The Double Axe

By Philip Womack

Age range: 11+; Book Band Y6/P7; Dark Red B; Mastery

ISBN: 9781846883903

242 pages

RRP: £5.59

Dark forces are at work in the House of the Double Axe. Stephan, the thirteen-year-old son of King Minos of Crete, stumbles across a terrifying conspiracy. Is the Minotaur, a half man half bull who eats human flesh, real? Or is something even more dangerous threatening to engulf both the palace and the world?

Stephan must race to save his family from a terrible fate and find out what really lurks inside the labyrinth…

You think you know the story? Think again.

Philip Womack reimagines classical myths from the point of view of teenage protagonists. It’s a thrilling tale of adventure, and an opportunity for young readers to engage with and learn more about classical mythology.


  • I loved it, it’s such an imaginative retelling of the Minotaur story, gripping and utterly believable.

    Cressida Cowell

  • Womack’s fifth novel, unsettling, original and absorbing, shows him at the height of his powers

    Literary Review

  • A dark and action-packed story based on a familiar myth but with its own unique twist.

    Maia and a Little More

  • A gripping adventure

    Historical Novel Society

  • A thrilling adventure.

    Scoop School

  • Hard to imagine a more brilliant reinterpretation of Greek myth than The Double Axe.

    Anthony McGowan

  • Instantly absorbing adventure.

    Amanda Craig

  • SO good: so fierce and pacy and sharp. If you love myth you will love, love this.

    Katherine Rundell

  • This remix is both learned and exciting.

    The Financial Times

  • Very exciting … marvellous and refreshing.

    Lucy Coats, author of Atticus the Storyteller

  • Violence in the labyrinthine darkness, and the pleasures of food, family loyalty and discovering your own powers as a young man, all reforge Greek myth for the new generation in vivid prose saturated with Homer

    New Statesman, Best Children’s Books for Spring

  • Womack’s retelling is packed full of action, mystery and intrigue, as it weaves Stephan’s story into the backdrop of the legend we know today.

    Victoria Addis, A Hermit's Progress

  • A clever rummage through the myth that manages to turn it on its head and recast it in a new light

    The Telegraph, Best Children's Books of 2016

Philip Womack

Philip Womack is the author of four critically acclaimed novels for children. He reviews for Literary Review, the Guardian, the Spectator, the Times Literary Supplement and the Telegraph. He has written for many national newspapers and magazines, and appeared on radio and television. Prompted by a lifelong passion for Classics, he teaches Latin and Greek. He lives in London with his wife, the architect Tatiana von Preussen, his son and their lurcher.

Read an interview with Philip Womack here and read about the myth of the minotaur here