Book Review: Troy by Adele Geras

The story of the Trojan war is famous, but this is a refreshing take on it.

The war between the Greeks and the Trojans has lasted almost ten years and the Trojans are stuck behind their walls, besieged by the Greeks who are camped out on the Plain, next to the sea.

Set at the end of the conflict, Troy tells the story of the war from the perspective of the Trojans – mainly those consider inconsequential by history – the citizens themselves.  There are the young girls Xanthe, Marpessa and Polyxena, the young boys Iason and Alastor, Polyxena’s grandfather, The Storyteller of King Priam’s court, the old women who work in the kitchens…

Of course, those mentioned in the original stories are also present, such as the beautiful Helen, the princes Hector and Paris, and Achilles, but their actions are often seen through the eyes of the people of Troy as they interact with them, although this isn’t always the case.

The gods and goddesses of the ancient world also roam the city and the battlefield, manipulating events to suit their whims.  Sometimes they are helpful and sometimes they are not.  Prophecy and myth are part of normal life; the men and women of Troy see gods and goddesses everywhere and sometimes even talk to them, although they can hardly recall what was said when they are again alone.

I loved this book.  As the events unfold, we are shown how different people react to them.  Adele Geras brings the besieged ancient city of Troy to life with vibrant detail in such a way that is both sensitive and brutal.  Love, happiness, fear, war, loss, pain and heartache are so cleverly woven together to create this must read story.  But who will have a happy ending?  And who will survive the sacking of the city?

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