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For the Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Trojan War

For the Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Trojan War

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by Emily Hauser

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The hidden tale of the Trojan War: a novel full of passion and revenge, bravery and sacrifice, now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story.
Three thousand years ago a war took place where legends were born: Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. Both men were made and destroyed by the war that shook the


The hidden tale of the Trojan War: a novel full of passion and revenge, bravery and sacrifice, now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story.
Three thousand years ago a war took place where legends were born: Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. Both men were made and destroyed by the war that shook the foundations of the ancient world.
But what if there was more to the tale of these heroes than we know? How would the Trojan War have looked as seen through the eyes of its women? Krisayis, the ambitious, determined daughter of the High Priest of Troy, and Briseis, loyal and passionate princess of Pedasus, interweave their tales alongside Homer’s classic story of the rage of Achilles and the gods of Olympus. What follows is a breathtaking tale of love and revenge, destiny and the determination, as these two brave women, the heroes of the Trojan War, and the gods themselves come face to face in an epic battle that will decide the fate of Troy.
A glorious debut full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of history's greatest legends.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Instead of focusing exclusively on the kings, princes, and gods who usually take the spotlight in Greek myth and history, Hauser turns the reader’s attention to the women driving the story behind the scenes in this consuming debut novel, the first installment of the Golden Apple Trilogy. Newly married princess Briseis and reluctant priestess-to-be Krisayis are trying to navigate life and love in a society that gives them little agency when they find themselves in the midst of bloody battles, political prophesies, and treacherous gods after the onset of the Trojan War. In addition to the meddling gods who toy with their fortunes from the clouds, the formidable heroines must deal with both sides of the epic clash of kingdoms after being captured by—and eventually escaping—the Greek hero Achilles. Hauser’s diverting take on this timeless tale delivers romance, action, and intrigue, with a certain emphasis on the romance. At times the prose explodes with floral extravagance, and the descriptions go to great lengths to ensure the reader knows how beautiful all the women are. But Hauser saves the day with well-paced plotting and engrossing character arcs. Briseis and Krisayis may not be (almost) invulnerable like Achilles, or as powerful as Zeus, but their bravery is more than enough for a fun and absorbing read. (Jan.)
Historical Novels Review
“A fascinating picture of life in Bronze-Age Troy, from the point of view of women at both the top and bottom of society. The author’s knowledge of, and respect for, the period shines through. Read it twice. You won’t regret it.”
“In the vein of authors like Marion Zimmer Bradley and Ursula K. Le Guin, For the Most Beautiful gives this well-worn tale new life.”
Manda Scott
“Once in a while something comes along that’s so utterly right, that you wonder why nobody thought of it before. Hauser’s stunning debut novel brings ancient Troy wildly, raucously, passionately alive.”
Elizabeth Fremantle
“A delight from start to finish. A clever premise and thoroughly enjoyable.”
Terence Hawkins
“A brilliant reimagining of the Iliad, faithful to the original yet completely accessible. A lively new take on a classic.”
Library Journal
★ 11/15/2016
Making her fiction debut, Hauser has written a fresh reinterpretation of the story of the Trojan War and the fall of Troy. Alternating among the perspectives of the Trojans, the Greeks, and the gods, Hauser follows the events leading up to the climactic destruction of one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Although she gives a nod to the familiar heroes of Homer's epic Illiad, the author concentrates on the lesser-known Trojan women caught up in the conflict—Krisayis, the 15-year-old daughter of the high priest, who is dedicated to a life of service to the gods but in love with Prince Troilus, and doomed Briseis, princess of Pedasus. Other elements found in the classic tale—ferocious battles, behind-the-throne machinations, seduction, love, and loss—are also here. Hauser's characters are brave, willful, sometimes foolish, impulsive, and utterly relatable, and her portrayal of the manipulative, capricious gods is particularly wonderful. VERDICT Extensively researched and based on many of the minor characters of Homer's great work, this quick-paced, enthralling retelling will attract readers who loved Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK

Product Details

Pegasus Books
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6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

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Meet the Author

Emily Hauser studied Classics at Cambridge, where she was taught by Mary Beard. She then went to Harvard as a Fulbright Scholar and now teaches at Yale, where she is completing her PhD in Classics. She has won several prizes for her academic work, including the University of Cambridge Chancellor’s Medal and the Alice Derby Lang Essay Prize at Yale. For the Most Beautiful—the first book in the Golden Apple trilogy—is her debut novel. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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For the Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Trojan War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MerryWifeofWindsor 3 months ago
Krisayis is the daughter of Polydamas (High Priest of Apollo) and she lives a good life as the official companion of Princess Cassandra of Troy. A young woman in the throes of her youth, Krisayis is involved in a romantic relationship with Cassandra's brother, Troilus. While her heart entertains the notion of one day being wedded to Troilus, she bitterly remembers her father's declaration that she will one day be a priestess to Apollo. This is something that she battles with constantly. When the enchanting Helen of Sparta arrives in Troy with Prince Paris, it is no surprise that a fleet of over a thousand Greek vessels is not far off. Knowing that war is inevitable, Krisayis, Troilus, and Cassandra's lives are forever changed. Briseis is the beautiful Princess of Pedasus that knows she needs to marry and soon. However, since a curse was pronounced upon her many years ago, no man will so much as touch her. The prophecy is: "He who seeks Briseis' bed shall then her brothers three behead" (Hauser). When she is introduced to Prince Mynes of Lyrnessus, she is surprised to find that he is not only young but that he is handsome as well. The only worry to darken the moment is that of the ever-looming curse. As her father's herald announces that the curse has been lifted, Prince Mynes agrees to marry Briseis and the two grow to love one another. Not long after they are married and living in Lyrnessus, the Greek fleet arrives and things are never the same again. Emily Hauser's "For the Most Beautiful" is a contemporary retelling of a very old epic, Homer's The Iliad. What makes this story unique is the fact that it is told from the women's point-of-view. In particular, the two heroines of this story are Krisayis, daughter of Polydamas the priest, and Briseis, the tragic princess who is known conventionally for her link to Achilles. While the story did start out a little slow, once I was about a quarter way into the book, I could scarcely put the book down. Ms. Hauser's writing style was engaging, interesting, refreshing, and thoroughly original. What really made her writing stand out were the fun twists that I clearly wasn't expecting. The author did take artistic license in certain aspects, deviating from the established lore of The Iliad, but this didn't detract from the story for me. As far as the cast of characters went, Achilles was by far my favorite character. Ms. Hauser's depiction of the legendary Greek demigod really impressed me and I felt an immediate connection to him. Patroclus, at first, came across a bit flat but I saw a depth to him as the story continued. From the outset, I absolutely adored Briseis and felt for her plight. She had a quiet strength that really stood out amongst the other characters and her bravery in standing up to the Greeks really stirred things up. I confess I had a difficult time connecting with Krisayis who I found frustrating at times but in the end she did win me over. While Briseis was more reserved, Krisayis was stubborn, determined, and very much in your face. As a fan of The Iliad, Helen is my favorite character and I would have liked to seen more of her. "For the Most Beautiful" was a complete delight and I look forward to the next installment. **Reviewed by the Merry Wife of Windsor**
crystallyn 3 months ago
For The Most Beautiful is a wonderful novel about the women of the Trojan War. The familiar myths are all there; a quarrel of the goddesses resulting in a choice marked by a golden apple, the stories of Agamemnon and Hector, of Helen of Troy and Paris, Achilles and his tender heel. The myths are woven into the larger tale, told from the perspectives of the women of Troy. It's historical fiction but within this novel the gods have agency. They are participatory in the lives of their believers. Emily Hauser's gorgeous novel is clearly meticulously researched and her background as a classicist shines through each character and place, on every page. I loved every second of this book and can't wait till the second book in the series comes out!