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On the Seas to Troy [Paperback]

Caroline B. Cooney
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Jun 2004
In order to survive, Anaxandra pretends to be a princess. She manages to stay safe until the war between Troy and Sparta. She journeys to Troy, but is followed and is soon caught up in both the fighting and a struggle with herself over where her loyalties lie.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (4 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330415190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330415194
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,179,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the seas to Troy 29 Jan 2006
By Roslyn
i first read on the seas to Troy when i was twelve (i am now fourteen) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is now one of my very favourite books - in with the top three (Pirates!, Celia Rees, and the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jonathon Stroud). it got me really interested in ancient greek mythology and the trojan era and i think Anaxandra is a wonderful heroine. by far it is one of the best books i have read(and i have read a lot of books)Caroline cooney deserves applause for On the seas to Troy. if you enjoyed it, try "Troy" by Adele Geras - though i warn you, it is very wierd as it displays Troy, the greeks and (especially) Helen in a totally different light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun! 19 Nov 2005
I love historical fiction, especially about Troy, and although being dubious about this one I gave it a try and I liked it a lot.
Although the events which happen to Anaxandra are somewhat unbelievable it is an enjoyable book and shows Menelaus in a refreshing light, which was welcome. It packs some great adventure into a short space of time and this makes it a quick read. It's well worth it if you like historical fiction about the Trojan War era. It's an age-old tale told in a new way. Good fun!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read! 6 Sep 2004
By A Customer
"On the seas to Troy" is undeniably a well researched book. Much of its storyline is involved with the happenings of Troy and ancient Greece, all seen through the eyes of a twelve year old girl. This girl is Anaxandra, taken hostage at six years old.
Her captor, King Nicander, takes her in and treats her as one of his own, but when his island falls victim to a bloody pirate raid, Anaxandra is the only survivor. After being mistaken for Nicander's daughter, the Princess Callisto, by King Menelaus, Anaxandra asumes her identity and is taken in by Menelaus. His wife, the deadly Helen, is not happy.
The storyline is a good one and has much potential, but in some areas I think it lacks the heart that could complete the story and there are a couple of unanswered questions towards the end.
I think that this book is well worth a read. Though it does not have the "something" that normally keeps me hooked "On the seas to Troy" is an easy read. 3 stars!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. 20 Jan 2005
Anaxandra is the only daughter of the chieftain of a small, unnamed island in the Aegean Sea. When she is just six years old, she is taken as a hostage by Nicander, king of Siphnos. She ends up being companion and friend to his crippled daughter Callisto. Six years later, Siphnos is raided by pirates, and Anaxandra is the only survivor. When Menelaus, king of Sparta, stops his fleet of ships at Siphnos to investigate, Anaxandra lies to save herself. She takes on the identity of the dead princess Callisto. Menelaus takes her home with him to his palace, where she befriends his children, in particular his daughter Hermoine and his baby son Pleis. But she is also terrified by his wife Helen, who knows the truth, that Anaxandra is not Callisto. When Helen runs off with her lover, Prince Paris of Troy, and determines to bring her two younger children along, Anaxandra disguises herself and goes in Hermoine's place, to save her friend, and protect Pleis. She manages to get herself and the baby safely to Troy -- where a great war is about to begin, and they are in more danger then ever before.
I absolutely loved this book, and I highly recommend it book to young adult readers with an interest in the Trojan War, or Greek mythology in general. Anaxandra is a wonderful character, and her narrative brings the world of Ancient Greece and Troy to life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars "Truly, I Have Been Lucky In My Kings..." 2 July 2013
By R. M. Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
There are plenty of novels out there concerning Troy and the men and women whose lives were changed forever by the war fought outside its gates - so many books in fact, that it is difficult to find one that doesn't feel predictable (after all, no author can really make shocking twists and turns in a war whose outcome is already known). Like books concerning the King Arthur legends, the Trojan War as a subject for a book is rapidly becoming ho-hum.

So it is refreshing to find a book that deals with this subject which feels fresh and suspenseful. Such is Caroline B. Cooney's "On the Seas to Troy", also published as Goddess of Yesterday. Although all of the details and events surrounding the Trojan War remain relatively faithful, the author brings new personalities to well-known characters, thoughtful insights on blasphemy and the nature of gods, and a likeable young heroine that blends so easily into the events leading up to the War that one might be surprised not to find her mentioned in ancient sources!

Anaxandra is the beloved daughter of a chieftain father on a small rocky isle, taken away from her home and family as a tribute/hostage of King Nicander, who places her in his own household as a companion to his own crippled daughter Princess Callisto. Despite homesickness, Anaxandra adjusts to her new life, only to have it shattered once more by pirates who plunder Siphnos. Thanks to an ingenious disguise, Anaxandra is the sole survivor, and when the ship bearing King Menelaus pulls in to investigate, she lies to ensure her future: telling the King of Sparta that she is the Princess Callisto.

Under this new identity, she is taken to Sparta where she mingles with the family of the king: his beautiful but dangerous wife Helen, his cheerful daughter Hermione, his two elder sons, and baby Pleisthenes. It is there of course, that the inevitable happens: Prince Paris of Troy arrives in Sparta, and when Menelaus is called away to his grandfather's funeral, Paris and Helen set sail once more for Troy...taking baby Pleisthenes and Anaxandra (again under a false identity in a bid to save Hermione's life) with them.

When retelling such a well-known story, it is impossible to change the most important events in the tale, but the personalities of the people involved are always up for grabs. Cooney comes up with an interesting portrayal of Helen: a painfully beautiful demi-goddess, utterly cruel, cold, manipulating, and revelling in the blood of the soldiers who die for her sake. It's a shocking change from the usual somewhat reluctant follower of Paris, who would walk the walls in agony over the deaths below her. Hector and Andromache's characterisations I am less fond of: he's too heavy-set and gruff, and she's too frivolous and giggly. Cassandra, however is captured perfectly as the beloved-but-hysterical princess in the tower, and Cooney instigates a very clever plot-twist in the clause of her curse (that her prophecies are never believed) that took me by surprise.

There are a few plot threads left dangling - does Anaxandra meet up with Euneas again? Cassandra hints that her parents are still looking for her - so does she ever meet them again? Does she have her revenge on the pirates of the twisted fish? And any reader who knows absolutely nothing about the Trojan War will be left with absolutely no clue on what happens to any of the characters - Cooney ends the book, so to speak, just when it seems like it's beginning. An epilogue fills in these blanks, but I would have liked to hear it from Anaxandra's point of view (plus Cooney forgets to mentions that Aretha is eventually rescued by her grandsons after the sack of Troy).

But all in all, Caroline B. Cooney has written a clear, beautifully descriptive story of an engaging young woman caught up in events much larger than herself, as well as a reworking of the traditional myths, and a reasonably accurate depiction of ancient Greek life. In terms of novel in the Trojan sub-genre, this one is one of the best.
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