Under the deft leadership of visionary author and editor Cecilia Tan, independent publisher Circlet Press has earned a reputation for publishing cutting-edge erotic science fiction and fantasy that tests the boundaries of sensuality and imagination. Once again, Circlet Press has gathered a smashing collection of tales based on Greek and Roman mythology. Like a God’s Kiss: Erotic Mythological Tales was edited by Ms. Tan and Jennifer Levine and includes seven of the finest erotic tales about the ancient gods and goddesses of mythology.
Each story in this unique collection is a reinvention of an existing Greek or Roman myth. To say the authors have outdone themselves would not be overstating the quality of the stories.
Lionel Bramble’s “The Pillars of Hercules” does an impressive job of setting the stage for the stories to come with an epic erotic adventure. Temporarily taking the place of Atlas, Hercules finds himself with the weight of the world upon his shoulders. While his hands are otherwise occupied, he is teased and tormented by a bevy of beauties (and the occasional satyr) until the passionate conclusion. This is a fun, sexy romp through mythology that prepares the reader for the delights to come.
In “Arachne,” Catherine Lundoff retells the story of a lonely weaver and the goddess she angers. When Athena confronts the proud young woman with a challenge, Arachne finds herself tangled in the threads of yearning for the goddess, experiencing a desire she has never known. Deftly written to capture the spirit of the original myth, “Arachne” is both familiar and delightfully new.
“In the Lair of the Monster,” by Erion O’Riordan is a surprisingly sensual tale about one of the great mythological monsters—Medusa. In this version, Perseus comes to slay the serpent-woman but instead finds himself enchanted by her feminine wiles. In return, Medusa (far from the monster of traditional mythology) bestows a very unique bit of magic on Perseus.
Steven Schwartz does a fine job of tackling the tale of Achilles in “Enchos Achilles (The Spear of Achilles).” This poignant and erotic story recounts the passion between Achilles and his friend and lover Patroclus. There is a depth of longing in this story that feels nearly palpable and leaves the reader yearning for more.
“Conquering Calypso” by Carrie Cannon carries the reader along in a cleverly told battle of wills between the sea nymph Calypso and the mighty warrior Odysseus. When Odysseus arrives on the island of Calypso, the sailor and the nymph find the adversarial nature of their relationship takes a backseat to their mutual love of sex.
Michael M. Jones’ “The Muse’s Mask” takes a different direction from the other stories in the collection by offering a contemporary retelling of the muse Thalia, who has lost her sense of humor. The forlorn goddess finds it in the most unlikely of places—in the arms of a woman who owns a comedy club. While not quite matching the tone of the rest, which have an otherwordly mythological feel to them, this sweet and sensual gem is a standout.
Closing this lovely anthology is a passionate tale of eternal love. “The Everlasting” by Renatto Garcia is an appropriate choice to round out the collection and, like the opening tale, is a lengthy saga. Here, the reader explores the depths of passion of Dionysus, god of wine, for his beloved Ariadne. Driven mad with loss, Dionysus rocks the immortal world of Olympus with his anguish in a love story for the ages.
Like a God’s Kiss goes where no other erotica anthology in recent memory has gone. That bit of novelty alone would make it a worthy read. The fact that the seven myths in the collection are equally unique and compelling makes this a very special book, indeed. Academics and mythology geeks will find themselves rereading the original myths to discover what liberties have been taken and what new characters have been created—but only after they’ve savored every wonderful story.
Like a God’s Kiss: Erotic Mythological Tales
(Circlet Press, August 2009; ISBN-10: B002NGO4YW)
© 2009 Kristina Wright. All rights reserved.