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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Troy" (Book Review)

Book 1
[This entry was from my old defunct blog. Not really a good reviewer but I’m trying my best.]

Books:
  • Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow (by David Gemmell)
  • Troy: Shield of Thunder (by David Gemmell)
  • Troy: Fall of Kings (by David Gemmell and Stella Gemmell)

David Gemmell wrote Troy and it is a three-book series about the greatest war of the ancient world. The book is sort of a combination of Homer’s “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”, and Virgil’s “The Aeneid” with historical references. Unlike Homer’s and Virgil’s masterpieces, the book lacked the physical presence of the Olympians and made the story more realistic and close to human level. The book centers on two important characters and at least four other characters.

The main protagonist of the story is Helikaon, but he was in fact, the Trojan hero Aeneas. The book talks about his life not as a prince but rather a successful merchant in the ancient Mediterranean. Another protagonist of the story is Andromache, and in the story, she was a priestess of the Minotaur and on her way to the Golden City of Troy as bride to the Trojan hero Hektor. What makes the story interesting is the impending love triangle. Helikaon was in love with his best friend’s (Hektor) bride, Andromache.

Book 2
Another character is the Mykene hero Argurios. He was sent by Agamemnon to spy on Troy and was one of the guest passengers of Helikaon’s giant merchant ship Xanthos. In the story, a reader would have suspected him as an assassin but he turn out to be a great hero for Troy at the end.

Another character, probably the most popular, is the Greek hero Odysseus. Unlike the Homeric Odysseus, Gemmell’s Odysseus was an old reformed merchant-king trying to distance himself from his destructive past of sacking cities. In the story, he was the mentor and father figure of Helikaon and known for his rich tale-spinning stories (some of those stories are quite familiar for those who have read Homer’s The Odyssey).

Another character is the Gyppto [Egyptian Hebrew] exile Gershom, who was forced out of his homeland after saving a slave from an impending murder. His story and identity slowly revealed throughout the book series. There are many characters to talk about such as the young Kypriot Xander, the Madman of Melitos, and the exiled Greek warriors, Kalliades and Banokles. But I don't want to spoil everything. In fact, I already said too much.

Book 3
There are many historical references as well, such as the war between the Hittite Empire and Egypt. The book revealed that Troy was a vassal kingdom of the Hittite Empire with the Trojan hero Hektor fighting for the Hittite Imperial Army throughout the first book.

The stories in the books were brilliant and all I can say about the author is that he, just like his Odysseus, was a great “Tale-Spinner”. Must-read books indeed. 

[If you ever wonder what happened to Paris and Helen. Then you got to figure that out yourself by reading the whole series.]

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