Food For The Gods by Karen Dudley – a review

Food for the Gods

I interviewed Karen Dudley back in September before her big book ‘Food For The Gods’ came out in print. I was there for her launch and had a wonderful time. Her story is a humorous romp through ancient Athens, following the escapades of Pelops, whose father, Tantalus, chopped him into stewing meat and literally served him up as food for the gods. Horrified, the gods put Pelops back together, minus his shoulder which was eaten by the goddess Demeter. He now sports an ivory ‘chip’ on his shoulder.

As did the gods, Karen Dudley has re-created Pelops, giving him a passion for the culinary arts. She has concocted a designer of delectable delights, infusing him with a flare for fixing fabulous food. All of the best houses in ancient Athens clamour for his roast lamb.

On occasion, Pelops comes across some of the gods, disguised as regular folk, who try to give him a helping hand, but inadvertently cause him more harm than good. However, when calamity occurs at one of the symposiums he caters, not even the gods can change the bad luck that befalls him. A hostile competitor harasses him, as does a creditor to whom he owes money. Havoc ensues and Pelops struggles to reverse his ill fortune.

Karen manages to seamlessly weave history into this story, giving the reader a feel for the time period, the customs and the scenery. There are also unique little bits, like advertisements, recipes, and advice columns in between some of the chapter breaks. One never knows what they’ll find when they turn the page. Her characters are memorable and the gods are sometimes less than perfect. Her humour had me bursting out-loud laughing, at times, and the mystery is intriguing. I have read all of her bird-named mysteries and love her Robin Devarra character. Pelops is just as charming and I look forward to reading more about his culinary exploits in the future. 🙂