I am pleased to be on the blog tour today for Alexandra Turney’s debut book, In Exile.
‘No one in this city has believed in me for two thousand years. I’m unknown and unloved. And I’m very, very ill.’ He sighed, and the sound chilled her blood. ‘Give me your hand.’
Dionysus, god of wine and divine ecstasy, is reborn in modern Rome. He doesn’t understand how or why he’s come to be here – a pagan god in a city where he has no believers. But when he meets fifteen-year-old Grace during a chance encounter in the Ghetto, he realises he has found his first new follower.
This is the beginning of Grace’s secret life, as she and her friends overcome scepticism and fear to become his worshippers, drinking his wine and taking part in bacchanals across the city. As the melancholy god lives out his exile, his teenage followers find they have everything to lose. And after the first bloodshed, they know that there’s no turning back…
As a lover of history, I was especially excited to be on this blog tour. I also love historical fiction, so it was wonderful to receive a book which flipped it on its head- an ancient God in a modern world. This book doesn’t rely at all on the reader’s knowledge of mythology, nor does it patronise the reader. You can be an expert or know nothing about mythology and still be thoroughly invested in the book. Turney’s tone throughout the novel is suspenseful and climactic, whilst at the same time, invites you to learn more about the myths and legends of Ancient Rome.
Turney’s third-person perspective is both ethereal and appealing. A lot of sorrow is dripped through the pages as Dionysus tried to find his place in the modern world. The reader is swept up in a dark fairy-tale like world- which is quickly turned upside down at the fact that it is modern-day Rome. When down on his luck, Dionysus meets Grace, an incredibly interesting character which the plot then follows. Having an ancient God rome-ing (see what I did there) the streets of the modern world is incredibly inventive; an original way of looking at mythology, whilst telling a story that unfolds before your very eyes.
The author’s love of the city radiates through the pages of the book. It made me want to find my passport and get my flip flops out! At the same time, there are authentic Greek tragic undertones following the characters’ every move. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say, history really does come to life in this book!
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes historical fiction as it comes with a twist in this novel! I think anyone who is a fan of mythology (such as Stephen Fry’s Mythos or Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology) or even non-fiction historical novels (Mary Beard’s Pompeii) will thrive on this book where fact and fiction meet myth and history. If you are a fan of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and perhaps want something more adult and grown up, I would definitely recommend this book to you!
How to get your hands on a copy:
About the author
Alexandra Turney grew up in London and studied English Literature at the University of Oxford. Her love of Romantic poets (and pasta) inspired her to move to Rome, where she has lived since 2013. She works as an English teacher and freelance writer. In Exile is her first novel.
Follow her on twitter: @AJLTurney
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour! See below:
Thank you to Anne Carter of Random Things Blog Tours for my place on the tour and for my copy. Thank you also to the author, Alexandra Turney.
Happy reading! Lx