The War at Troy Hardcover – 4 May 2004
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‘I found The War at Troy a triumph of retelling the ancient story of the siege and its aftermath, a readable and freshened version that keeps one turning the pages’
'an engaging retelling of the whole story, neatly blending mythic archaism with modern psychodrama and satire.'
‘I’m awed by the web you’ve spun. Not only the beautiful complexities of it but the fine texture of the threads …Full of wise things.’
From the Back Cover
"The people who lived in those days were closer to gods than we are, and great deeds and marvels were commoner then, which is why the stories we have from them are nobler and richer than our own. So that those stories should not pass from the earth, I have decided to set down everything I know of the stories of the war at Troy - of the way it began, of the way it was fought, and of the way in which it was ended."
With these words, Phemius the bard of Ithaca and friend to Odysseus, opens Lindsay Clarke's compelling new retelling of the myths and legends that grew up around the war that was fought for the Bronze Age city of Troy and have magnetized the imagination of the world ever since.
Here are the tales of two powerful generations of men and women, living out their destinies in the timeless zone where myth and history intersect and where the conflicts of the human heart are mirrored by quarrels among immortal gods. Peleus and Thetis, Paris and Helen, Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra, Achilles, Odysseus and Hector - all are given vigorous new life in a version of their stories which remains faithful to the mythic form in which they first appeared yet engages the reader in a startlingly contemporary drama of the passions.
THE WAR AT TROY speaks to a world still racked by violent conflict in ways which address important aspects of our own experience while at the same time providing imaginative access to the rich store of mythology which is our heritage from the ancient world.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Keen Reader
Not bad - but not a PATCH on David Gemmel's Troy Trilogy, which is absolutely outstanding.Published 19 months ago by Jay E.
when will amazon wake up and make this book and its sequel available for the kindle.Published 21 months ago by MR G INCLEDON
The War at Troy by Lindsay Clarke doesn't appear to know quite what it wants to be regarding divine intervention versus plausible explanation. Read morePublished on 9 July 2013 by Iset
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. Read morePublished on 9 Sept. 2009 by M. Virgo
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. Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2008 by Roman Clodia
This is a fantastic and readable retelling of the Troy story. Fleshing out all the characters and events with great detail. Read morePublished on 11 May 2008 by S. Glossop
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... Read morePublished on 6 April 2007 by Reader