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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mythological Feast
The author Margaret George has a stable of first class historical novels behind her, among them The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra and Mary, Called Magdalene. She lives primarily in America, where she was born, but travels all over the world researching her novels.

Helen of Troy is one of the most...
Published on 23 Mar. 2007 by J. Chippindale

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A rather disappointing tale of the Trojan War
I like to think that I'm a fast reader. Generally the speed at which I read a book - assuming I have the time - reflects how much I'm enjoying it. And although I did enjoy this book, it was SUCH a slow read. I have no idea why, but it just seemed to drag, even though the content was interesting. I love the Iliad and the whole story of the Trojan War, but this book didn't...
Published on 25 Sept. 2012 by Izzy P.


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mythological Feast, 23 Mar. 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
The author Margaret George has a stable of first class historical novels behind her, among them The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra and Mary, Called Magdalene. She lives primarily in America, where she was born, but travels all over the world researching her novels.

Helen of Troy is one of the most famous mythological characters of all time. What sort of woman could cause a war that lasted for 10 years? She was a woman of untold beauty, who as a child was not even allowed to look at her own reflection, her beauty was so overwhelming. She was protected from her own unique beauty until she was of a marriageable age. Said to be the daughter of the god Zeus, she had many suitors but accepted the hand of the Spartan king Menelaus and settled down to a life of domesticity and apparent contentment bearing Menelaus a daughter.

It is at the age of 24 when she catches sight of the Trojan Prince, Paris that she realises that there is no passion in her marriage. Soon the two are lovers and eventually elope to Troy in the dead of night. An elopement that started a conflict that was to last 10 years and take the lives of some of the greatest heroes of the time. No one in Sparta could believe that Helen had gone with Paris of her own free will and plans were made to sail and lay siege to Troy until Helen was released

Margaret George brings to life the heroic and not so heroic deeds of the Trojan war. All the characters are there Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon and of course Helen and Paris. The author brings to life the sights, sounds and conflicts of the war and the pain and suffering of the men who fought in it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master piece of ancient greek history, 22 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
If you don't like the non-fiction books on the archaeology of Troy and prefer a story to help you read between the lines, this is the 1 to go for. The book covers the whole of Helen's life from the day she is born right up until she passes away. It is beautifully told from the point of view of Helen. The books covers the whole of the Trojan war unlike the Illiad. It touched my heart and is the best to go for if you are just starting this genre. 3 cheers for Margaret George!!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, 17 Jan. 2007
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This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
I loved this book,I couldn't stop reading it and found myself turning off the tv to read instead - very unusual nowadays! It was interesting to read the legend of Helen from her point of view, I found I liked her despite her obvious failings and had sympathy for her plight. Not sure some of the other characters are as well padded out but enough for me to enjoy the book. I'm going to pick up another of her books right now!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!! A must read for those interesed in historical stories!, 1 Sept. 2007
By 
L. Gledhill "Lucy" (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
I bought this book never having read any of her work before but having an interest in this time in history i thought i would give it a go! I was not disappointed!!

Although i felt the beginning took a little bit to get into the overall read was brilliant, i could not put it down... much to my boyfriends annoyance!! I thought the characters were well described and it was nice to actually read a book that matches with most of the historical belief.

I truely recommend this book to you!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richly woven epic tale of Helen of Troy, 11 Jan. 2012
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
In Helen of Troy, George loses none of her deft story-telling touch. Reading this book, one can feel almost as something palpable that this story is truly woven - a rich tale of many complex strands woven expertly together by George's pen. There's something gloriously gluttonous about curling up with a book like that and a mug of hot chocolate of a cold winter's evening and losing yourself for hours. Mind you, I read Helen of Troy whilst ensconced in the all-pervading heat and light of Crete in summer, and maybe it was the Hellenistic location, but I felt transported in such a way that it seemed almost strange.

One thing that George does so well is in imagining past places and people and rendering them so thoroughly and completely on the page. Her stories are always so rich and detailed, and she's an expert at filling in the gaps in history with compelling and yet believable material. Helen of Troy really feels like a sweeping epic too, maybe partly due to the tales' extensive history and place in the western consciousness, but a great deal of credit must go to Margaret George's skill as an author. Although Helen is, as far as we currently know, a figure of myth, I was stunned at how George managed to incorporate almost every aspect of the legends involving Helen - even those seemingly contradictory tales - and took care to render the details of the Bronze Age setting.

I was particularly interested to see how George would handle the mythical elements of the legend, since I prefer my retellings of legends to either go whole hog with the fantasy or try to create a completely plausible historical version. George largely treats the tale in an historical manner, apart from the appearances of Aphrodite and the water nymph. I was slightly disappointed at this because she handles the other potentially mythical material in such a clever way, turning it into something historically plausible, could she not have done the same for Aphrodite and the water nymph? This book would have been truly fantastic to read as a complete historical epic.

For the most part I loved the characters. Helen felt thoroughly fleshed out and very real, as did Paris, though he is not quite as fleshed out - but this adds to our sense of confusion alongside Helen when the couple experience the distress of unknowable rifts between them. Many of the characters felt so authentic, but they appear so infrequently in the story that I was a little disappointed and rather wanted to know more, characters such as Helen's siblings, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Achilles, Odysseus, Priam and Hecuba and their other children and so forth. The character of Gelanor was interesting, but at times felt a bit too engineered - and indeed he is an author-invented character.

A richly detailed, meticulous portrait of Helen of Troy set in a sweeping epic tale. For me, only let down by a few odd characters moments and the odd random inclusion of a couple of mythical elements when the rest of the story tries to be historical, but well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mythological Feast, 23 Mar. 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
The author Margaret George has a stable of first class historical novels behind her, among them The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra and Mary, Called Magdalene. She lives primarily in America, where she was born, but travels all over the world researching her novels.

Helen of Troy is one of the most famous mythological characters of all time. What sort of woman could cause a war that lasted for 10 years? She was a woman of untold beauty, who as a child was not even allowed to look at her own reflection, her beauty was so overwhelming. She was protected from her own unique beauty until she was of a marriageable age. Said to be the daughter of the god Zeus, she had many suitors but accepted the hand of the Spartan king Menelaus and settled down to a life of domesticity and apparent contentment bearing Menelaus a daughter.

It is at the age of 24 when she catches sight of the Trojan Prince, Paris that she realises that there is no passion in her marriage. Soon the two are lovers and eventually elope to Troy in the dead of night. An elopement that started a conflict that was to last 10 years and take the lives of some of the greatest heroes of the time. No one in Sparta could believe that Helen had gone with Paris of her own free will and plans were made to sail and lay siege to Troy until Helen was released

Margaret George brings to life the heroic and not so heroic deeds of the Trojan war. All the characters are there Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon and of course Helen and Paris. The author brings to life the sights, sounds and conflicts of the war and the pain and suffering of the men who fought in it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A woman's account of her 'legend' that is Helen of troy, 7 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
Why anyone would choose to watch the film 'Troy' instead of reading this novel is beyond my understanding. You can not get the detail, understanding or even the few 'truths' we have been able to establish from a film which books, when written by a gifted author, can provide.

While Margaret george does embellish on the religious aspect (God's, Dieties, nymphs, sprites etc) she does include and stays true to historical accounts and provides you with as a true account as you could want or expect to know about what really happened in Troy, that we can assume to the best of our abilities.
I found the book informative, educational and abolishes some of the more popular 'myths' surrounding the famous charachters and the events that took place with either historical evidence or an informed and educated opinion which I value much more.
It has a fine balance between fantasy and fact which would enable most people to enjoy it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historic novels, romance novels and trajedies. It is suitable for children as well as adults and is a great follow up to anyone not quite satisfied with what hollywood and brad pit unfortunatly had to 'leave out.'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special, 14 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
I have to say I am an avid reader of all different books, but this is the one that has stayed with me for years after I read it. I couldn't put it down, Margaret George has such an amazing insight into the thoughts and feelings of the girl behind the name. well researched and written, it is one of very few books that when I finished it, I actually felt sad as i missed the characters so much. You will carry it with you even after its finished. The one book I would always recommend!
Beautiful!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Book, 23 April 2010
By 
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
This book is amazing! Captivating right from the start, the story is given from Helen's point of view throughout. A potential reader should know that this book is mostly fiction...that is unless they don't realise from the start! So this is not a book to work some facts from. For instance some historians claim that due to her marriage never properly being annulled, Helen was only ever Helen of Sparta.

This book also paints Helen in a very positive light, a love story that will make it impossible for the reader not to like her or side with her, despite the fact this love story is Aphrodite having some fun and Helen ditches the adoring Menelaus for the feminine Paris.

Definately worth reading! Those who do wont be disappointed!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A rather disappointing tale of the Trojan War, 25 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Helen of Troy: A Novel (Paperback)
I like to think that I'm a fast reader. Generally the speed at which I read a book - assuming I have the time - reflects how much I'm enjoying it. And although I did enjoy this book, it was SUCH a slow read. I have no idea why, but it just seemed to drag, even though the content was interesting. I love the Iliad and the whole story of the Trojan War, but this book didn't grip me as much as I thought it would.
The pacing of the book was slow and the passage of time was very unclear for the majority of it. Timing also seemed rather erratic - the chapters in Sparta before Helen met Paris took forever, whereas the actual events at Troy - that were supposed to last ten years - just rushed by. I was unsure for most of the book how much time had passed. For example, Achilles and his son confused me - I got the impression that when the war began, Achilles was 16 or 17, of a similar age to Paris. He dies in the ninth year of the war, I believe, before the arrival of Philoctetes which ultimately leads to the downfall of Troy, fulfilling one of the final prophecies. This would make him 25 or 26 when he died, yet he has a 15 year old son? I know these events are recorded in many ancient texts and sources, and it is not something of George's invention, but more clarification on the timeframe would make things easier to follow.
Helen was quite a dull narrator too. I liked the way George managed to actually get the battles into the story, even though Helen couldn't actually see them, it meant that there was actually some action rather than just narrative. I didn't really feel anything for her though, and Paris just irritated me - so naive and selfish, although I suppose that is generally how he is always represented. The character with the most depth was actually Menelaus, since we saw several sides of his character.
I have no idea why it took me so long to read. If you're interested in Troy, I would recommend it though.

Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads [...]
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Helen of Troy: A Novel by Margaret George (Hardcover - 4 Aug. 2006)
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