The War at Troy – Lindsay Clarke, 443 pages

November 2, 2009

The story of the sacking of Troy has been told so often you would think there would be nothing new to tell, but it all depends on from whose angle the story is told. In this book, each major character – Paris, Hector, Achilles, Priam, Menelaus, Helen and a whole cast of others – all have a chance to narrate a part of the story from their point of view. As a result, it is impossible to choose your own preferred hero or bad guy. You end up being sympathetic to them all, meaning it‘s well-nigh impossible to choose sides between Argos and Troy.

The most tender love story in this version is not Paris and Helen, but Achilles and Patroclus, his boyhood friend and ultimately his constant companion and lover. Although there is little salacious detail in this tale, the intensity of their love is very obvious, particularly when Patroclus is killed. Suprisingly, his death is the cause of Achilles’ death, and it was not on the battlefield as we have been led to believe.

The book is really a story of the long, tedious and blood-filled 10 years of the war on the plains in front of the city of Troy. I was surprised to read all the many battles, subterfuges, and individuals tales of heroism that comprised the real war of Troy. All we usually hear about is the story of The Horse, and of Achilles‘ tendon. So this story is worth the telling, and worth the reading. Like the movie Titanic, you all know the ending, but the road to the end is quite a tale, with a number of surprising twists thrown in to keep your attention.


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