Veronica Roth. Titan Books. (128p) ISBN 9781803363578

It had been a forever age since I’d read anything by Sophocles, 40 years maybe. So when I won the ARC from Titan Books for Arch-Conspirator I was intrigued as to how this would fit in with the slew of retelling of Greek myths that have been coming out lately, especially since it was set in a speculative fiction Earth where there are no other towns on a barren and destroyed planet.

I went back and re-read several versions of the source material before starting to read this to familiarise myself with the themes and story once more and was stunned by Roth’s take on the material.

The tragedy that was to unfold was there from the beginning and threaded throughout the story in a masterful way, from pulling in the shameful acts of Oedipus (though adapted for the setting) to the final choices made by Antigone.

Characters were fleshed out extremely well in such a short story, and knowing the source material quite well by this time you could feel the shadow of Sophocles originals within them all and what was intriguing was how was that shadow going to show itself in the finale.

The final conflict and sacrifices were masterfully played and as it finished it felt as though there was more to tell, as though the saga would continue from there as all good Greek tragedies do. Each a domino in ancient Greek history, one treachery begetting another.

Loved this and since I’ve never read any other Veronica Roth may have to look to her other works soon.

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