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This story is a retelling of the life of mythological hero Theseus after his return from the Minoan palace of Knossos. His adventures leading up this this book are covered in the prequel, The King Must Diet. This novel follows his later quests, his friendship with Pirithous, and his liaison with Hippolyta and marriage to Phaedra.

The story begins shortly after Theseus' triumphant return from Knossos and his inheritance of the kingdom of Athens which now has become the dominate military power of the region. Now the Minoan kingdom is paying tribute to Athens instead of the other way around. If this story has any historicity it would have occurred circa 12th century BC when Minoan dominance ended.

In many ways Theseus starts out being a wise ruler deserving of the title "founding hero of Athens." However, he partakes in some notsoprudent behavior which perhaps makes the story more interesting by leading to the tragic failure required of Classical Greek drama. He finds a new friend Pirithous and with him learns the joy of going off to distant lands to be a pirate. (view spoiler)