An Unexpected Ally: A Greek Tale of Love, Revenge, and Redemption by Sophia Kouidou-Giles. (Photo: Amazon)
Greek mythology has been a fountain of inspiration for artists and authors for centuries. An Unexpected Ally: A Greek Tale of Love, Revenge, and Redemption by Sophia Kouidou-Giles recounts the adventures of Circe, best known as the sorceress in Homer’s Odyssey.
According to the book’s description, powerful Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios, is sad to see Odysseus, King of Ithaca, depart from her island, Aeaea— but her heartbreak is eased after dolphins take her to Delos, where she explores a new love interest.
Circe has a strained relationship with her mother, Perse, but when she finally listens to Perse’s encouragement to seek out the amphibian god Glaucus, she is glad that she heeded her advice. Together, the two embark on underwater adventures, and Circe shares with Glaucus her knowledge about the healing and harmful power of herbs. While in Delos, she also meets and befriends Skylla, a local beauty with whom Glaucus is enthralled, although Skylla is indifferent.
Circe eventually returns to Aeaea, but one day she learns of trouble in Delos that requires her immediate action. In the turbulent world of gods mingling with mortals, our heroine shifts shapes, flies, and uses her superpowers to reverse the course of evil.
An Unexpected Ally brings ancient Greek myths to life, reminding the reader of the constancy of human nature, while connecting the past with contemporary issues.
Sophia Kouidou-Giles was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, and university educated in the United States. She holds a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work. In her 34-year child welfare career, she served as a practitioner, educator, researcher and administrator, publishing articles in Greek and English professional journals with a focus on child welfare services.
In recent years, her focus has shifted to writing non-fiction and poetry. Her memoir, Επιστροφή στη Θεσσαλονίκη (Return to Thessaloniki), published by Tyrfi Press in Greek in 2019 is available in all Greek bookstores and in the U.S. directly from the author. It was published in English by She Writes Press in 2021 with the title Sophia’s Return: Uncovering My Mother’s Past. Her poetry chapbook, Transitions and Passages, received recognition in a juried competition by the Contemporary Quilt Art when she worked in partnership with Deborah Gregory, an internationally-known Quilt Artist. Life on Egypt Street placed 9th in the Fourth International short story competition and in an anthology entitled The Time Collection. She has contributed an essay to another anthology, Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis, with proceeds to be donated to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, in support of Ukraine). An Unexpected Ally will be released October 3 with a sequel already in the works and set to be released in November 2025.
The literary journal Persimmon Tree published a chapter of her upcoming memoir entitled Under the Azure Greek Sky, in its spring 2016 issue. Her writing has appeared in journals such as The Hellenic Voice, Assay, The Raven’s Perch, The Blue Nib, and The Writers and Readers Magazine.
Kouidou-Giles lives in Seattle near her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.
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