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Troy - Last War of the Heroic Age (Myths and Legends 8) [Paperback]

Si Sheppard , Jose Daniel Cabrera Peña , Rocio Espin Pinar
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

20 Mar 2014 Myths and Legends
When 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. Others, such as Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Aeneas, would survive the war, only to face even greater challenges afterwards. Thanks to the Iliad of Homer, and numerous other ancient sources, the story of the siege of Troy has survived over 3,000 years. In this new book in the Myths and Legends series, Professor Si Sheppard draws together all of these ancient writings 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (20 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472801288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472801289
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.2 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Sheppard's engaging writing style brings the epic tale of the fall of mighty Troy and all its characters to life. This 80-page paperback is a concise but excellent overview of the fabled war that embroiled both immortal gods and all too mortal men."" --Toy Soldier and Model Figure"

About the Author

Si Sheppard graduated this year with a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University. He currently teaches American Government at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Firstly, this is far better than the cover seems to indicate: it looks a bit young, but actually this would be good for ages 12-16, as well as anyone else wanting a complete re-telling of all the various stories created at various times that go to make up the Trojan cycle.

Shepherd tells the stories well though the various elements are, inevitably condensed in order to fit it into about 80 pages. This starts with the wedding of Peleus and Thetis which prompts the judgement of Paris, and ends with Orestes’ killing of Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles. Homer’s Iliad is, then, merely the bit in the middle.

My one niggle is that this book gives the impression that all these myths and stories were originally somehow organic, and that they relate back to a single, ‘true’ story – an ur-text. That simply isn’t the case, and isn’t the way that myth and literature work. So this is a combined retelling of a myriad of sources stretching across 1000 years in the classical period alone including Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Virgil and Statius, to mention just a few. And what Shepherd calls ‘a curse’ in his bibliography – that all these ‘rival’ stories complicate and contest each other – is actually a testament to the way in which literature re-engages with previous stories for each new generation.

The Trojan stories continued to be re-worked at later times: Edmund Spenser, for example, writing in London in 1590, has the Trojan line intersect with the Tudor lineage so that Elizabeth I is the culmination of Priam’s line. So, in some ways, the story continues beyond the parameters of this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another good title in an impressive series 27 Mar 2014
By B. Capossere - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Troy: Last War of the Heroic Age by Si Sheppard, is the fifth or sixth book in the MYTHS AND LEGENDS series by Osprey Publishing. It does the usual good job, even if it is not quite as strong as several others.

The reason for its middle place in the rankings of these books though is really not so much Sheppard’s fault as it is a built-in conflict between Osprey’s goal of a concise retelling and exploration of these myths and the huge amount of material that makes up the story of the Trojan War. Just trying to shrink the Iliad down to 80 or so pages would be bad enough, but throwing in what happens before the Iliad picks up, what happens afterward, and all those side stories that Homer doesn’t bother with, and then, on top of all that, trying to offer up some historical and social context makes the task really all but impossible. I have to say, Sheppard gives it a valiant try, and really, he succeeds for the vast majority of the book. But it is equally true that within the recapping of events there are a lot of passages that read mostly like a list of names, as he runs through, say, just who Achilles killed in part of an afternoon:
Iphition, Hippodamas, and Demoleon, a son of Antenor, were the first casualties of his rage. His next victim was Polydorus, the youngest son of Priam, fleet of foot . . . Now the slaughter began . . . He butchered the brothers Laogonus and Dardanus as well as Tros, Mulius, and Echeclus, the son of Agenor. Then he transfixed Deucalion with his spear, before decapitating him with his sword. Frenzied, inhuman in his rage, Achilles rampaged on.

And it isn’t just Achilles that gets this listing sort of treatment; many of the heroes get their victims catalogued. As I said, it’s hard to fault Sheppard for this, but it does weaken the narrative a bit (it also made me wonder why he included so much of the catalog of ships, but to each his own . . ). I will say, however, that despite this, it is surprisingly compelling, considering how little room Sheppard has for narrative voice that doesn’t simply list the deaths and near-deaths. All the highlights are here of course—Achilles retiring to his tent, Patroclus putting on his armor, the Trojan Horse, the river rising against Achilles, the sacrifice of Iphigenia. But I was pleasantly surprised by how many smaller bits he covered that I hadn’t remembered until being reminded here, and there were even a couple of events I had either never come across or had long ago completely forgotten. And I was pleased to see he took us away now and then from the fighting, as when we see that pivotal domestic scene with Hector and his family. Considering what he had to cover and the space he was given to cover it, I have to say he does a very impressive job, not only in “covering” the content but also in lending it a narrative excitement through most of the retelling. Fair warning, he does not shy away from Homer’s and others’ relatively graphic depictions of violence.

Beyond the stories, we get a quick—very quick—look at the archaeological evidence for Troy, some sidelights into the history of Helen, a rundown as to which gods favored which side, background on the Amazons, and a few others, though I believe fewer than in prior books (though I could be wrong on that), closing with a very brief overview of the story’s presentation in more modern times and across varied media.

As usual, classic art and line drawings are plentiful, though I could only see some of them in this early-copy e-book version. The art has consistently been excellent in this series, and I can only assume that remains true here; it is in fact one of the series’ strongest points.

As I keep saying, these books make great concise overviews for people looking to learn more or great beginning steps for those looking to go further into detail afterward. And like the others, Troy would also be an excellent resource for middle school or high school students. The more I read in this series, the more impressed I become with its consistency. Recommended.

(originally appeared on
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I thought--but still a very useful volume 16 Jun 2014
By Steven A. Peterson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I ordered this, I thought that (a) this would be paperback and (b) there would be a stepping back and examination of the Trojan War (and the Iliad), and factual bases underlying this. Oops. My error. Going back and reviewing documentation, I simply misread the nature of the book. Also, this is my first experience with Kindle, and this has been highly illuminating!

This volume is a detailed summary of the Iliad, from start to finish. As such, it does a very fine job. One gets a fine summary in abbreviated fashion.

Also, there are some analyses outside of the work itself--such as a discussion on Amazons--that add to the text.

One problem with a summary such as this: the bulk of the work ends up focusing on who killed whom (The Aeneid is even worse!). Hard to keep who is who in mind without a scorecard.

Overall, though, a very well done summary of the Iliad.
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best concise retellings I've ever read 4 Jun 2014
By W. McCoy - Published on
'Troy: Last War of the Heroic Age' is one of the most concise retellings I've seen of the Trojan War. In 80 pages (inluding illustrations!) the major themes, characters and battles of the war are discussed (as well as much of the minor material as well).

It all starts with Paris running off with Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta. The city of Troy found itself besieged by the Aechaens and a huge number of forces from other states in Greece. We meet Achilles, Ajax, Hector, Odysseus, and Aeneas. Some will survive, some will be cut down. We see the capricious gods intervening to serve their own inscrutable aims. We learn the origins of the myth of Achilles heel and how it didn't become part of the myth until much later. Then there is the Trojan horse, a plan so crazy that it almost failed a couple times before succeeding.

Professor Si Sheppard has done a great job distilling this story. The illustrations are well chosen. I especially loved the bits of Greek pottery that were chosen which illustrate the heroic moments of the story. I really enjoyed this book.

I was given a review copy of this ebook by Osprey Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review the fascinating ebook.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Starter 18 Mar 2014
By LibStaff2 - Published on
4.75 Stars
This YA book is exactly what it claims to be: a history of the fall of Troy. The writing flows well and the author does a great job incorporating primary and secondary sources. The book has some great artwork included as well. A detailed synopsis of the Trojan War, recommended for young history lovers and students who need a starting point for background and research.

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