Euryale cover art, by Mel Odom
For some reason, while I was helping B put together her list of book recommendations today, I was suddenly reminded of a book I myself had enjoyed very much when I was a kid. The book was Euryale, by Kara Dalkey; as a teenager, I'd bought it for four bucks and had been very struck by both the story and the cover art. In a vague panic, I ran downstairs and scanned all the bookshelves to see if I could find it - wonderfully, I did; it was still in its plastic book cover from the 1980s.
It's quite an original story really - a romance, set in ancient Rome - about Euryale, one of the three Gorgons. Yep, I told you it was pretty original. I remember reading the book several times, for I've always had a soft spot for the Gorgons. You know what happened to poor Medusa of course; the movie Clash of the Titans has helped keep that legend alive in our modern times. But I was always puzzled why it was that, in the movies, Perseus is shown riding Pegasus to go slay Medusa, when the story I know from classical mythology says that Pegasus, along with Chrysaor his brother, sprang from Medusa's body when Perseus beheaded her (she had been pregnant by Poseidon at the time).
In any case, Euryale was one of Medusa's sisters. There were three Gorgons, did you know, but unlike poor Medusa, who was mortal, her sisters Euryale and Stheno were immortal. Ms Dalkey's book is a fascinating look at life from a Gorgon's point of view - I heartily recommend it if you can find a copy (it was published in 1988; I plan to relive my youth and read it again this week!).
Now the cover art - that's the picture above - is by an artist named Mel Odom. Isn't it lovely? Strange, mesmerising, otherworldly. Even as a teenager, I'd been very taken with the illustration's atmospheric, Art Deco style; the depth of the eyes; the soft, fluid lines and colours. But, being the 80s (and a kid), I couldn't learn anything about the artist or see any more of his work. There was just his name in small print on the inside of the book, and that was all I knew.
Now, more than two decades later, with all the wonders of the Internet at my fingertips, I've found Mr Odom's biography and art online - even his own website. Among other things, I've learnt that Mr Odom was the creator of the Gene Marshall doll, a gorgeous fashion doll intended primarily for adult collectors. Check them out here (I'd personally love to have Madra Lord!). You can also see - and purchase - Mr Odom's lush, dreamy work here.