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  • Goddess of Yesterday
  • Written by Caroline B. Cooney
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  • Goddess of Yesterday
  • Written by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307485496
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Written by Caroline B. CooneyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Caroline B. Cooney

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On Sale: January 21, 2009
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-307-48549-6
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis

Anaxandra is taken from her birth island at age 6 by King Nicander to be a companion to his crippled daughter, Princess Callisto. Six years later, her new island is sacked by pirates and she is the sole survivor. Alone with only her Medusa figurine, she reinvents herself as Princess Callisto when Menelaus, great king of Sparta, lands with his men. He takes her back to Sparta with him where Helen, his beautiful wife, does not believe that the red-headed child is Princess Callisto. Although fearful of the half-mortal, half-goddess Helen, Anaxandra is able to stay out of harm’s way—until the Trojan princes Paris and Aeneas arrive. Paris and Helen’s fascination with each other soon turns to passion and plunges Sparta and Troy into war. Can Anaxandra find the courage to reinvent herself once again, appease the gods, and save herself?

In Caroline B. Cooney’s epic tale of one girl’s courage and will to survive, Anaxandra learns that home is where you make it and identity goes deeper than just your name.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

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 and grain, gold and amber. The river is the Hellespont and only with a very strong wind can a ship go up it. If there is no wind, a ship waits in the harbor of Troy. On the return voyage, when the ship's hold is full, Troy takes her share. She is the richest city on earth.

"No," said Nicander. "I could not take Troy."

We waded out to the ships. Seaweed and I played here. The stones were flat and good for skipping. "Is Callisto on the ship," I asked the king, "or is she at your house?"

"Callisto is at my house," said the king, "although my house is called a palace. She isn't very well, Anaxandra. She can't run and jump the way you can. You will sit quietly with her and spin."

What kind of adventure would that be?

A man as hairy as a goat leaned over the edge of the king's ship to lift me on board. He laughed at the idea of a girl hostage when there were boys to take, and he tossed me high into the air. My father threw me around all the time and I loved it. But when the goat-haired man caught me, I saw he had expected me to be afraid. "I am never afraid," I said severely. "I can do anything. I can swim underwater and my brothers can't do that. I can even swim into Father's caves."

The king was still waist-deep in the water, his men cupping hands to give him a leg up. "Can you now?" said the king. "And what caves are those, Anaxandra?"

"Where Father keeps the real treasure," I said.

It took Nicander's men all afternoon to get my father's treasure out of the caves and loaded into the ships. How they laughed, congratulating Nicander on his wisdom--taking a silly girl as hostage instead of an intelligent boy: a girl who had just sold out her own father.

The king's ship was hollow inside, the deck planks removed to reveal the hold. In went piles of spears and bee-waisted shields, ingots of bronze and a silver sword pommel, a gold mask and ivory combs.

I sat on a coil of rope. It was damp and salty, the color and texture of an old woman's hair. Waves lapped against the ship like dogs drinking from a puddle. What would Father say to me when I got back tonight?

At last, Lykos bellowed, "Deck the ships!" The slamming of timber was heard on all sides as the cargo was covered by the deck beams. The masts were lifted and placed in their supports and the anchor stones raised.

Nicander flung wine into the sea. "Earth Shaker!" he shouted to the god. "Give us a safe return home!"

The wooden ships groaned and creaked. Bright banners slapped in the wind. There was no need for rowing with the wind so fine and the men relaxed on their benches.

I had not known that when you sailed away from your island, it got smaller. I had not known it would vanish. I kept my eyes fastened to the place where my island had been.

The sun was going down. The sea turned molten gold and the sky purple.

"It's bedtime," I said to the king. "I can't play with Callisto after all. We have to sail back home now."

"You're not going home, Anaxandra," said the king. "Not tonight or any night. Siphnos will be your home."


From the Hardcover edition.
Caroline B. Cooney

About Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney - Goddess of Yesterday

Photo © Jane Feldman

“What more can life hold, than to know that because of your story, somebody out there has decided to read again!”—Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney's books have received several honors, including an IRA–CBC Children's Choice and being named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Caroline B. Cooney knows what young adults like to read. In fact, Cooney’s all-time favorite fan letter came from a 12-year-old girl who hated reading. But after being forced to read one of Cooney’s books, the girl admitted it had not been a waste of time and had even been enjoyable. “And so,” wrote the girl, “I have come to an important decision. I am writing to tell you that I have decided to read a second book.”

Caroline Cooney was born in 1947 and grew up in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. This prolific author was always ambitious, and as a youth, loved school and was involved in many different activities. Cooney was also an avid reader and recalls that series books such as The Hardy Boys and Cherry Ames were her favorites. These characters had a big influence on her life, and in fact, she says that “Cherry Ames, Student Nurse was my reason to go to nursing school in Boston later in life.”

Cooney began writing in college. She professes,“I love writing and do not know why it is considered such a difficult, agonizing profession. I love all of it, thinking up the plots, getting to know the kids in the story, their parents, backyards, pizza toppings.”

Cooney is a master of mixing spellbinding suspense with thought-provoking insight into teenagers’ lives. One of her most popular books is The Face on the Milk Carton—the gripping story of a young girl who discovers that the picture of a missing child on a milk carton is actually a picture of herself. After writing this book, Cooney received hundreds of letters from readers who were bothered by the ending. “It wasn’t that they didn’ t like the ending, it was that they wanted some kind of resolution. Some said I should have written another chapter.” However, Cooney says she liked leaving the reader worrying about the character just as they would a real person. But one day, her daughter, Sayre, had an idea for a sequel that was so good, Cooney had to write it. The book that evolved was called Whatever Happened to Janie? Continuing where that novel leaves off, Cooney explores the themes of betrayal and peer pressure in The Voice on the Radio. Concluding the Janie Quartet is What Janie Found, in which Cooney masterfully spins a suspenseful story of family secrets that will have readers captivated until the very last word.

Cooney’s novel Burning Up explores the destructive nature of hatred, the crime of indifference, and the power of accepting love and responsibility.

In The Ransom of Mercy Carter, Cooney looks at an actual historic event that had been virtually unexplored in literature for young people. During a 1704 Indian attack on the Deerfield, Massachusetts, settlement, Mercy Carter is separated from her family and taken to a Kahnawake Indian village in Canada. As she awaits ransom, she discovers that the “savages” have traditions and family life that in time become her own.

Cooney completed her Time Travel Quartet with For All Time. In her novel Goddess of Yesterday, Cooney brings ancient Greece to life through careful research and master storytelling.

Most recently Cooney's Diamonds in the Shadow was named a 2008 ALA/YALSA Quick Pick and was a nominee for the Edgar Allen Poe Awards. Her latest gripping thriller, If the Witness Lied, details how love, devotion, and forgiveness make resilience—and recovery—possible.


AUTHOR FUN FACTS

Born: May 10 in Geneva, New York
Education: Greenwich, CT schools and various colleges
Residence: Westbrook, CT
Children: Louisa, Sayre (rhymes with fair), Harold
Inspiration for writing: I love a good story. I love to make things up.
Favorite hobbies: I read a lot. I buy books. I'm in a library (I use several) or a bookstore almost every day because I have to be around other people's books, too. I sing in several choirs, or play the piano for them.
Favorite foods: I'm omnivorous.
Favorite books: I read series books: Cherry Ames, Student Nurse, was the reason I went to nursing school. But my favorite series, and the only one I saved, was Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager.


PRAISE

IF THE WITNESS LIED

"Cooney's new psychologically penetrating page-turner immediately grabs readers then hangs on tight up to its satisfying conclusion."—Kirkus

"Anchored by a poignant sibling reunion, this family-drama-turned-thriller will have readers racing, heart in throat, to reach the conclusion." —Horn Book


DIAMONDS IN THE SHADOW

"Crackling language and nailbiting cliffhangers provide an easy way into the novel's big ideas, transforming topics that can often seem distant and abstract into a grippingly immediate reading experience." —Starred, Publishers Weekly

GODDESS OF YESTERDAY
“Characters from the Iliad, the Odyssey, and much of Greek tragedy make appearances in Anaxandra’ s tale, one that is as vivid as her red-gold hair. Teen readers will be mesmerized.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“A compulsively readable story and may well lead readers to other Greek myths.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly

AMONG FRIENDS
“Readers will respond to the author’s candid view of friendship with its intense bonding, rivalry and sudden, surprising meanness.”—Booklist


BOTH SIDES OF TIME
"Not only a love story and a time-travel fantasy, but also a provocative and powerful examination of women, marriage, and relationships in two centuries.”—School Library Journal


BURNING UP
“Convincingly depicted and . . . compellingly chronicled.”—Starred, The Bulletin

"This thought-provoking story has a powerful message, effortlessly woven into the ordinary trappings of a teenager’s life.”—Kirkus Reviews


DRIVER’S ED
“A wrenching, breathlessly paced plot and an adrenaline-charged romance make Cooney’s latest novel nearly impossible to put down.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“Poignant.”—Starred, Booklist


THE FACE ON THE MILK CARTON
“Absorbing and convincing. Strong characterizations and suspenseful, impeccably paced action add to this novel’s appeal.”—Publishers Weekly

“A real page-turner.”—Kirkus Reviews


THE RANSOM OF MERCY CARTER
“Gripping and thought provoking.”—Publishers Weekly


WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JANIE?
“The power and nature of love is wrenchingly illustrated throughout this provocative novel. . . . The emotions of its characters remain excruciatingly real.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“A gripping sequel to The Face on the Milk Carton. . . The gut-wrenching circumstances in which the characters find themselves are honestly conveyed.”—Booklist


THE VOICE ON THE RADIO
“[Cooney] has taken this novel to extraordinary heights.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“Readers of Cooney’s addictive The Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie? can start licking their chops.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly
Praise

Praise

“A compulsively readable story.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

“Teen readers will be mesmerized.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred


From the Hardcover edition.

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