Helen of Troy

  • by Margaret George
  • Narrated by Justine Eyre
  • 30 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Daughter of a god, wife of a king, prize of antiquity's bloodiest war, Helen of Troy has inspired artists for millennia. Now Margaret George, the highly acclaimed best-selling historical novelist, has turned her intelligent, perceptive eye to the myth that is Helen of Troy. Margaret George breathes new life into the great Homeric tale by having Helen narrate her own story. Through her eyes and in her voice, we experience the young Helen's discovery of her divine origin and her terrifying beauty. While hardly more than a girl, Helen married the remote Spartan king Menelaus and bore him a daughter. By the age of 20, the world's most beautiful woman was resigned to a passionless marriage until she encountered the handsome Trojan prince Paris. And once the lovers flee to Troy, war, murder, and tragedy become inevitable.

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What the Critics Say

"An absorbing retelling of the classic Trojan War myth, and a sobering look at the utter futility of trying to change one's fate." (Booklist)
"George's extraordinary storytelling abilities shine in her portrayal of Helen as both a conflicted woman who abandoned her homeland and child for true love, and as a legendary figure whose beauty and personal choices had epic consequences." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Very Different Take Than Homer

Any additional comments?

Just once I'd like to read a version of Helen where she's actually portrayed as a Spartan queen, and all that implies. While this take is more traditional in portraying her as the lovestruck tool of the gods, Helen proves she's made of sterner stuff than most versions would portray her. I was a bit put-off at first by how slowly the book starts, but the build-up is worth it as a fully three-dimensional character study of some of Homer's most enduring characters. As a romance novel, this is a solid read, but it's so much more. While it's not quite what Homer had in mind, perhaps, there is history, mythology, and warfare to be had in abundance once the story gets going. Margaret George describes the city of Troy in amazing detail, and her citizens comes to life. The mythology involved does add a different feel to Ms. George's story, so it doesn't quite feel like some of her other works. Don't let that put you off. If you like the subject and the author, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy this book.

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- Troy

The Iliad's Update

I've read The Iliad twice before and love Greek mythology very much. So Mrs. George's book was just right up my alley. It's a modern telling of The Trojan War from the perspective of Helen, the woman who the war was fought over.

I can't believe more people haven't taken this approach. Why is it that we only hear about it from the men's side? Even the movie Troy was more concerned with the men fighting it, Helen was an after thought.

The story is a bit slow in the beginning. About her childhood and living in Sparta it's slow, but important to the story. We call her Helen of Troy, but she was really from Sparta, before the Spartans got all 300-y on us. I like that she explored her family life, what it was like to have to hide her face and her early beginnings.

The telling of the actual war is what most people come to this book for and I'll say that she tells it like the war happens in a few days, not years. That part just tells itself. You'll forget it was years and years with no clear victor until the very end. Not only does she explain the battles, but what life was like in Troy. Something I've always wondered about previously.

The ending is appropriate. We tend to forget what happened to Helen and go for the story of The Odyssey, but this obviously doesn't. She has an ending. An approppriate, but sadly happy ending. Anyone who reads Greek myth knows it rarely ends happily. This is a happy medium between our happy endings and their sad ones.

Totally worth the read or listen. The narrator was perfect in my opinion. Her voice made Helen seem very alive.
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- Moragne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-27-2006
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio