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Tag: Troy

Troy: Last War of the Heroic Age by Si Sheppard

I stumbled upon Troy: Last War of the Heroic Age (Myths and Legends) while at NetGalley looking for something else entirely.  But my interest in Greek and Roman myths pulled me in.  This seemed something I would enjoy:

TroyWhen Paris, prince of Troy, ran off with Helen, wife of the king of Sparta, it launched the greatest war of the mythic age of Greece. Heroes and gods assembled on both sides, as the combined armies of Greece launched a siege that would last for ten years. During that time, famous heroes, such as Achilles, Ajax, and Hector, would find glory on the battlefield, before being cut down by their enemies. Others, such as Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Aeneas, would survive the war, only to face even greater challenges in the aftermath. Thanks to the Iliad of Homer, and numerous other ancient sources, the story of the siege of Troy has survived for over 3,000 years. In this new book in the Myths and Legends series, Professor Si Sheppard draws together all of these ancient texts to tell the complete story of the Trojan war, from the flight of the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’ to the great wooden horse that brought the city to bloody ruin. Accompanied by both classical and modern artwork, this book is the perfect primer for those interested in the greatest war of the ancient world, and the last great conflict between the gods of Ancient Greece.

It took me a little longer to finish because I became distracted by other books but it turned out to be a handy primer on this ancient epic story.

The book has a couple of components. One is a pretty straightforward retelling of the story contained in the Iliad including pretty detailed battle scenes. Alongside this are breakouts that include artwork inspired by the story both ancient and modern.  There are also some breakouts focused on the history and archeology of the story and the region.

I thought the retelling aspect was well done. Granted I am not enough of an expert to offer much criticism but it read to me like a useful summary for students and those seeking an understanding of this classical tale without reading the source material. And it really is a classic story.

I, however, read it on my Kindle and this made it hard for me to judge the other aspects.  For whatever reason, the artwork and sidebars didn’t really format well on my Kindle (I received an ARC from NetGalley). This made it hard to judge the artwork and sidebars but also broke up the story in disorienting ways.  You would have to note where the straight narrative broke off and then pick up again when it restarted after the art or historical interlude.

The only other complaint was that at times the names and characters get a little overwhelming.  So and so killed so and so, when you really have no idea who so and so was and then forget whose side they were on.  A reference guide to names and the same for Greek gods and goddesses would have go along way.

But as a basic introduction to this foundational tale, this volume was pretty handy and one you could recommend to any one wanting just the basics.

Troy: Last War of the Heroic Age by Si Sheppard

I stumbled upon Troy: Last War of the Heroic Age (Myths and Legends) while at NetGalley looking for something else entirely.  But my interest in Greek and Roman myths pulled me in.  This seemed something I would enjoy:

TroyWhen Paris, prince of Troy, ran off with Helen, wife of the king of Sparta, it launched the greatest war of the mythic age of Greece. Heroes and gods assembled on both sides, as the combined armies of Greece launched a siege that would last for ten years. During that time, famous heroes, such as Achilles, Ajax, and Hector, would find glory on the battlefield, before being cut down by their enemies. Others, such as Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Aeneas, would survive the war, only to face even greater challenges in the aftermath. Thanks to the Iliad of Homer, and numerous other ancient sources, the story of the siege of Troy has survived for over 3,000 years. In this new book in the Myths and Legends series, Professor Si Sheppard draws together all of these ancient texts to tell the complete story of the Trojan war, from the flight of the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’ to the great wooden horse that brought the city to bloody ruin. Accompanied by both classical and modern artwork, this book is the perfect primer for those interested in the greatest war of the ancient world, and the last great conflict between the gods of Ancient Greece.

It took me a little longer to finish because I became distracted by other books but it turned out to be a handy primer on this ancient epic story.

The book has a couple of components. One is a pretty straightforward retelling of the story contained in the Iliad including pretty detailed battle scenes. Alongside this are breakouts that include artwork inspired by the story both ancient and modern.  There are also some breakouts focused on the history and archeology of the story and the region.

I thought the retelling aspect was well done. Granted I am not enough of an expert to offer much criticism but it read to me like a useful summary for students and those seeking an understanding of this classical tale without reading the source material. And it really is a classic story.

I, however, read it on my Kindle and this made it hard for me to judge the other aspects.  For whatever reason, the artwork and sidebars didn’t really format well on my Kindle (I received an ARC from NetGalley). This made it hard to judge the artwork and sidebars but also broke up the story in disorienting ways.  You would have to note where the straight narrative broke off and then pick up again when it restarted after the art or historical interlude.

The only other complaint was that at times the names and characters get a little overwhelming.  So and so killed so and so, when you really have no idea who so and so was and then forget whose side they were on.  A reference guide to names and the same for Greek gods and goddesses would have go along way.

But as a basic introduction to this foundational tale, this volume was pretty handy and one you could recommend to any one wanting just the basics.

Troy by Adèle Geras (Miriam Margolyes, narrator)

Troy by Adèle Geras is another audio-book I listened to in the car and one I enjoyed quite a bit.

Troy by Adele GerasA stunning portrait of the Trojan War as told by the women of the besieged city of Troy

The siege of Troy has lasted almost ten years. Inside the walled city, food is scarce and death is common. From the heights of Mount Olympus, the Gods keep watch. But Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is bored with the endless, dreary war. Aided by Eros’s bow, the goddess sends two sisters down a bloody path to an awful truth: In the fury of war, love strikes the deadliest blows.
Heralded by fans and critics alike, Adèle Geras breathes personality, heartbreak, and humor into this classic story.

Told from the point of view of the women of Troy, portrays the last weeks of the Trojan War, when women are sick of tending the wounded, men are tired of fighting, and bored gods and goddesses find ways to stir things up.

It really is an epic tale and Miriam Margolyes does an incredible job of bringing all the characters to life. It is listed as Young Adult (or at least was originally published by HMH Books for Young Readers)  but includes profanity, violence and sexuality so it seemed quite adult to me. [Amazon says ages 12 and up while PW says 14 and up.  Parents will have to decide for themselves what is appropriate, etc.]

Geras brings a feminist perspective to this classic story but the appeal is much broader than that. Not only does she bring the gods and myths of ancient Greece to life but she offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the people impacted by the god’s whims and decisions. As was intended I am sure, it really flips your perspective.

Listening to this book was like a theatrical production such was Margolyes talent. It would be interesting to read it and see how one’s imagination handled the same characters and interactions to life. But anyone with an interest in classical mythology or ancient history will want to check this out if they haven’t already. For more mature YA readers this would be a great introduction to both the mythology and stories of this time but to the power of epic storytelling (with the caveat that maybe some familiarity with the stories would help you see how Geras adapts and interacts with the classics). And those looking for a female perspective will, of course, find Geras take satisfying.

But outside the mythology there is plenty of wrestling with human nature, war and peace, gender roles, love and lust, power and politics, and the like. Like all good literature, it transcends time and place and offers insight into what it means to be human. Sure, in a specific time and place and with some unique characteristics but still a sense of the innate issue humans deal with no matter when or where they live.

All in all, this audio-book was great entertainment. It would make a great listen on a longer trip (10 hours on Audible) but I listened to it on my commute and didn’t feel like it was too chopped up.

 

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