Helen of Troy
  • Helen of Troy
  • Helen of Troy

Helen of Troy

4.2 101
by Margaret George
     
 

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The New York Times bestseller from Margaret George, author of Mary, Called Magdalene and Elizabeth I

With her amazing ability to summon the voices of historical characters, Margaret George tells the story of the woman whose face "launched a thousand ships" in Helen of Troy. Laden with doom, yet surprising in

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Overview

The New York Times bestseller from Margaret George, author of Mary, Called Magdalene and Elizabeth I

With her amazing ability to summon the voices of historical characters, Margaret George tells the story of the woman whose face "launched a thousand ships" in Helen of Troy. Laden with doom, yet surprising in its moments of innocence and beauty, this is a beautifully told story of a legendary woman and her times. An exquisite page-turner with a cast of irresistible characters—Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, as well as Helen and Paris themselves—and a wealth of material that reproduces the Age of Bronze in all its glory, Helen of Troy brings to life a war that we have all learned about but never before experienced.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Delicious. (People)

An impressive feat of research and imagination. It's no mean trick to resurrect not only ancient Attic politics and lifestyles, but the atmosphere of a time in which the gods truly spoke. (Diana Gabaldon, author of Outlander)

A feast . . . George leaves us with the most coveted prize of fiction: a world . . . we wished existed, and that thoroughly does between the covers. (Chicago Tribune)

Fresh and vivid. (The Washington Post)

What Ms. George has created with this book is a great summer read: realistic characters, engaging plots and enough mythology and Homer to make it all interesting. (The Dallas Morning News)

People
Delicious.
Chicago Tribune
A feast ... George leaves us with the most coveted prize of fiction: a world ... we wished existed, and that thoroughly does between the covers.
The Washington Post
Fresh and vivid.
The Dallas Morning News
What Ms. George has created with this book is a great summer read: realistic characters, engaging plots and enough mythology and Homer to make it all interesting.
author of Outlander Diana Gabaldon
An impressive feat of research and imagination. It's no mean trick to resurrect not only ancient Attic politics and lifestyles, but the atmosphere of a time in which the gods truly spoke. (Diana Gabaldon, author of Outlander)
Publishers Weekly
George (Mary, Called Magdalene) depicts with bravado, grace and eloquence the grand spectacle surrounding Helen of Troy. The author's research into Mycenaean culture, coupled with Trojan War mythology's larger-than-life heroes, enliven a bold story pulsing with romance and sacrifice, omens and battles. Helen's noble Spartan parents try to defy the fates when a seer foretells the tragedy Helen and her legendary beauty will cause, but, as the myth of Helen demonstrates, destiny cannot be altered. Helen's years of seclusion in Sparta lead to a frigid marriage to Menelaus before she connects with Paris, the Trojan prince with whom she forges an inextricable bond. Barely into her 20s, Helen escapes with Paris to Troy, but finds the Trojan royals welcome her with less than open arms. The mythic war, which, in less capable hands, might be over-romanticized, is portrayed with an enthusiasm that rings true to the period without verging on stagy-no small feat when dealing with such a sweeping conflict. George's extraordinary storytelling abilities shine in her portrayal of Helen as both a conflicted woman who abandoned her homeland and child for true love, and as a legendary figure whose beauty and personal choices had epic consequences. (On sale Aug. 7) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her fifth novel, George (Mary, Called Magdalene) does for Helen of Troy what she's done for other women of greater legendary stature than historical basis, e.g., Mary Queen of Scots and Cleopatra. In explaining her approach to this book's mythical context, George writes in her author's note that there is no evidence of Helen's existence at all; even the classical references are hotly debated. She does not change the time-honored story line in any significant way, but she does make some alterations, fleshing out or adding certain incidents for the sake of pacing and character development. Another recent treatment of Helen of Troy, also written in the first person and generally sympathetic as well, is Amanda Elyot's Memoirs of Helen of Troy. The two are fine companions and are different enough to both be rewarding reads. Although each is romantic, George's book is much more so, and her ending is decidedly upbeat for a story typically treated as tragedy. This will hit the book-club circuit with promised publicity and reading guides, so buy accordingly for your audience. For all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/06.]-Mary Kay Bird-Guilliams, Wichita P.L., KS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited appendix to one of literature's greatest stories, in which the face that launched a thousand ships is supplied with a brain and a voice to match her legendary beauty. Greek tragedy warns that you should always be careful what you wish for. George (The Memoirs of Cleopatra, 1997, etc.) honors that convention here, imagining that at least part of the misery wrought by and upon Agamemnon and Menelaus owes to their juvenile longing for a new age of heroes. It's no help to their egos when Clytemnestra chimes in, "you will have to content yourself with cattle raids and minor skirmishes. That is the problem with times of peace. But who would wish it otherwise?" They would, and their time comes when Menelaus' discontented wife gets her wish and heads for Troy with a prince of the city, Paris. While appreciative of his demi-divine prize, Paris recognizes that the affair isn't such a good idea. Brilliant as well as beautiful, Helen is persuasive, though Paris convinces her to at least leave her daughter behind, saying that because she loves Sparta, she "will not leave it bereft of a queen." All that comes back into play years later, after Achilles has spent his wrath and Hector tamed his horses, after Iphigenia has been sacrificed and Troy is a heap of smoking stones. The best part of the tale lies in the shadows of which the Homeric epics hint but do not speak. The author does a fine job, for instance, of depicting the continuing fury of the curse of the Atreids, which finally resolves itself in a new era that has no room for heroes, and of imagining a sort-of-reconciled Helen and Menelaus growing old together, a "shuffling, old-person's peace-the peace that descends when all otherconcerns have either died or fled."An Olympian effort, worthy of shelving alongside Renault and Graves.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143038993
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/29/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
656
Sales rank:
220,107
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.37(h) x 1.31(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

Diana Gabaldon
"An impressive feat of research and historical imagination. It's no mean trick to resurrect not only ancient Attic politics and lifestyles, but the atmosphere of a time in which the gods truly spoke."
From the Publisher
Delicious. (People)

An impressive feat of research and imagination. It's no mean trick to resurrect not only ancient Attic politics and lifestyles, but the atmosphere of a time in which the gods truly spoke. (Diana Gabaldon, author of Outlander)

A feast . . . George leaves us with the most coveted prize of fiction: a world . . . we wished existed, and that thoroughly does between the covers. (Chicago Tribune)

Fresh and vivid. (The Washington Post)

What Ms. George has created with this book is a great summer read: realistic characters, engaging plots and enough mythology and Homer to make it all interesting. (The Dallas Morning News)

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