The Minoan culture, centered on the Greek Aegean islands now known as Crete (Kephtor) and Santorini (Thera), was one of the most prosperous, artistic and powerful civilizations in the ancient world until its survival was threatened by the eruption of the volcano on Thera in the 17th century BCE. Cavanila’s Choices is about a 20-year old Minoan priestess who survives the early stages of that eruption that makes her island uninhabitable. She is assigned the task of governing Therans who are evacuated and, later, to deal with the social unrest that results when Therans, some of whom are of a different ethnic background, are brought to Kephtor, the seat of the Minoan culture.
But her successes turn her life into a never ending series of struggles. Abetted by Bardok, the commander of Minos’s navy, she gives Theran commoners a voice in their own affairs which runs counter to the traditional, theocratic rule of Minoa. This angers both her father, who is the regent and high priest of Thera, and King Minos who rules Minoa from his palace at Knossos on Kephtor. And she finds herself contending with Jenora, Minos’s, beautiful but power-hungry and murderous high priestess who sees Cavanila as a threat to her authority. To add to Cavanila’s stresses, Bardok, who was Cavanila’s strongest supporter and soul-mate, becomes her critic and a questionable ally when he is forced to choose between his loyalty to his king and his love for Cavanila.
Amid all the palace intrigue, the Theran eruption escalates into repeated, horrendous explosions. Thera is obliterated. Tsunamis devastate the north coast of Crete, decimate its population and destroy most of the food supply for survivors. Ash and pumice fill the sky and plunge the world into darkness. Panic ensues and civil unrest worsens. When massive, abject starvation sets in, the problems of Minoa fall on Cavanila’s shoulders. She is forced into a series of gut-wrenching decisions that put her self-respect, even her life, at risk, leave an indelible mark on her deepest conscience, and change her life forever.