although they all complement each other. And the main character executes SOME horrendous activities, but they are all consistent with his beliefs and personality.

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  • Cindy Rummelhart
  • 05-01-2019

Very good read

this is a greek adventure book that is captivating and unbelievably good to read. would highly recommend

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  • Wolfe
  • 02-09-2018

Extremely well written and narrated.

I wanted a little more closure at the ending, But it did make me hungry to learn much more about ancient Greece.

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  • Jax Bur
  • 08-07-2018

Not much happens

I had to read for a class. Very little to really get attached to. Characters don't seem to act in any logical manner.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pat G
  • 09-03-2019

Myth brought to life

I would recommend this book to anyone intending to visit Knossos, or anyone who has enjoyed knowing the myths and legends of ancient Greece.
Mary Renault is a scholarly writer with great imagination.
The performance of Kris Dyer enhances the text.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • nicolette king
  • 15-07-2018

Vivid reconstruction of ancient times

Excellently written . I expected it to be dated as the book was written in 1958 but it reads true as all classics do. Excellent plot and reconstruction of the atmosphere and superstitions of those early times. Quite well read by a young voice as Theseus but some terrible pronunciations e.g. Feeb for Phoebe amongst some others but at least he was consistent, so I'm giving the 5 stars for the book itself and 3 for the reader. This has not put me off ordering the sequel however.

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  • Prospecta
  • 12-06-2016

Limited by misogyny

Mary Renault was a good writer but, like so many of her generation, she was afflicted by a downer on women. Unsurprising, then, that this novel has a downer on Minoan culture. If she had been ahead of her time in that respect, her writing would have been great. She was not, and this constrains her work. Sad, and must have caused her pain in her personal life, she living as a woman and furthermore one whose only lifelong romantic relationship was with another woman.

1 of 17 people found this review helpful