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Prolific historical novelist Gemmell continues his imaginative and addictive Trojan War trilogy with this second installment (after Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow). While King Agamemnon schemes and "dreams of a war with Troy," rival monarch Priam of Troy maneuvers to secure his city's future through the marriage of his son Hektor to Princess Andromache of Thebe Under Plakos. Born with a birthmark resembling the shield of Athene—"the Shield of Thunder"—Andromache will, according to prophesy, bear the Eagle Child: a king who will never be defeated and whose city "will be eternal." Faithful to Homeric legend, there is enough intrigue, treachery and sanguinary violence to keep readers riveted as Priam publicly humiliates King Odysseus of Ithaka, who had hoped to remain neutral in the coming conflict. With Odysseus and the demigod warrior Achilles among his allies, Agamemnon attacks Troy in a war for hegemony. Seamlessly blending legend, mythology and history, Gemmell vividly recreates the world of the Greek city-states in all of their nobility and pettiness. Lively and seductive, this is historical fiction at its page-turning best. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.