Black Ships before Troy: The Story of the Iliad

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Overview

The Story of the Iliad

Homer's epic poem, The Illiad, is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. In it, the abduction of the legendary beauty, Helen of Troy, leads to a conflict in which even the gods and goddesses take sides and intervene. It is in the Trojan War that the most valiant heroes of the ancient world are pitted against one another. Here Hectore, Ajax, Achilles, and Odysseus meet their most formidable challenges and in ...

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Overview

The Story of the Iliad

Homer's epic poem, The Illiad, is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. In it, the abduction of the legendary beauty, Helen of Troy, leads to a conflict in which even the gods and goddesses take sides and intervene. It is in the Trojan War that the most valiant heroes of the ancient world are pitted against one another. Here Hectore, Ajax, Achilles, and Odysseus meet their most formidable challenges and in some casas their tragic ends.

Rosemary Sutcliff makes such extraordinary stories as those of those Trojan horse, of Aphrodite and the golden apple, and of the fearsome warrior women Amazons, accessible to contemporary young people.

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades 6-8, Stories) in Appendix B.

Retells the story of the Trojan War, from the quarrel for the golden apple, and the flight of Helen with Paris, to the destruction of Troy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sutcliff, who died last year, authored numerous retellings of canonical texts for younger readers. Here she brings into vivid focus the mythic story of the Trojan War, with all of its visually dramatic elements. While carefully tempering the bias towards the Greeks that exists in the original poem, Sutcliff's text leaves many of the epic's powerful metaphors intact: ``The dark tide of warriors poured through and became a river of flame.'' Also preserved are a good many disturbing images (``Hector's body was dragged behind them, twisting and lurching over the rough ground, his dark hair flying and fouled with dust and all the filth of the battlefield''); and while there is no doubt that this authenticity maintains the saga's integrity and enhances its impact, younger or particularly sensitive readers may be disturbed by the violence. Accompanying the dense, earnestly told tale are Lee's cool-toned watercolors, which frequently take up the greater portion of the large format double-page spreads. Dreamy, yet highly detailed and filled with representational images, these illustrations are in keeping with the story's mythic grandeur. All ages. (Oct.)
Hazel Rochman
"Achilles sat among his ships, nursing his anger as though it were a red rose in his breast." The late Rosemary Sutcliff always knew how to humanize the epic heroes without diminishing their power. Now, with the same kind of lyrical prose that distinguished her Arthurian trilogy, she takes on Homer's "Iliad". People whose names we all know--Helen, Hector, Achilles, Odysseus, etc.--are all woven into one great story, with the jealous gods taking sides in the Greeks' 10-year siege of the city of Troy. Sutcliff's strong rhythms and Lee's misty watercolors in shades of brown, blue, and silvergray make this large-size volume great for reading aloud. There are dull patches about desultory battles, funeral games, and the weary machinations of gods and people, but you can skip those and get to the dramatic confrontations. Achilles sulks in his tent, then driven mad with grief and rage at the death of his friend Patroclus, he not only kills Hector, but also drags the body through the dust and filth of the battlefield. For all the rules of honor, this is a filthy battlefield, "clotted with blood," the soldiers drunk with fire and killing. Lee's illustrations show gateways choked with soldiers and chariots, men and women bent with sorrow. The climax, the story of the Wooden Horse, is amazingly told, taut with cunning and terror.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553494839
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/13/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 67,827
  • Age range: 12 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.13 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Customer Reviews

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( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    One of those perfect combinations you come about so rarely.  Ros

    One of those perfect combinations you come about so rarely.  Rosemary Sutcliff's writing is superb - she gets the tone just right for the content.  If you're lucky enough to get the edition with illustrations by Alan Lee - you've got a book to treasure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Recommended

    A good book if you are interested in Greek Mythology. And also is a good way to read the Iliad without reading thoasands of pages. If I didn't read this for school though, with my teacher teaches us the characters, it be very difficult to understand who is who.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Beaten up copy

    My son has yet to read this book because when it arrived, it was beaten up. It looked as though it had been passed through a meat grinder. Whoever packed the box put the beaten up copy in; the book did not get messed up in transit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    Outstanding Book

    Rosemary Sutcliff's adaptation of the Iliad is unmatched, and the haunting illustrations by Alan Lee complement this powerful tale perfectly. I highly recommend this.

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    Posted December 26, 2009

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