Stealing Athena is the story of two women, separated by centuries but united by their association with some of the world's greatest and most controversial works of art. Aspasia, a philosopher and courtesan to visionary politician Pericles during Athens's Golden Age, defies societal restrictions to become fiercely influential in Athens' power circle. Mary, the Countess of Elgin and a beautiful Scottish heiress, charms the fearsome men of the Ottoman Empire to make possible her husband's costly acquisitions, all the while brazenly defying the social conventions of her time. Both women prevail yet pay a heavy price for their rebellion. A tale of romance, intrigue, greed, and glory, Stealing Athena interweaves the lives of two of history's most beguiling heroines.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Stealing Athena|
|Release Date: 06-17-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Stealing Athena|
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Aboard the Phaeton, 1799
Mary hit the floor of the ship's squalid cabin with a dull thud, jolting her awake and sending a pain so sharp up her spine that Zeus might as well have hurtled a thunderbolt into her backside. She tried to breathe, but the fetid odors—dank wood; stale, trapped air; foul clothing; and the urine and excrement of humans and animals—were unbearable partners with the sickness that went along with the early stages of pregnancy. The stench she'd briefly escaped during her nap came rushing back in to claim space in her nostrils, and she gagged. Her head spun like scum swirling under a bridge, but that was nothing compared to the sick feeling in her stomach. On this voyage, sleep-when one could come by it through a good dose of laudanum mixed with iron salts, all dissolved with strong liquor in a syrupy elixir—was her only respite from the miseries of sea travel.
She reached up for the glass in which the good doctor had mixed the medicine, drained it, then stuck her tongue in deep enough that her face formed a suction as she licked up the last of the -metallic—tasting liquid.
Her illness had been so relentless that Dr. MacLean—sober when on call during the day-had insisted that the captain dock at ports along the way to Constantinople. But the few times they had gone ashore, Mary had to walk through the cities with -ammonia—soaked rags covering her nose and mouth, her only protection from the plague that raged through Europe's ports. The disease had been carried into the towns, the radical doctors of the day now professed (and Dr. MacLean concurred), on little rat feet. Apparently, as human passengers disemba