Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Daniela Ohms, Insel der Nyx. Die Prophezeiung der Götter (The Isle of Nyx. The Prophecy of Gods), Berlin: Planet Girl/Thienemann, 2013, 356 pp.
Crossover (children/young adults )
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Author of the Entry:
Michael Stierstorfer, University of Regensburg, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Markus Janka, University of Munich, email@example.com
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
, b. 1978
Daniela Ohms was born in 1978 in Rheda-Wiedenbrück in Germany. She was brought up on a farm, in daily contact with farm animals. She began to write as a teenager. Later she studied literature, history, and psychology in North Rhine-Westphalia but did not complete her studies. To this day, history, mythology and the human psyche are important inspirations for her books. She lives with her husband and children in Berlin. Ohms was a founding member of the label INK REBELS, a publishing platform for new and independent writers. Her novels are also published under the pseudonym “Daniela Winterfeld.” Her works focus on urban fantasy and criminal stories combines with fairy tale motifs. The 2012 Blood of the Harpy is her first novel. Since then, she wrote a two volume fantasy novel The Isle of Nyx (2013-2014).
Profile at autorenwelt.de (accessed: October 1, 2019)
Blog (accessed: October 1, 2019)
Bio prepared by Michael Stierstorfer, University of Regensburg, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
The book was published only in German and was not a bestseller.
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
Daniela Ohms: Insel der Nyx. Die Kinder der Schatten (The Isle of Nyx. The Children of Shadows) (2014)
In this fantasy novel for young adults, 13-year old Eleni, who owns the strange gift to prophesy about other people’s future in her sleep, moves with her mother, Arjana, and half-sister, Leandra, from Berlin to Crete. Arjana is an archaeologist in charge of archaeological excavations of a temple of Zeus there. Soon after their arrival at the island Zeus himself appears to Eleni at night and reveals to her that she will save many people thanks to her courage. She gets to know the mysterious local girl Philine, who lives there with her father in a small hut. Very soon both girls become close friends. Eleni learns that Philine is also gifted with supernatural powers: by means of a peaceful gift she is able to free other people from negative or hateful feelings. One day Atlantis, which in this novel is the island of death, emerges from the sea. Later Eleni turns out to be the daughter of Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Philine turns out to be the daughter of Philotes, the goddess of friendship. Then Philine is kidnapped by the bad Hesperides, servants of the goddess Nyx who rules over Atlantis and is eager to bring death to the inhabitants of Crete. With the help of the native boy Makaio, who lives at Atlantis and owns a black Pegasus with big wings, Eleni saves Philine so that they are able to leave the dangerous island, but Makaio as an inhabitant has to return to his home. The novel ends with Eleni’s sadness at being separated from Makaio, with whom she has fallen in love. This is the first novel of a duology.
The myth of Atlantis (as told in Plato’s dialogues Timaios and Critias) is combined in a typically postmodern and eclectic way with other mythical elements. The isle is no longer an utopian prehistoric setting, but a dystopian one. The novel could be compared to Fire in the Sea by Myke Barrett (see the entry), an Australian novel, that also engages with ideas about death for young readers, and similarly involves Atlantis. It is considered the island of death because Nyx rules over it and has spread her sinister power. There, the underworld is dominated by draconic tyranny under the archaic goddess Nyx, who is eager to bring death to the inhabitants of Crete. The figure of Nyx is taken from Greek mythology and in particular from Hesiod’s Theogony where she is a neutral goddess of nature with the power to cause darkness and night. In the novel, she is interpreted as a demonic figure in order to provide an evil antagonist for Eleni and Philine and create suspense and mystery. Nyx seeks the girls and sends her servants to persecute them. Also the island of Nyx, on which a jungle grows, is described as very dangerous because of the wild animals living there. This contributes to a reflection on the nature of death.
Additionally, the myth of Hercules is combined with the myth of the Hesperides, young women who look after golden apples (Ovid’s Metamorphoses, book 4 and 11) into a fantastic plot. In this adaptation, however, the Hesperides display a hybrid status between mermaids and vampires, because they have fish-tails and sharp teeth with which they bite people. In the novel, the Hesperides look more dangerous than in the ancient version of the myth.
Based on Christian tradition, Eleni is designed as a Messianic figure, who saves other people’s lives with the support of God. The Fates, who emerge at the beginning of the story, have black hoods and scull-like faces similar to the iconography of death personified. They say that Eleni will save the world from evil. Eleni’s katabasis to the island of Nyx, which is the Underworld, is a descent to hell – reminiscent of Christ - to save humanity from the danger of death. Nyx cannot kill Makaio, because Eleni saves his life. Also Nyx is not able to leave the island and capture the lives of the inhabitants of Crete after Eleni has reduced her power. Eleni’s coming of age is put into a mythical context; falling in love with Makaio makes her able to control her superpower of telling the future. There are no intimate scenes between the two young people – to make the narrative suitable for children. The author mentions Hesiod’s Theogony in the novel in order to briefly inform readers about this ancient Greek author. To sum up, the novel is a composite of several myths with Christian values in the background and makes the young readers socialized in the western civilization aware of their ancient, mythological heritage.
Hodkinson, Owen. “His Greek Materials: Philip Pullman’s Use of Classical Mythology.” In: Katarzyna Marciniak (ed.) Our Mythical Childhood: Classics and Children’s Literature Between East and West. Leiden: Brill, 2016, pp. 267-290.
Lovatt, Helen V. “East, west and finding yourself in Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries.” In: Katarzyna Marciniak (ed.) Our Mythical Childhood: Classics and Children’s Literature Between East and West. Leiden: Brill, 2016, pp. 411-427.
Lovatt, Helen V. and Owen Hodkinson, (eds.). Classical Reception and Children's Literature: Greece, Rome and Childhood Transformation. London: I. B. Tauris, 2018.
Müller, Volker. „Verjüngtes Atlantis: die Rezeption des platonischen Atlantis-Mythos in Kinder- und Jugendmedien der letzten 40 Jahre“. Markus Janka/Michael Stierstorfer (eds.). Verjüngte Antike. Griechisch-römische Mythologie und Historie in zeitgenössischen Kinder- und Jugendmedien, (Studien zur europäischen Kinder- und Jugendliteratur, 5), pp. 265-286. Heidelberg: Winter, 2017.
Stierstorfer, Michael. Antike Mythologie in der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur der Gegenwart. Unsterbliche Götter- und Heldengeschichten? [Ancient Mythology in Contemporary Children’s Literature. Immortal Stories of Gods and Heroes?]. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017, 365 pp.