Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons
Hippolyta is wandering through the forest with her sister Antiope as usual, squabbling with her fellow Amazon Molpadia and looking for game to hunt, when the message arrives. They must return to their mother Queen Otrere's side right away and, though they do not know why, they do- only to find that she has borne her second son, a child illegal in the Amazon nation. By law he must be sacrificed on the alter of Artemis, but Otrere, the gentle peace queen, cannot bring herself to do so and so enlists the help of Demonassa, a mysterious priestess, and Hippolyta.
The first time I ever saw a copy of this book was when a book discussion group I was in chose it for their next title- I did not attend that meeting as I was in no way, shape, or form interested in the book. I could not escape reading it forever, though- someone somewhere liked it enough to choose it as a Battle of the Books title and I knew that if I wanted to participate I would have to read it and so, grudgingly, I did. By the end of the first action- packed chapter I was thinking that it might not be so bad after all and could hardly bear to put it down after my mother called me for dinner a half hour later.
That was years ago, and I was delighted to find that the book was still good when I picked it up this morning- while I recommend first reading it at age ten or so, its themes are univeral and can be enjoyed at any age.