Press Release: The King Must Die

The King Must Die

Mary Renault

Introduced by Robert Lane Fox
Illustrated by Geoff Grandfield

‘One of the truly fine historical novels of modern times. Not since Robert Graves’s I, Claudius has there been such an exciting living image of the ancient world’

the new york times


The Folio Society is delighted to present a new addition to its Mary Renault series. Renault’s spellbinding novel combines historical research and mythology to form an unforgettable portrait of the legendary founderhero. A huge success on publication in 1958, it has given us our strongest images of Theseus and the labyrinthine Palace of Knossos, whose ruins can be seen on Crete today.

As a child Theseus suffers taunts when he claims his father is Poseidon, the fearsome, earth-shaking god of the sea. At 17 he discovers the truth: he is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and his sole heir. Determined to fulfil his destiny, Theseus undertakes the perilous journey to his father’s palace, fighting off bloodthirsty bandits and finding himself crowned king in the Earthling town of Eleusis – a title that comes with a grisly price. Finally reaching Athens, he finds the people in thrall to King Minos of Crete and the terrible monster he feeds with human tributes. It is Theseus, aided by an enamoured Princess Ariadne, who will slay the Minotaur and set the people free …

Geoff Grandfield, whose award-winning illustrations brought the Folio edition of Mary Renault’s The Alexander Trilogy to life, has created a series of equally striking illustrations for The King Must Die. Esteemed historian Robin Lane Fox – author of The Classical World and Pagans and Christians – has written a new introduction. He praises Renault’s ‘wonderfully imaginative restorations’, her extensive research among classical and modern authors, and her addition of ‘depth and complexity’ to her ancient sources.

The sequel to this novel, The Bull from the Sea, will be published as a Folio edition in 2017.

Product information
Quarter-bound in buckram with Modigliani paper sides, printed with a design by the artist. Set in Haarlemmer. 384 pages. 8 full-page colour illustrations. 9½” x 6¼”. Blocked slipcase.

UK £34.95 US $57.95 Can $72.95 Aus $72.95


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UK & ROW Nicola Handley, Cherish PR
020 8735 4245,

US & Canada
Cathleen P. Williamson (617) 435-5505,