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Harper Collins

Orphia and Eurydicius - Elyse John

Orphia and Eurydicius - Elyse John

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The stunning, gender-flipped novel about love, creativity and the power of speaking out, which has the biggest names in Australian literature swooning with praise - perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.

'Poetic and evocative ... this story will thrill readers' PIP WILLIAMS

'Vivid, consuming, potent, and poetic ... A moving, magical ode to the power of using our voices' HOLLY RINGLAND


Their love transcends every boundary. Can it cheat death?

Orphia dreams of something more than the warrior crafts she's been forced to learn. Hidden away on a far-flung island, her blood sings with poetry and her words can move flowers to bloom and forests to grow ... but her father, the sun god Apollo, has forbidden her this art.

A chance meeting with a young shield-maker, Eurydicius, gives her the courage to use her voice. After wielding all her gifts to defeat one final champion, Orphia draws the scrutiny of the gods. Performing her poetry, she wins the protection of the goddesses of the arts: the powerful Muses, who welcome her to their sanctuary on Mount Parnassus. Orphia learns to hone her talents, crafting words of magic infused with history, love and tragedy.

When Eurydicius joins her, Orphia struggles with her desire for fame and her budding love. As her bond with the gentle shield-maker grows, she joins the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Facing dragons, sirens and ruthless warriors on the voyage, Orphia earns unparalleled fame, but she longs to return to Eurydicius.

Yet she has a darker journey to make - one which will see her fight for her love with all the power of her poetry.


Praise for Orphia and Eurydicius

'Like all enchanted books, the story of Elyse Johns' Orphia and Eurydicius is vivid, consuming, potent, and poetic. This gender-flipping, feminist retelling is not just a love story for the ages, but a moving, magical ode to the power of using our voices, and of being who we are in the world.' HOLLY RINGLAND, author of The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding

'As I read, I imagined the muses beside Elyse John, focusing her mind and guiding her hand. The writing is poetic and evocative, and the story will thrill readers who have long suspected something is missing from the classics of Greek myth.' PIP WILLIAMS, author of The Bookbinder of Jericho

'This book hooked me from its opening lines ... Music and poetry, art and magic are woven together in this dazzling fable which ultimately asks: how far are we willing to go for the ones we love? Elyse John has taken one of the most beautiful and tragic love stories ever told and infused it with a modern sensibility. Readers will swoon.' LAUREN CHATER, author of The Winter Dress

'A timeless story told in rich, poetic language ... a book for lovers of myth, passion and transporting historical fiction. John brilliantly reimagines the past while crafting a moving tale of love that challenges outdated gender roles, and of grief drawn from the depths of experience. The mesmerising landscapes, the journeys of sea and fire, encircle this very human story in the evocative realm of legend.' KATHERINE BRABON, author of The Shut Ins

'Highly polished and luminous ... A wonderfully ambitious, richly imagined tale of star-crossed lovers. Brimming with passion, wit and poetry Orphia and Eurydicius is a story of, and for, the ages. One that not only stands as a paeon to love, courage and acceptance but to every woman's desire, and right, to be heard. A triumph.' LYN HUGHES, author of Mr Carver's Whale

'A gorgeous, sweeping tale that both evokes the feeling of classic mythology and intelligent and modern insight, this is a story of the boundaries we put on love and grief - I dare you to be unmoved by it.' SAM HAWKE, author of City of Lies

'A beautiful, poetic ode to Greek myth, love, and the sheer power of women's art and women's voices.' TASHA SURI, author of the Burning Kingdoms series

'Spins a bewitching tale of courage, love, and defiance, giving voice and agency to the women in Greek tales who are so often defined by the men they are associated with. Orphia's poetry may bring the gods to tears; John's words have the same effect on us mere mortals. Tragic and triumphant, a must-read!' ANDREA STEWART, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

'A delectable concoction at once ancient and modern, comfortingly familiar and yet very much her own ... A thrilling tale of epic love and epic ambition spun with a Homeric sense of adventure and storytelling flair. It's also a hymn to the pleasures of sensuality, nature and creativity, and to the courage of being yourself rather than the person others want you to be.' LEE KOFMAN, author of The Writer Laid Bare

'A powerful ode to female creativity and ambition, a poignant exploration of grief, and a testament to the power of art and love to transcend death. Lyrical, luminous, and brimming with passion.' H.G. PARRY, author of The Magician's Daughter

'Elyse John has written that rare novel, one that has heart and wisdom, adventure and poetry, and all the while it pulses with a great political purpose. It's a marvel.' NIGEL FEATHERSTONE, author of My Heart is a Little Wild Thing

'A fresh and enchanting retelling of the Orpheus myth, in which Ancient Greece's greatest poet becomes a bold, powerful woman, and her muse an artistic, gentle man. John astutely explores and tests the gendered stereotypes of classical myth and elevates women's voices and stories to craft a beautiful, beguiling modern myth about the value of creativity, the strength of non-conformity and the power of love.' NIKKI MARMERY, author of Lilith

'An intoxicating story about a woman fighting to live a life of creativity and love, on her own terms. This is a powerful epic about the collective power of women set in the mythical past that feels incredibly relevant today. John's gilded romance about breaking boundaries to live and love is transportative.' STEPH VIZARD, winner of the 2022 HarperCollins Banjo Prize for The Love Contract

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