Laura Gill has had a lifelong fascination with Bronze Age Aegean culture. She lives in Southern California with her many cats. When she isn't writing about the distant past, she designs floral arrangements, paints, creates miniature rooms, and makes her own jewelry.
Author Laura Gill combines painstaking research and fast-paced storytelling in her romantic Minoan tales. Claiming Ariadne and its forthcoming sequels are set in 1450 B.C, as the peaceful, age-old Minoan culture falls under the dominion of the warlike Mycenaean Greeks.
Ariadne, high priestess of Knossos, expects nothing from her new consort except disappointment. When a rugged Achaean warrior and prince turns up instead of the usual callow youth, the last thing she wants or expects is to be seduced.
Taranos, prince of Tiryns, has spent the last fifteen years wandering from one end of the Aegean to the other. Then he sets eyes on the alluring high priestess and has to win her-and he\'s prepared to pay a steep price.
Turmoil erupts with the arrival of Achaean warships, which shakes Ariadne\'s budding interest in her prince, someone who seemed willing to give his life to be with her. How much did he know about the invasion, and how involved was he? Ariadne soon realizes she must choose between her threatened society and the man who dares awaken her passion.
Available February 22, 2010 from Phaze Books.
Excerpt from Claiming Ariadne
A retaining wall at the edge of the court afforded an unobstructed view of the Kairatos river valley. Olive groves, vineyards, and fields spread out in a broad patchwork, and to the north the glitter of sunlight danced upon the distant sea. A breeze brought the tang of salt-laden air. Taranos scented it, growing wistful. "It's almost Plowistos."
The start of the sailing season. "Would you prefer to be out on the sea?" asked Ariadne.
His answer, when it came, was no answer at all. "I chose to be here."
"That isn't what I asked."
"Tiryns is like this: close enough to the sea to smell and taste. But there, you wouldn't have this." Taranos gestured to the low-lying wall. "Tiryns is built on an escarpment of rock like a ship's hull, a citadel towering over the entire countryside with high walls and a well-watched gate."
It sounded ugly and oppressive. "We have no need for such fortifications. There are only priests and priestesses here, and we have no enemies." As she looked out over the retaining wall, she spied figures moving in the distance. Peasants tilled the soil. Carts passed to and from the town below the hill.
"Yes," he observed, "but you also have great wealth stored here."
Ariadne didn't like what he was suggesting. "We don't hoard those things. Those beholden to Knossos want for nothing."
Taranos grunted an acknowledgement. "If I may ask, how many years have you been in Mother Rea's service?"
"All my life. My mother is a Snake Priestess. One year she lay with a man during the Great Marriage. All babies conceived under Rea belong to her, so I was consecrated to her from the moment I was born, and have lived among the priestesses since I was seven. I came into my womanhood just as the last High Priestess died."
"What about your father?"
"I suppose he was a priest."
"You're not curious?"
What an absurd question! Goddess-born children belonged to Mother Rea. "What should it matter?"
They turned and walked a short distance along the wall until they came to a ledge overlooking the royal road.
Taranos's gaze traveled along its length and appraised its neatly joined paving stones. "Do your children know their fathers were Sacred Kings?"
All four were still very young, perhaps too young to understand. Ariadne never spent enough time with them to ask. "Why does it matter so much to you?"
He didn't answer.
Ariadne tried not to concentrate on the heat he radiated by standing so close to her. She tried not to dwell on his utter maleness. So she avoided looking at him as she spoke. "If you wanted to raise your sons and daughters at your knee, you should never have become Sacred King. I see no reason to lie to you. Children here are raised by all. Sometimes they know who their parents are, sometimes not, but it doesn't matter. Should I conceive by you, your son or daughter will be a Goddess-child. It will not belong to you. It will never know your name."
"My children will know their father." Taranos crossed his arms over his chest, as he had in the courtyard, and stared out over the countryside. Inviting him to walk with her had been a mistake. How could she ever concentrate without his presence bearing down on her, without its triggering memories that made her flush with remembered desire? "You are a fool."
Before she could answer, he turned, and with arms closing around her waist, he pulled her into a rough kiss.
Ariadne struggled uselessly and burned in mingled shame and anger at the distant catcalls that greeted the Sacred King's amorous display. Peasants and priests alike could see them-and they approved! "How dare you!" She pummeled him with her fists the moment he released her. Even more catcalls rose at her reaction. The High Priestess behaving like a farmer's wife and publicly berating her lover-what better entertainment did the day offer? "I didn't give you permission to-"
"I don't need your permission, woman!" His thunderous voice echoed throughout the Western Court and beyond. Then, throwing back his head, he laughed, just as loudly.
"I don't see why you're laughing." Oh, the humiliation! It took all her self-control not to turn on her heel and flee.
Taranos not only had the temerity to laugh, but his eyes were dancing. "I just realized your lips are even more luscious by day, and how much more beautiful you are without all your paint."
"You might have said that before grabbing me." Ariadne gave him a hard shove before stalking away from the ledge.
More laughter chased her across the court. "Would it have worked?"
"No!" she shouted back.