Troy by Adèle Geras

(Cover picture courtesy of Winter Park Public Library.)

The siege of Troy has lasted almost ten years.

Inside the walled city, food is scarce and death is common.  From the heights of Mount Olympus, the Gods keep watch.

But Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is bored with the endless, dreary war, and so she turns her attention to two sisters: Marpessa, who serves as handmaiden to Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world; and Xanthe, who tends the wounded soldiers in the Blood Room.  When Eros fits an arrow to his silver-lit bow and lets it fly, neither sister will escape its power.

After reading The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough, Troy by Adèle Geras just pales in comparison.  That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book.  It just means it isn’t the best book about Troy.

Troy follows the story of Marpessa and Xanthe, two sisters trying to live their lives during the last months of the Trojan War.  They’re both three dimensional characters with interesting backgrounds and we get to see them through other characters’ perspectives, but they’re not really all that memorable.  There’s nothing that really sets them apart from other characters in fiction, so in my mind, they will always be good characters, but not great ones.  For those of you hoping to see the traditional legendary heroes of the Trojan War, you’re going to be disappointed.  Achilles, Hector and Odysseus receive practically no page time.  However, if you want to read about the lives of those who were forgotten, the lives of the background characters, Troy is perfect for you.

The plot isn’t exactly fast-paced because Troy is more of a character-driven novel, but it isn’t boring either.  Adèle Geras has certainly done her research about the Trojan War, but I wouldn’t say that there were any exceptional historical details.  Just like in The Iliad, the gods come down from Olympus and interfere with the war, but what’s really annoying is the fact that their warnings are pointless since mortals forget meeting them anyway.  What’s the point, besides to foreshadow what most people already know?  As I said before, it is a good book, not a great one.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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