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Posted July 14, 2006
Powerful retelling of a timeless legend with a fresh twist
Kristina O'Donnelly takes the immortal tale of Troy ¿ gods, heroes, and battles, but gives us the woman's take. I found her treatment of Andromache, one of the most beloved heroines of Antiquity, enthralling as well as enlightening. In Andromakhe, spotlighted are the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of strong women (from Andromache to Cassandra, Hecuba, Chryseis, Briseis, and Lanassa), strong women who are targeted and victimized by violence, yet survive and ultimately rise above it. Indeed, O'Donnelly has done a great job taking the violent male-centered story of The Iliad and bringing it a female perspective. In the Iliad, the Olympian gods were closely involved with the affairs of the warring parties, and the original Homeric tale, is of Gods and Men, and of how they manipulate each other for their respective agendas. For three-thousand years, Hector and Andromache of the Iliad have symbolized the archetypical loving and loyal husband and wife. Most novels about the Trojan War end with the Fall of Troy. But here, as we dwell in Andromakhe¿s life, we have an account that encompasses the main as well as pre and post-Iliad years. Love, hate, greed, war, intrigue, heroes and villains combine with authenticated geography/history, offering an intimate view into the Bronze Age. We meet her at age thirteen, as a Princess in Mysian Thebe, and follow her life from marriage to Hector, Prince of Troia, through the siege of Troia by the Achaians ¿ modern day Greeks ¿ and Troy¿s destruction. But Fates have declared that she must survive and triumph over more heartbreak and tragedy. After Troia¿s fall, she is tossed to Epirus¿modern day Albania¿as a captive, where Hermione, daughter of King Menelos, tries to murder her, then back to Teuthrania, near Mysia, where she rises as the Patroness of the Kingdom of Pergamos¿modern day Bergama, in Turkey. Haunted by flashes of a previous life in a land called Shardana, she has a mysterious bond with Alexis (Paris) Prince of Troy. Admired by the legendary Memnon, King of Ethiopia, who comes to Troia¿s aid after Hektor¿s death, to win her as prize, to Pyrrhos Neoptolemus, son of Akhilles, who enslaves her and loves and hates her at the same time, to Hektor¿s brother Helenos, a warrior, seer, a priest of Apollo, and King, men battle gods and fates to win Hektor¿s widow, whose heart remains faithful to him even beyond his death.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.