William Goldings final novel, left in draft at his death, tells the story of a priestess of Apollo. Arieka is one of the last to prophesy at Delphi, in the shadowy years when the Romans were securing their grip on the tribes and cities of Greece. The plain, unloved daughter of a local grandee, she is rescued from the contempt and neglect of her family by her Delphic role. Her ambiguous attitude to the god and her belief in him seem to move in parallel with the decline of the god himself - but things are more complicated than they appear.
Left in draft at the authors death in 1993, this extraordinary short novel is a psychological and historical triumph. An aged prophetess at Delphi, the most sacred oracle in ancient Greece, looks back over her strange life as the Pythia, the voice of the god Apollo. Golding was the author of Lord of the Flies, and a Nobel Laureate.