Amber and Clay
by Meredith Leigh Burton
There are stories that are complex and beautiful, spanning years and relating wondrous events. Laura Amy Schlitz’s Amber and Clay is just such a novel.
Rich in historical detail, the story of Rascos, a Thracian slave, who is “common as clay”, and Melisto, an aristocratic young girl of Athens, who is “precious as amber.” Both Rascos’s and Melisto’s lives are inextricably linked. Rascos is enslaved to a Thracian family where he is ill-treated and only regarded as property. Even so, Rascos has a thirst for knowledge and an artistic ability that draws the attention of the gods. Melisto, though rich in material things, endures abuse from her mother. When Melisto is chosen by Artemis to serve as a young maiden in her temple, a chain of unusual events are set into motion. While never meeting in the flesh, a slave and an aristocrat’s lives are woven together by the inescapable threads of destiny.
Schlitz brings ancient Greece vividly to life. The story is told from multiple perspectives, including two Greek gods, (Hermes, the messenger, and Hephaestus, the god of artistry). The writing is engaging and is never hampered by excessive detail. Once you begin this book, it will be impossible to put it down. If you enjoy stories of how seemingly unrelated events form a cohesive whole, Amber and Clay is thoroughly recommended. I especially recommend the audiobook edition, narrated by two exceptional readers, Rachel Bachen and Tom Picasso.
About the Author
Meredith is an author of young adult fantasy. Her recent release, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption, is an anthology of fairy tale retellings that seek to explore the familiar tales in unique ways. Most of her works feature disabled protagonists who are called upon to fight against evil. All her characters face difficult obstacles and must find strength to fight. Meredith hopes to show her readers that disabilities are really blessings, that we all have gifts and long to make a difference in the world. Buy her book Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption on Amazon.