Edward McCrorie's newly published translation of Homer's Iliad was undertaken with the goal of producing a modern English version of the great poem that remains true to the style and pronunciation of the original. Homer's masterpiece of course was recorded in dactyklic hexameters (based on syllable length, not upon stress as would be the case in an English language poem), which is a downbeat meter, rather than an upbeat meter such as iambic characteristic of muct traditional English poetry. McCrorie believes that this Greek "falling" meter was well-suited for the sense of doom that overhangs the Iliad, so he chose to cast his translation into a downbeat meter (usually with five beats to the line), all the while staying a closely as practical to the sounds of the original Greek. I do not flatter myself that I have sufficent command of Homeric Greek to wholly evaluate the degree of McCrorie's success, but at the very least his translation makes full use of the original Homeric form of character names ("Akhilleus" rather than the more usual latinate "Achilles"), with the proper pronunciations detailed in an appendix.
However, it seems to me that as an English language poem McCrorie's translation falls a little short of ideal It lacks that vigorous driving energy found in the best translations of the Iliad. Perhaps word choices have been overly restricted by the translator's desire to remain close to the original Greek sounds, with the result that, however technically accurate the translation may be, there is an absence of immediate vividness to carry the poem along at a rapid pace. My first thought was that this air of flatness might have been the result of the choice of using a downbeat meter, but then I thought back to Rodney Merrill's Iliad translation several years ago, also undertaken with the view of capturing the tone of the original Greek and employing a downbeat hexameter to do so. Merrill's translation, it seems to me, succeeds better as an English language poem than McCrorie's, with a highly desirable central energy and proving to me that a downbeat meter is not inimical to a vigorous translation.
Appreciation of poetry, of course, is an extremely subjective matter. What does not fully appeal to one reader may seem a masterpiece to another. I do believe that McCrorie's Iliad translation is certainly worthwhile to read, even if it may not be the most vivid version of Homer's poem available to the English language reader. Much value is added by introductory essays by the translator and by Erwin Cook, greatly illuminating the nature of the original poem.