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.More
"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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A Very Different Take Than Homer
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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