adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $23.75

Buy for $23.75

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The epic of Thesus, the boy king of Eleusis, ritually preordained to die after one year of marriage to the sacred queen but who defies God's decree and claims his inheritance - the throne of Athens. This re-creation of a Greek myth is written by the author of The Last of the Wine.

©1958 Mary Renault (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"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 on this grand scale." ( New York Times)
"Takes the raw material of myth and makes it credible - I am spellbound by Miss Renault's art." ( Observer)
"Vivid and convincing...it brims with feeling." ( Sunday Times)

What listeners say about The King Must Die

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    153
  • 4 Stars
    81
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    7
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    142
  • 4 Stars
    72
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    143
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally! An unabridged old favorite

I've loved this book since I first read it 25 years ago as assigned reading for a university course. Mary Renault makes the story of Theseus so plausible. I thoroughly enjoyed the unabridged audio version.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Astounding

Any additional comments?

This is the rare book that functions as a great story regardless of how much of the background material you are familiar with. As a retelling of a classic myth, it reads as a coming-of-age story set in antiquity. But, the more familiar one is with the source material, the more astounding the book becomes. There is a ton of historical referencing done, but the genius of it is that it doesn't stand out from the story, it only serves it. The more you know about the mystery cults of Hellenic and pre-Hellenic Greece, the more fascinating the story goes. A little background reading on the Eleusinian and Bacchic/Dionysus mystery cults, as well as the Minoan culture and Palatial periods and even the volcanic eruption on Thera/Kalliste ca 1500BCE open up an entirely different perspective on Renault's talent. For me, this is the finest historical novel I've read. Kris Dyer's narration here is spot-on as well.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • =A
  • 08-22-18

ever a favorite

When i was a child my mom told me all myths have a kernel of truth behind them, and I have always wondered at the events that might have inspired the legends. This was always my favorite retelling of a myth. Now I am old enough to recognize the research she put into it I am even more impressed.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Astonishingly Good!

This is the first book I’ve listened to by Mary Renault and I’m utterly amazed! I joined Audible to listen to the current offer by Margaret George and was very disappointed by a writer I’ve loved for years. So glad I did listen to Ms George because it led me to Ms Renault. Incredible writing and the narration is flawless! I absolutely couldn’t put it down.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Extremely well written and narrated.

I wanted a little more closure at the ending, But it did make me hungry to learn much more about ancient Greece.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Hard to ignore misogyny

I love Greek myth novels and did listen to this entire thing but it’s definitely a bummer the way women are talked about and treated. The narrative voice very much treats women as unthinking and un-human in a way that feels super uncomfortable at times. At other times enjoyable fantasy!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Archeological Fiction

Enjoy this archeologically based fictional account of Theseus's adventures. Renault has done a great job crafting a plausible history from the myths.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ancient Greece Brought to Life

Just as wonderful, magical and entertaining as when I first read this 65 years ago.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

returning home

it's a pleasure to know what I enjoyed reading at 16 sounds just as good listening at 80. if you haven't met Mary Renault see that you do because she is still beautiful Rider. we have Homer only in memory she will do as a substitute a little more could he said in appreciation

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Top tier

This is worth the credit. A treasure to be sure. Godly and human in turn.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Elizabeth Gaylard
  • Elizabeth Gaylard
  • 08-09-20

A magical tale brought to life

I always loved this story, retelling the legend of Theseus. Renault is a cracking story teller. I liked the narrator too, but found the character voices he assumed annoying, affected and stereotypical - a simpler approach on the whole would have sufficed. But it was such a pleasure brought to life I will forgive him!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bijoux
  • Bijoux
  • 07-13-19

Brilliant Evocation

Such a brilliant story and recreation of Ancient Greece and the hero Theseus. The reader is good but sometimes clunky and his accents for characters are often clumsy. None the less, a wonderful listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pat G
  • Pat G
  • 03-09-19

Myth brought to life

I would recommend this book to anyone intending to visit Knossos, or anyone who has enjoyed knowing the myths and legends of ancient Greece.
Mary Renault is a scholarly writer with great imagination.
The performance of Kris Dyer enhances the text.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for nicolette king
  • nicolette king
  • 07-15-18

Vivid reconstruction of ancient times

Excellently written . I expected it to be dated as the book was written in 1958 but it reads true as all classics do. Excellent plot and reconstruction of the atmosphere and superstitions of those early times. Quite well read by a young voice as Theseus but some terrible pronunciations e.g. Feeb for Phoebe amongst some others but at least he was consistent, so I'm giving the 5 stars for the book itself and 3 for the reader. This has not put me off ordering the sequel however.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for :)
  • :)
  • 01-05-22

Mysogenistic rubbish

Gave up half way though, can't bring myself to actually care what happens to the main character.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anomalous Monist
  • Anomalous Monist
  • 08-06-21

Wonderful, thrilling book, very unsuitable reader

There must have been some reason why this and The Bull from the Sea were given to Kris Dyer to record, but it wasn’t a good one. His voice is light & high & has a tentative quality. This undercuts the emerging characterisation - Theseus is anything but plaintive & indecisive - & Dyer’s range is very limited & quite repetitive.

The book itself is marvellous. I needed an audiobook & listened. But now I’ll re-read the book, because even in the most thrilling passages, I missed so much. These books are crying out to be recorded properly.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kate Legum
  • Kate Legum
  • 05-20-21

narrated like a Famous Five story

couldn't finish narration too annoying. Theseus was not a 12 year old prefect. Could have been so much better. Disappointing.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Victoria Corby
  • Victoria Corby
  • 04-26-21

Didn't like the narrator

I couldn't get on with the narrator at all, he made Theseus sound wet. Book returned.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kilian
  • Kilian
  • 07-30-20

torture

this is the second book by this author that I have read. it was such a chore to get through it. I couldn't wait for the end.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Prospecta
  • Prospecta
  • 06-12-16

Limited by misogyny

Mary Renault was a good writer but, like so many of her generation, she was afflicted by a downer on women. Unsurprising, then, that this novel has a downer on Minoan culture. If she had been ahead of her time in that respect, her writing would have been great. She was not, and this constrains her work. Sad, and must have caused her pain in her personal life, she living as a woman and furthermore one whose only lifelong romantic relationship was with another woman.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kenneth
  • Kenneth
  • 12-28-16

Evocation of a forgotten civilisation

The world of the Minatour and the bull dancers is brought from ancient frescoes into the immediacy of our present-day imagination. A wonderful re-telling and reading of the classic legend. All honour to both author and reader.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anthony Collins
  • Anthony Collins
  • 02-15-21

disappointing

I read The Persian Boy many years ago and loved it. I found this book not to be particularly engaging. I was vaguely familiar with the Theseus story. I found the narrator to be quite off-putting, due to what seemed to me s rather light or effete and too cultured reading style. Others may disagree, but it was just not to my taste.