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Clytemnestra's Bind

Queen Clytemnestra's world shatters when Agamemnon, a rival to the throne of Mycenae, storms her palace, destroys her family and claims not only the throne but Clytemnestra herself.

Tormented by her loss, she vows to do all she can to protect the children born from her unhappy marriage to Agamemnon. But when her husband casts his ruthless gaze towards the wealthy citadel of Troy, his ambitions threaten, once more, to destroy the family Clytemnestra loves.

From one of Greek mythology's most reviled characters—a woman who challenged the absolute power of men—comes this fiery tale of power, family rivalry and a mother's burning love.

US edition releases April 9 2024

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Praise for Clytemnestra's Bind

"Clytemnestra's Bind is bold, brilliant and brutal. Rich with psychological insight, hypnotic characters and thrilling dialogue, Wilson's writing recalls the great Mary Renault. Her re-imagining of ancient rites and religion is masterful: in her hands the beliefs and practices of Bronze Age Mycenae are both alien to us, yet thoroughly convincing and deeply rooted in the historical possibilities of the era. I was completely captivated by Wilson's propulsive, visceral storytelling and the unique horror of her haunting heroine's predicament. I cannot wait for the next instalment!"

Nikki Marmery, author of Lilith

"I loved Clytemnestra's Bind. Susan C Wilson brings raw emotion to every page. She portrays Clytemnestra with all the compassion, determination and strength that she deserved. A truly heart-wrenching read."

Hannah Lynn, multi-award-winning author of Athena's Child

"Visceral and tense, Susan C Wilson's depiction of Agamemnon's Mycenae floods into colour with razor-sharp clarity. One of the most vivid retellings I've had the privilege to read: a brilliant achievement."

Mark Knowles, author of Argo

"Clytemnestra's Bind is a bold and brave retelling that gives voice to Clytemnestra as she challenges the men that hold power. A compelling and evocative book that had me gripped from the first word."

Elizabeth Lee, author of Cunning Women

"Greek Mythology meets Game of Thrones."

Laura Shepperson, author of The Heroines

Clever and insightful storytelling ensures thoughts of an age-old tale are challenged in this beautifully eloquent novel ... The story is told in the first person, allowing such intimate access ... The epic nature of the tale and the individual cogs that fit together within it are absolutely fascinating. This world is brought to vividly intense life, with the focus on motherhood, and the strength of women. I was delighted to learn that this is the first in a trilogy by Susan C. Wilson, with the next two novels focusing on Clytemnestra’s twin sister Helen, and then her daughter Electra. Painting a vibrant scene and allowing access to a different viewpoint, Clytemnestra’s Bind is an exciting and powerful novel."

Love Reading UK (Book of the Month pick)

"This relentlessly savage novel is powerfully written. Brutality is unflinchingly and convincingly described. The actions and reactions of the characters are, in their own contexts, both logical and plausible. Punishment is violent, bloody, and often undeserved. The evocation of Mycenae and its surroundings is memorably well done, as are the domestic arrangements within the citadel itself, with vivid descriptions of banquets, rituals and ceremonial vestments, all dimly lit by hearth fires and flickering torches."

Historical Novel Society

"More than just retelling the events, this is a character driven narrative that gives the reader insight into the raw emotions of a vulnerable woman, not yet a vengeful queen. The first person narrative voice exposes flaws and internal conflicts that ground the character in a more sympathetic reality. Meanwhile, Clytemnestra’s relationships to her romantic loves, family and children are explored with interactions and witty dialogue that felt natural and authentic. Through Clytemnestra we see the consequences of the self-destructive behaviour of men as her experience of them is at the heart of the story."

The Publishing Post

"This is a fascinating tale of a mother’s intense love for her children, the importance of traditions and religious beliefs, and the role of women in ancient Greek society. It’s wonderful to see the story told from Clytemnestra’s point of view, with all the heart-rending misery, self-doubt and joy that she experiences. Although her situation is very much of its time, Wilson has created a modern voice for Clytemnestra and her character is easy to identify with. She isn’t the wicked queen she has sometimes been portrayed as. Yes, she’s a flawed individual, but you’d need a heart of stone not to empathise with her. The author brings the book to life with colourful descriptions of daily life and rituals, the luxurious buildings and aspects of palace life, as well as the realities for the less fortunate members of society. A moving and fascinating story, which leaves you wanting more."

Trip Fiction

"We are taken with a jolt into the brutality of the royal house of Atreus, with its pervasive sense of watchfulness and mistrust. Wilson describes this with wonderful vividness ... This novel is the first of a planned trilogy, so at the end of this enjoyable and confident debut we can only anticipate what the whispering Electra and Orestes have in mind as they glare meaningfully at their mother."

The Lady

"Whilst Clytemnestra’s story might be well-known, Susan C. Wilson’s captivating writing style and unique approach makes the reader feel as though they are learning of this tale for the first time. Wilson writes of her desire to explore what makes us human, particularly our motivations, desires and instincts - Clytemnestra’s Bind is a stunning, evocative example of such an exploration. With moving lyrical prose, and written in first person, this book allows the reader to finally get close to Clytemnestra as a grieving wife and mother, and witness the enduring psychological impact of her trauma."

Aspects of History, review by Ella Beales, Public Historian with the University of Bristol

"Clytemnestra’s Bind adds an often-overlooked dimension to Clytemnestra’s story and begins with her first marriage to King Tantalus, allowing the reader an earlier introduction to Clytemnestra and a deeper understanding of her character and motives. Whereas most retellings focus on Clytemnestra’s revenge, this novel chronicles her trauma, her relationship with her children, and the horrors of being married to a man like Agamemnon ... This digs deep into her psyche, her soul, her thoughts, her motivations ... Truly deserving of the comparison to Madeline Miller's Circe and earns its spot right next to it."

Reader's review

"My goodness, I really enjoyed this book. This story of Clytemnestra is so tragic, fierce and compelling. The characters were very well drawn, the pace was great, and I literally could not put the book down. This book definitely has a worthy place in the pantheon of excellent Greek stories currently available."

Reader's review

"What a breathtaking retelling. Amongst the influx of Greek myth retellings lately this was an outstanding one. The research is extremely well done, the writing style is amazing, and the love and understanding the author has for the characters is truly extraordinary. I especially want to highlight how this is one of the few retellings that feels very honest to its characters. There's no soft-washing of horrible things, there's no "modern feminist" trope. There are a lot of morally grey characters, all of them can be despised for their choices, yet all of them are understood in said choices as well. The author managed to develop a stunning character study of the House of Atreus, outlining very well why certain characters took (or are going to take) certain decisions ... without demonising the male characters (Agamemnon mostly) and without making female characters a saint (Clytemnestra and Elektra both)."

Reader's review
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