Mary Renault

Books Gordon Wise, +44 (0) 20 7393 4420 Email Gordon Wise

The Bull from the Sea

book | Fiction | 1962
UK & Comm → Virago Press

This second instalment in the story of the legendary hero begins with Theseus' triumphant return from Crete after slaying the Minotaur.

Having freed the city of Athens from the onerous tribute demanded by the ruler of Knossos - the sacrifice of noble youths and maidens to the appetite of the Labyrinth's monster - Theseus has returned home to find his father dead and himself the new king. But his adventures have only just begun: he still must confront the Amazons, capture their queen, Hippolyta, and face the tragic results of Phaedra's jealous rage.

Piecing together the fragments of myth and using her deep understanding of the cultures reflected in these legends, Mary Renault has constructed an enthralling narrative of a time when heroes battled monsters and gods strode the earth.

Bringing Greek mythology vividly to life, The King Must Die and its sequel, The Bull from the Sea, tell the amazing adventures of Theseus, famous for slaying the Minotaur, defeating the Amazons and rescuing Persephone from the underworld.

Film Rights


Contact Joe Phillips & Jenn Lambert for more information

Kate Cooper manages the translation rights for The Bull from the Sea

Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by Alice Lutyens.

Translation Rights Sold

The Bull from the Sea

In The Odyssey and The Iliad, Homer uses the phrase “wine dark” to describe the sea, which has puzzled scholars for centuries. Perhaps Homer was colourblind, or quaffed blue wine – whatever the answer, the mystery suggests how different the Ancient Greeks’ world was from our own. Mary Renault’s genius lay in her ability to conjure that otherness in her writing about the ancient world. The Bull from the Sea (1962)  follows the warrior Theseus on his return home from his travels, whereupon he becomes king, battles, then falls in love with, an Amazonian queen, and skirmishes with the Scythians. Throughout, Renault evokes the profound strangeness of this world in which Gods and monsters are present in everyday consciousness.

David Evans

Gordon Wise
+44 (0) 20 7393 4420
Email Gordon Wise
Theatre, Film and TV
Joe Phillips & Jenn Lambert
+44 (0)20 7393 4459
Email Joe Phillips & Jenn Lambert
Translation Rights
Kate Cooper
+44 020 7393 4425
Email Kate Cooper