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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Odysseus: The Oath
I've read a few of this author's books before, and I'm not sure if it's his style of writing, or the translations, but they always read as being in quite `simple' language, if I can put it like that - uncomplicated, easy narratives of historical or mythical times, places and people. They're jolly good reads without being demanding.

This story is the first part...
Published 8 months ago by Keen Reader

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, but very readable
As a self confessed lover of all things from the classical world, I had high hopes for this novel by one of the world's leading classical civilisation professors. At college myself, I studied The Odyssey and fell in love with the Homeric world; of a man returning home from a long war and along the way felling mighty beasts, tackling the waves as well as surviving the...
Published 6 months ago by Dan Thompson


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Odysseus: The Oath, 12 Nov 2013
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Odysseus: The Oath: Book One (Hardcover)
I've read a few of this author's books before, and I'm not sure if it's his style of writing, or the translations, but they always read as being in quite `simple' language, if I can put it like that - uncomplicated, easy narratives of historical or mythical times, places and people. They're jolly good reads without being demanding.

This story is the first part (of I think, two) which tells the story of Odysseus - most people would know of Odysseus from the history of the Trojan War - the Wooden horse, the trickery of Odysseus, his long journey home after the War. This book starts from the childhood of Odysseus and gives us a taste of his early life as son of Laertes of Ithaca. It's not until quite a way into the book that Troy finds its way into the story, when Menelaus of Sparta arrives with news of Helen.

All the familiar names are here - Hercules, Jason, Antenor, Priam, Aeneas, Diomedes, Nestor, Antilochus, Ajax, Agamemnon, Achilles, Menelaus, Hector, Odysseus and of course Helen. This is an epic tale told many times before, but the author has offered a very fresh way of viewing these familiar stories. I really enjoyed the way the author has entwined myths and legends of Greek history into the story of Odysseus, and it's all done in a way that offers a very united and flowing narrative. The language of this book is, as the author acknowledges himself in an Author's note at the end, a deliberate attempt to offer a taste of the simple syntax and rhythmic writing offered by Homer and it takes the tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and the Aenead of Virgil, and puts the story into a flowing, flawless narrative for a modern audience. The Heroes, the Gods, the brutality of ancient warfare; it's all brought to vivid life here.

This is a really good novel; a great epic tale brought to new life by an accomplished author. Definitely recommended, and I look forward to the sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars odysseus the oath, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Odysseus: The Oath: Book One (Hardcover)
once again this man has wrote an other great book, once started i found i could not put it down,i really enjoy manfredi;s novels
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fills in the gaps., 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Odysseus: The Oath: Book One (Hardcover)
For those that have read the Iliad and Odyssey, this book fills in the gaps about the early life of Odysseus in the usual enthralling style of Manfredi. It is not always clear in Manfredi's books, what is fact and what is fiction but it is possible to enjoy the story, safe in the knowledge that what fiction there is, is based on a thorough understanding of the history of the times in which his books are set.

Events move at a pace until the book catches up with the Iliad and then the story line starts to drag slightly as it tows along the events of the siege of Troy. The book again fills in the gap left between the Iliad and Odyssey when it describes the story of the wooden horse and the fall of Troy, most of this appearing to be based the story as it appears in Greek plays. Again this section of the story flows at the usual pace of Manfredi's books.

I really like this book and enjoyed the creation of a flawed hero figure to describe Odysseus, a feature not as apparent in Homer.

I would have given this book five stars except for the slowing of the pace were the book goes over ground covered in the Iliad.

I am looking forward to the second volume about Odysseus's later life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, but very readable, 14 Jan 2014
This review is from: Odysseus: The Oath: Book One (Hardcover)
As a self confessed lover of all things from the classical world, I had high hopes for this novel by one of the world's leading classical civilisation professors. At college myself, I studied The Odyssey and fell in love with the Homeric world; of a man returning home from a long war and along the way felling mighty beasts, tackling the waves as well as surviving the meddlesome ways of the gods. Hearing that Manfredi, author of the Alexander trilogy which I loved, planned to tackle another retelling of Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, but in first person, I was intrigued to say the least.

Odysseus: The Oath is the first in a two parter by Manfredi and pretty much covers the first half of the protagonist's life. From childhood to his part in the Trojan war, the books reveals some of the more mysterious sides of Greek storytelling as well as bringing to life many of the characters that helped shaped Odysseus as a man, a husband, a warrior and importantly, the brains behind the Trojan Horse invention that ultimately won the war for the Greeks.

If you're a fan of the ancient Greek world, then you're bound to know the story of Troy, and of Odysseus in fact. But the story of his childhood may perhaps of slipped you by, which is why I was so interested in Manfredi's version of events. Odysseus as a whole is an interesting character, one that is written with a lot of respect, knowledge and understanding. As the reader, you can't help but feel inspired by the Greek prince, feel warm towards him. His morals are usually always benign and right for our own society, especially when compared to the many other plethora of Greek heroes and kings that are traditional, sexist and blood thirsty. The way in which Odysseus looks up to his father, Laertes as well as his mysterious grandfather, Autoloykos too is intriguing and makes a great read. The particular tale of hunting the boar is one of my favourite parts of the book.

Of course the book wouldn't be complete without the introduction of well known character, both from the Greek myths as well as the Odyssey. Odysseus's first meeting with his wife-to-be Penelope, Helen of Sparta (who the Trojan war is fought over), even Hercules gets a few mentions. In fact, I would go as far to say as the brief part where Odysseus learns the truth behind Hercules's path to redemption was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the book. Manfredi has done a fabulous job at turning a well known myth on its head, rewriting it and reinventing it both at the same time, to a wonderful result in the end. Its poetic license is endearing as well as tragic. For Odysseus looks up to these warrior heroes; men like Hercules, Jason and Achilles, all who have tragic declines. Which I suppose makes Odysseus's determination to become a man of brains more than brawn more admiring.

Both knowledgeable readers as well as people who have seen the film Troy, people will know that the Trojan war is fought because of Helen of Sparta's betrayal of her husband and her re-alliance with Troy, through the young prince Paris. Yet, Manfredi through Odysseus questions the motives of many of the war's legendary people and tries to see ulterior motives, because surely, a whole war that lasts a decade is not over one woman?

I think some readers who may not used to some of the bloodthirsty ways of that period may find some of the descriptions of decapitation, the raping of women, as well as how a woman can be kidnapped as a slave one minute and then fall in love with their master another, a little graphic, horrific and unplausible at times.

But I'm afraid it has to be said that although there were many parts I enjoyed, there were also many parts I found a little off-putting. I actually found the majority of the book disjointed and didn't flow very well. Especially the first half of the book, which seemed to pass by in years, but all in the space of a paragraph. This led it to be confusing at times, where I had to go back and reread bits to see if I accidentally skipped a page by mistake. Of course, you were always waiting for the bit where Manfredi gets to the Trojan war part, but when we get there, it becomes quite repetitive, action wise, with often reoccuring moments of the same thing over and over again.

In fact, if I'm honest, I found many parts of this book repetitive, just with different wording. I'm not sure if some of it may be down to problems in translation (which I'm led to believe is done by Manfredi's wife). I remember the Odyssey being quite descriptive in parts, but in Manfredi's author note at the end of the book, he explains that he tried to keep description down to a minimum to reflect the way in which Homer wrote the Odyssey. And you can tell. Odysseus is a clever and observant man, yet the lack of details sometimes, written in his first person perspective, is a little dull. Yet he so wonderfully gets into the mind of the man by having him continually questions every action and reaction. It's an odd style of writing.

There is obviously more to come in the second and last part entitled Odysseus: The Return which I believe is due for release in the English language in the latter hald of 2014. I found this however to be a little underwhelming, yet very readable. I don't think it would appeal to readers who aren't already a fan of the Greek myths, or indeed a introductory into the stories of the Classical world. The story is ultimately about the man who becomes a legend, and in all intents and purposes, Odysseus is a well told, well written protagonist. A man who is intelligent yet fair, ruthless with his ideas yet gentle and upholding. I'm afraid it's the way in which the story is told that holds it back from being up there with some of his other stories. It doesn't gel together well with a timeline that seems to go at an erratic and unpredictable speed. It'll be interesting to see where Manfredi goes next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Troy & everything else as I certainly didn't know it, 24 Jun 2014
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Excellently written story telling a tale that everyone seems to know but this story filled in the gaps and made it so beleivable
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manfredi, 5 May 2014
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I really like Manfredi as he really knows his characters of the Ancient world and he is a first class story teller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unputdownable adventure!, 8 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Odysseus: The Oath: Book One (Hardcover)
Well written and researched, a gripping read that paints an interesting and informative picture of the protagonists of the Illid and life in their times.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book not a movie, 10 Nov 2013
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Very much enjoyed the book. Difficult to not compare this with the movie "Troy" but the pace was good together with a balance between fact and fiction. Sets the scene for future adventures.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 9 Nov 2013
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I have read all of his other books and this is one of his best. I can't wait for the next one
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have not yet read this, 3 April 2014
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I own all this author's books (others purchased pre-kindle)
All, without exception, have been brilliant - looking forward to this latest one.
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Odysseus: The Oath: Book One
Odysseus: The Oath: Book One by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (Hardcover - 10 Oct 2013)
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