Michael Ayrton (1921-1975) was an English artist and writer. His bronze sculptures of Icarus stand outside the Smithsonian Institution Space Museum in Washington, DC, and St Paul's Cathedral in London. He is the author of The Testament of Daedalus, Fabrications, and The Midas Consequence, among other books.
"Extraordinary, both profoundly and poignantly ruminative. The
Maze Maker is a parable about the nobility available to man
during his few 'insect minutes' in the amazing macrocosm. . . . It
makes a great deal of contemporary British fiction look banal and
trivial."--M. I. Finley "Washington Post Book World"
"In the primitive classification system through which children are introduced to libraries, Ayrton's The Maze Maker has to be catalogued under Fiction. It tells a story, rich with incident and description and dialogue; it portrays characters who can be described and judged; it is poetic and exciting, imaginative and sometimes didactic. English critics have already praised it highly as a novel, rightly so. A historical novel. Yet it is patently not a historical novel like those, say, of Mary Renault, with which one might be tempted to draw comparisons. It is even less the work of a fabulist. In a strict sense The Maze Maker is a long myth, the original creation of a myth-maker who employs the raw material of old myths to fashion a new one, as Daedalus fashioned his great works out of already available raw materials. . . . The Maze Maker can . . . be read straight, as a beautifully evocative, much extended, re-telling of some of the finest of the old Greek myths. But what a pity that would be. The mythical past still has an important role, and this new myth is as 'true' in our time as the old versions were in theirs."--M. I. Finley "New York Review of Books"
"One of my guilty pleasures is wandering through the 'literature' section of bookstores, opening and closing books, in search of fantasy and science fiction. There's more of it to be found than you'd expect. . . . The Maze Maker sets out to be one of those novels where a mythic figure--here, Daedalus, creator of both the labyrinth and the wings that doomed his son Icarus--is rationalized as a historic figure, and it does include a great deal of fascinating Bronze Age smithery. But while the plot satisfies our expectations, its inherent weirdness keeps bursting out. . . . Ayrton was a sculptor who once created a golden honeycomb for the estate of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to reach the summit of Everest. Bees filled the sculpture with honey and larvae. The Maze Maker is the novel such a man would write."--Michael Swanwick "Tor.com"