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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TROY
A fantastic rendition of the events that took place prior to and during the war at troy. Retells the story from the view of both the Argives and the Trojans and both sides are celebrated for their bravery and courage. A marvellous book to be recommended to any reader who is eager to understand the basis of the story.
Published on 11 Jun 2004

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lifeless re-telling of the Trojan war
As a great lover of Homer, the Athenian tragedians etc I approached this with trepidation but was reassured by all the 5* reviews here - but sadly was severely disappointed. Far from 'breathing life' into this fantastic story, Clarke (in my opinion) manages to trivialise and de-humanise Homer. Where the Iliad has great heroes stride off the page in all their human,...
Published on 12 Aug 2008 by Roman Clodia


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TROY, 11 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The War at Troy (Hardcover)
A fantastic rendition of the events that took place prior to and during the war at troy. Retells the story from the view of both the Argives and the Trojans and both sides are celebrated for their bravery and courage. A marvellous book to be recommended to any reader who is eager to understand the basis of the story.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We Are All Greeks", 3 Oct 2004
By 
C. Sandie "colin_csc03" (St Andrews, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The War at Troy (Hardcover)
The only reason I bought this book was because I wanted to read the true story of Troy without resorting to the poetry and somewhat difficult language used in The Iliad (OK, it's not difficult but it's easier to read in sentences, eh?) Having been introduced to Troy through the film I was surprised of all the events that lay before Helen was taken from Sparta, and for me this was one of the best parts of the book.
Clarke uses great descriptions and language to set the surroundings and bring the reader into Ancient Greece where "they were closer to the God's" than we are. I felt totally immersed in the story and even with the massive number of names and places I never felt lost in the story, but more involved in the struggle of the war.
All in all I would say this was a fantastic read that gives a real insight into life in ancient times, as well as retelling the most famous story in the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Done with a touch of humility and in a grandiose style, 8 Feb 2011
This review is from: The War at Troy (Paperback)
When I was a child my father used to enthrall me with Bullfinch's Mythology, a book that brought together all the Greek myths (amongst others) and became my night-time reading stories. Heroes and Gods abounded, romance and war filled the childish imagination and it was a delight to hear. What Lindsay Clarke has done is tantamount to the same thing. Taken the Greek and Trojan legend of Troy and, in a more prosaic style, rewritten down Homer's epic for a modern generation.
Simple, but genius and I can't think why no one has done it before.
As such, whilst there is nothing new in the story other than to give us more detail of the protagonists heritage, it is retold with a flowing style that breathes the kind of life into these myths that Hollywood is doing with its current round of sword and sandals films.
We open with the parentage stories of the great Illiad heroes, of Peleus and Thetis, Telamon, Priam, Hesione et al before moving swiftly into the infamous Paris contest, the Golden Apple and the three vainglorious Goddesses, Athena, Hera and Aphrodite. Here, over a small contest does a cursed man (who's father Priam could not bear to see murdered on the prophecies of Cassandra) set in motion a chain of events that has resounded through history - the Trojan War.
Clarke breathes real life into the Argive Princes, Odysseus, Menelaus, Palamedes, Achilles, Patroclus, Ajax - all names that echo through history - giving the reader a palpable sense of empathy with each of them. In here we have Achilles overbearing contempt for his King, Agamemmnon, Odysseus' cunning mind, Ajax's heroic directness all of which are pitted against the Trojans. Paris, a devotee to Aphrodite is given a starring role (Hector is not - in direct contrast to the latest Brad Pitt effort) and Clarke spends much of his prose giving us a real sense of destiny and fate with his stealing of Helen and their eventual fateful despair as Troy falls and Menelaus ends up sitting at his wife's bedside. The battles are majestic and epic in their scope, the intrigue crafted with skill, the characterisation deliberate, painstakingly drawn and a credit to Homer and the story is retold in a manner that honours the craft of the original.
Lindsay Clarke has repainted The Illiad for a modern audience in a manner that is breaktaking at times, done with a touch of humilty and in a grandiose style. In taking on a new rendition of one literature's greatest texts, he has opened himself to failure against the higest standard and, whilst one cannot better the Iliad, he has not done himself and his audience a disservice in making the attempt.
Read it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Names that echo down the ages, 25 May 2008
By 
R. Nicholson-morton "Nik Morton" (Alicante, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The War at Troy (Paperback)
If ever there was a timely publication, this was it, since it was published at the same time as the major film release of TROY and in the year of the 2004 Olympics. Clarke's retelling serves to reveal in eloquent prose the characters behind these tales of two powerful generations of men and women on the cusp of history and myth.

Clarke has used the classics - The Greek Myths by Robert Graves and The Iliad by E V Rieu, among others, to retell these tales in modern prose and has succeeded brilliantly.

The characters - there's a helpful glossary of deities and mortals at the back of the book - are all drawn well and believably. You feel for them in their happy and tragic moments. Especially the time when King Agamemnon has to sacrifice his daughter to the goddess Artemis. These scenes are particularly moving as the thirteen-year-old meets her father for the first time in nine years. He must kill her to appease the gods, `for the good of all.' How hollow those words ring through history!

As we know, the gods ceased to have form once nobody believed in them any more. At the time of Troy, men not only believed in their gods, some actually met them.

Unlike the film, which had a limited time-span to tell its story, this book fills in the background to Paris, explaining how he was adopted by a woodcutter and only learned of his true birthright as King Priam's son from the interfering goddess Aphrodite. From that point on, his life is blighted. More than once afterwards, he wished he'd stayed in the countryside. We can sympathise with him and the other characters, knowing what will happen.

In fact, Helen's flight with Paris was merely the excuse that Agamemnon needed all along. What comes across here, however, is the honourable and generous nature of Helen's husband Menelaus - truly, the film did him a great disservice! His betrayal by Paris was great indeed.

But the story is more than about the love affair between Helen of Sparta and Paris of Troy. They are merely the cause. It's about heroism, stubbornness and honour. When King Priam steals into the Myrmidons' camp to claim his son's body, you feel for the anguish of the old man and even for Achilles.

The war with Troy actually raged for ten years, as prophesised. And it was in under thunderclouds and rain, not only under the blazing sun. Some of the battle scenes are gripping and gruesome and you can almost feel and smell the stink of warfare.

There's humour, irony, cunning, laughter, betrayal, tragedy and of course cruelty aplenty in these pages. Striding this stage of epic stories about Troy is Odysseus, wise, honest and clever; he was of course the originator of the wooden horse, a fine piece of writing that blends dreams and facts. Yet there are other mortal men who were looked upon as almost gods - Achilles, Ajax and Hector. Their names - and others, such as Cassandra, Penelope, Electra, Orestes and Thetis - echo down the ages. Clarke has managed to bring them alive again for a new readership who might balk at the apparent dry classics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A relevant story for our times, 29 Nov 2006
By 
M. S. Fawcett "mfcufc" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War at Troy (Hardcover)
Lindsay Clarke is a master story teller and here he demystifies the myths and legends to retell a tale in a way that feels relevant for the modern age. The detail and richness of the narrative add to story rather than detract with obscure references, which is always the worry. The story ends up as believable, gripping and well told, no mean feat for a book of over 450 pages. If you like this book then read some of his earlier works. Clarke must be one of the most under-rated writers of his generation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 6 April 2007
By 
Reader (Mordon, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The War at Troy (Hardcover)
The depth of this story is awesome, the characters and events are described vividly. The cobweb of plots and people never become confusing and despite the story being complex, the engrossing events mean the complexity is easily bareable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written., 11 May 2008
By 
S. Glossop "sgg" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War at Troy (Paperback)
This is a fantastic and readable retelling of the Troy story. Fleshing out all the characters and events with great detail. Very hard to put down as a book, and up there with Iggulden in terms of story telling!.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The war at Troy?, 9 July 2013
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The War at Troy (Paperback)
The War at Troy by Lindsay Clarke doesn't appear to know quite what it wants to be regarding divine intervention versus plausible explanation. It leaves out much of the divine intervention which is in Homer's Iliad, but then includes an extensive sequence of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and Paris' judgement of the golden apple over which goddess is the fairest - and then they never appear again. It's well-written but I'd prefer the author to choose one or the other. Either have the gods in just as they are in the myth, or leave them out entirely and create a plausible historical epic.

The book includes quite a bit of the Troy backstory, compared to most modern Troy fiction, which is nice in a way since it provides greater background and explanation to those who don't know the origins... but this means it has less time to actually tell the Iliad story, which is of course the thrilling crux of the whole tale. That kind of gave the book a slightly odd feel, since you'd think the majority of any Troy retelling would be, well, as the title of this book: the war at Troy.

I particularly enjoyed the characters of Aeneas, Menelaus, Helen and Paris, and the scenes between them flowed and held my interest, but they felt too short and like they needed more development and depth, in as much as I would have liked to have spent more page space with these characters and got to know them better. Other scenes felt sketched too thinly, and whilst intriguing, in much need of expansion. Clarke's strength is in the descriptions, the writing is fluid, and it's obvious that Clarke knows his literary source material. I would definitely say that it was an enjoyable read, but frustrating, as it could have been better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great retelling of the Trojan War, 4 Dec 2011
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War at Troy (Paperback)
I've read a lot of novels based around the story of Troy, Helen of Sparta, Odysseus, Achilles and the Homeric epic tales. Some of them have been great, some merely good. This novel falls in the extremely good category. One of the things that many novelisations of the Trojan War struggle with is the depiction of the gods; should they be depicted as `real', or as imaginary emanations? And how would a reader really take to an explanation as to exactly why Helen would, willingly or not (and which was it?), leave with Paris for a life that they must both have known was doomed from the start? These can be tricky things to portray well in a novel. The author has done an extremely good job at this; nothing jarred in the portrayal or the characterisations of the gods (flighty, haughty, capricious) or the mortals (brutal, proud, weary); the story is faithfully followed, and while it is familiar to most, if not nearly all readers, it did not pall in the telling. While the novel covers far more than Homer ever did, it is tastefully sewn in the main Homeric narrative.

The writing is light, engaging and totally readable. I would recommend this extremely enthusiastically to anyone who was interested in reading a novel about the Trojan Wars. For another perspective on the war, try Daughter of Troy by Sarah B Franklin - a marvellous tale of the Trojan War as experienced by Briseis.

The author has written a sequel, Return from Troy, which I am looking forward to immensely. This story will cover the lesser known aftermath of the Trojan War, with Agamemnon returning home, Odysseus seeking to find his way home, and the results of the War for the remaining participants and their homelands.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read, 9 Sep 2009
By 
M. Virgo (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War at Troy (Paperback)
This book is excellent. It vivadly recreated the scence in my mind and realy made me feel like i was there watching the events unfold infront of me.

It is so clever written and weaved together that it ws near irresistable and impossible to put down. A great need not just for those interested in the history of the time but also anyone wanting a good fantasy story.
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The War at Troy
The War at Troy by Lindsay Clarke (Paperback - 2 April 2010)
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