SPOILERS!!!!! I know I shouldn't be taking a horror novel this seriously, it's supposed to be a diverting beach read, not The Truth Revealing the Ancient Mysteries...but damn, the first two thirds was so consistent with my own life experience (not the horrible pain and recuperation part though, thank my lucky stars) that I can't help mulling over the last third and taking it on its own terms. Published in 2008, the tail end of the awakening of Eris. Eris was discovered in 2005. The zodiac rulership was completed in 2006. Up until then, there were two co-rulers, Venus and Mercury. Mercury ruled Gemini and Virgo, and Venus ruled Taurus and Libra. Now Ceres rules Virgo and Eris rules Libra. And thank goodness Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet and now co-rules Scorpio with Charon--maybe that's where the Persephone influence came in, Charon probably should have been Persephone, but what's done is done. The Egyptians had it right--the flip side of their Venus (Hathor) was Sekhmet--Eris, basically. The West didn't get Libra right--under the influence of Venus they had Libra as the fairest and most beautiful sign--harmony and balance and loveliness. And Taurus had a more earthy beauty. But now the real ruler of Libra arrives and she's pretty damn scary. She's the goddess of harmony and balance but she's basically Sekhmet. She's the enforcer of Ma'at. Also a healer. And a ferocious killer, out for blood. So far, so good. Mr. King picks up the zeitgeist, the powerful planetary energy of that time and writes his villainess as Eris/Venus, Sekhmet/Hathor and names her Persephone. The protagonist uses his newfound magical power to enforce Ma'at by killing a transgressor, and also to do a miraculous healing. And the way the book was going, I really thought that young Elizabeth had invoked Persephone, Sekhmet as protectress, and her overzealous protecting was going to lead to a bad end to the two Big Meanie sisters. And in appearance--red cloak, very beautiful as a doll (Hathor), horrible and gruesome on the boat (Sekhmet), I was expecting Persephone was going to have the Sekhmet/Hathor personality. But instead of remorseless killing machine carrying out the orders of Ra, the final flavor is a vampiric Scorpio flavor. Yet Scorpio isn't EVIIIIIIILL, just powerful and tricksy and really intense. The gods are neutral--the same astrological chart can produce a serial killer or a surgeon. I could buy the switch from Eris to Pluto, Sekhmet to Isis. And I could buy the container trick--and even there, so close to Sekhmet, who was dissuaded from her terrible slaughter by being tricked with red beer. Have the original strong spirits in that keg instead of water and it would have paralleled the old tale exactly. I guess it was the evilness of Persephone that threw me. It seemed too...human. OMG, I sound like a crazy person. I blame the book. Why am I taking this book so seriously? I guess it earned it by the quality of the writing.