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Ursula K. Le Guin
Adult Fiction LE GUIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In the Aeneid, the only notable lines Virgil devotes to Aeneas' second wife, Lavinia, concern an omen: the day before Aeneus lands in Latinum, Lavinia's hair is veiled by a ghost fire, presaging war. Le Guin's masterful novel gives a voice to Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, who rule Latinum in the era before the founding of Rome. Amata lost her sons to a childhood sickness and has since become slightly mad. She is fixated on marrying Lavinia to Amata's nephew, Turnus, the king of neighboring Rutuli. It's a good match, and Turnus is handsome, but Lavinia is reluctant. Following the words of an oracle, King Latinus announces that Lavinia will marry Aeneas, a newly landed stranger from Troy; the news provokes Amata, the farmers of Latinum, and Turnus, who starts a civil war. Le Guin is famous for creating alternative worlds (as in Left Hand of Darkness), and she approaches Lavinia's world, from which Western civilization took its course, as unique and strange as any fantasy. It's a novel that deserves to be ranked with Robert Graves's I, Claudius. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea) makes literary fantasy read like historical fiction in this well-wrought tale that will appeal to fans of both. The title character briefly appears anonymously in Virgil's Aeneid; just as Le Guin here writes words for Lavinia, so, too, does actress/narrator Alyssa Bresnahan truly give her a voice, also expertly depicting Latinum's other characters. Certain to appeal to a broad readership; the coming-of-age aspect may also make this of interest to YAs. Highly recommended. [The Harcourt hc received a starred review, LJ 3/1/08.-Ed.]-Lisa Anderson, Metropolitan Community Coll. Lib., Omaha (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lavinia
Daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata; mother turned mad after she lost her sons to a childhood illness; was supposed to marry her mother's nephew; her father made her marry Aeneas, a foreigner, following the words of an oracle; her marriage causes a bitter civil war.

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