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A stunning portrait of the Trojan War as told by the women of the besieged city of Troy

The siege of Troy has lasted almost ten years. Inside the walled city, food is scarce and death is common. From the heights of Mount Olympus, the Gods keep watch. But Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is bored with the endless, dreary war. Aided by Eros's bow, the goddess sends two sisters down a bloody path to an awful truth: In the fury of war, love strikes the deadliest blows.

Heralded by fans and critics alike, Adèle Geras breathes personality, heartbreak, and humor into this classic story.

Author Biography: AdèLe Geras is the celebrated author of many novels and stories, including The Tower Room , Watching the Roses , and Pictures of the Night . She lives in Manchester, England.

Told from the point of view of the women of Troy, portrays the last weeks of the Trojan War, when women are sick of tending the wounded, men are tired of fighting, and bored gods and goddesses find ways to stir things up.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"With exceptional grace and energy, Geras recreates the saga of the Trojan War by delving into the hearts and minds of the women of Troy," wrote PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With exceptional grace and enormous energy, Geras (The Tower Room; Pictures of the Night) recreates the saga of the Trojan war from a feminist perspective, by delving into the hearts and minds of the women behind the scenes. The author plunges readers into the thick of the action to become intimately acquainted with both familiar mythological characters and the common folk around whom this retelling revolves. She focuses primarily on two orphaned sisters: Xanthe, caretaker of Andromache's child and a healer in the "blood room" where the injured men are taken, and Marpessa, Helen's favored assistant who can see the gods. The siblings are devoted to each other until Aphrodite reeks havoc in their lives, causing them to fall in love with the same wounded soldier. Although Xanthe nurses young Alastor back to health, he chooses instead soft-spoken Marpessa to be his lover, despite the fact that his mother has already arranged for him to be married to a girl of higher standing. While jealousy rends the bond between sisters, the fighting outside the city walls continues. Hector, Paris and Achilles play out their dramatic finales while "gossips" (older servants reminiscent of a Greek chorus) recount tales of victory and woe (the infamous "Judgment of Paris," the tale of how Ulysses was drafted into the Trojan War, etc.). Meanwhile, gods and goddesses Zeus, Hermes, Ares, Athena, Poseidon and Aphrodite drift in and out of people's lives like fragments of dreams to offer mixed blessings, prophesies and consolation. The effect of this novel is similar to that of a confidently conducted symphony that brings new meaning to a renowned masterpiece: harmonious strains alternate with cacophonous segments to evoke a vast array of moods. Multidimensional images of familiar mythological characters emerge deities who hold the fates of Trojans in their hands as well as human heroes and heroines who change the course of the war. But Geras focuses most of the attention on the universal experiences of mortals struggling to survive. Mythology buffs will savor the author's ability to embellish stories of old without diminishing their original flavor; the uninitiated will find this a captivating introduction to one of the pivotal events of classic Greek literature. Ages 14-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This novel offers a fresh perspective on ancient myths and legends that have retained their popularity for thousands of years. The Trojan War is in its tenth year. For a decade, the Greeks have been laying siege outside the walls of the great city of Troy. Related mainly through the eyes of the women of Troy, the story focuses more on somewhat racy romance and family conflict than the actual fighting, although there is plenty of blood shed. Readers will meet Helen, "The most beautiful woman in the world," whom some say is the cause of the war. Hector, Achilles and Agamemnon are here, but witnessed through the eyes of Xanthe and Marpessa, sisters who have fallen head over heels in love with the same warrior. The capricious Gods—Zeus, Aphrodite, Ares and others—make several appearances, meddling in human affairs, sometimes with deadly results. For those who are unacquainted with the legends and lore attributed to Homer, this is a fine introduction to the compelling story. For those familiar with the tale, the novel offers a unique take that reads almost as a behind-the-scenes teleplay. 2000, Harcourt, $17.00. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
It is the final days of the Trojan War. The city of Troy has been under siege for ten years, and everyone is growing weary of the interminable fighting—the leaders, the soldiers, the citizens, and even the gods and goddesses themselves. Geras brings Homer's story to life here for twenty-first century readers. Although concerned with maintaining the historical accuracy of her narrative—this is no Disneyfied version of the Trojan War—the author's focus is not primarily on the military and political strategists. In this extraordinary novel, readers do meet the historic Paris, Hector, Andromache, Hecuba, Achilles, and Priam, but they are minor figures. The central characters are two orphaned sisters—Marpessa, handmaid to the beautiful Helen, and Xanthe, nursemaid to Hector and Andromache's infant son. When Eros and Aphrodite, bored with the dreary military conflict, turn their attention to the two sisters, extraordinary events begin to unfold against the background of historical conflict. Geras's novel is an impressive retelling of Homer's classic tale. Events such as the battlefield death of the great hero Hector are described with unforgettable power, but the daily life of Trojan citizens also is captured down to the smallest detail. This historical novel is intelligent and captivating, but it does contain violence, profane language, and scenes of sexual intimacy. As such, it would be suitable for more mature young adult readers. VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Harcourt, 352p, Ages 13 to 18.Reviewer: Vivian Howard SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
School Library Journal
Gr 8-Up This is historical fiction at its best. Adele Geras (Harcout, 2001) tells the tale of the Trojan War from the viewpoint of several Trojans, mostly young and mostly female, while giving both the Olympic mythologic and Greek prophetic traditions significant roles in her story's plot and its symbolic imagery. Young sisters Xanthe and Marpessa hold center stage here as their adopted city suffers the siege of the Greeks who fight for the return of Helen, Marpessa's mistress. Xanthe's mistress is wife to Helen's brother-in-law, Hector, father of the young boy with whose care Xanthe is herself charged. Eros, the trickster god of love, meddles in the lives of both sisters, as well as in that of the lame stable boy who has been their friend from early childhood. Miriam Margolyes provides the many characters here with exquisitely specific voices, from the girlish tones of the young sisters, to the lisping baby talk of Hector's son, to the deep rough tones of Achilles, the whines of three old crones who provide comic relief at several turns, and the quivering voice of the elderly singer in King Priam's court. Pathos is intertwined with humor, and sensuous details of the love lives of both young peasants and slightly older royals find refrain in horrific scenes of battle and the kind of impassioned torture of prisoners that grows from years of ethnic conflict. Neither Geras nor Margolyes let their characters off lightly; in fact, listeners will find the Troy brought to doomed life in the here and now with this reading, whether the story of the war and the Greeks' deceitful gift is anticipated or previously unknown.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Engrossing. . . . Delivers the sack of Troy as an ambitious, cinematic affair."—The New York Times Book Review
"A sexy, sweeping tale, filled with drama, sassy humor, and vividly imagined domestic details."—Booklist
(star)"Captivating."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613552240
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.46 (w) x 7.02 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

AD+LE GERAS is the celebrated author of many stories and novels, including The Tower Room, Watching the Roses, and Pictures of the Night. She lives in Manchester, England.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 70 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 70 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 3, 2012


    I really loved the book Troy. It was very captivating and exciting. I loved the action/romance. Im not the romantic type but it caught my attention and kept me wanting to read more. If you love the Trojan war this is the right book to read. Everythimg was well written and explained thorougly. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves war and a little bit of love. This was my fisrt book that i read by Adele Geras. I am going to consider reading more books by her.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Not worth it.

    When I went searching for books about the Trojan War, I had completed my first year of Latin. My teacher dedicated the entire second half of the second semester to learning about the Trojan War. At this point it was certain I was going to be going into a second year of Latin studies, but I wanted more reading on the Trojan War and immediately went searching for fiction on the subject. I wanted to see an alternate perspective that would give me further insight about what women might have dealt with during those ten years of war.

    Troy is a young adult novel written by Adele Geras. The summary wants you to believe that the story is about the Trojan War from the perspective of the women of Troy. When I pick up a book titled Troy, I expect to about the war from inside the gates from characters already known about, like Hecuba, Helen, Polyxena, and Cassandra.

    What you get is the story about two sisters, Xanthe and Marpessa, who are in two different positions, and they have but one thing outside their relation in common: Alistor, that poor kid who got fatally wounded after not even five seconds of battle! And it gets better! SPOILER ALERT There's unplanned pregnancy and do-it-yourself abortions! SPOILER ALERT The plot, on the whole, gets lost somewhere about a third into the book probably because the author lost sight of an interesting concept or the author is just clueless about the Trojan war and hopes that readers don't notice by throwing in some teenage angst because teenagers crave angsty love triangles like candy, right?

    While there are people out there that enjoy this book and hail it as an excellent adaptation of Homer's Iliad, why is beyond me.

    And why did I force myself to finish this book? Maybe it was the hope that things would somehow get better, which they never did. Why did I even bother to pick up this book in the first place? Because it was after my first year of Latin, we had covered the Trojan War second semester and it sounded like it had the potential for being an illuminating read, from the perspective of one of the female characters from the Iliad. I did not want teenage drama, which is what I got.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2010

    The award winning novel of love and war

    After reading this novel, I think it was a pretty good book. It talked about the siege of Troy. Each morning men would go out and fight, women would stay on the walls and wait of their return of their husbands. I think this book would be more stable for young adults and not for children. Furthermore, this book describes the death of a person very detailed also this book is more mature than others. All in all, I would rate this 8 out of 10 since I was quite interested since I am interested in war and the Olympus.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Good Book For Trojan War Fans

    I thought this book was great. It really told about the lives of Trojan peasents; a subject that isn't really covered in history class. The only thing was that it reminded me of a soap opera. Each chapter went to a different person's messed up love life, so, like a soap opera, it was kind of hard to follow their stories. But I did think that the charcters had real personality and I got emotionally attached to each one. A warning: This book takes place near the end of the Trojan War, so I recomend this book for people who already know a great deal about the Trojan War, because the author doesn't spend much time going over the beginning of the war, only a couple flashbacks. I liked how the gods and goddesses were involved too.

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Really Good

    This story has gods and goddesses sisters and one problem they both think the love the same person an wounded soldier but Aphrodite says he is only for one sister this story takes you on a journey of love and war.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Abosoulute Must Read

    As a teen i loved this book. i love it because of the wat Adele Geras words the story and encorporates the drama of war with the trickery of the gods. The wars affect on everything in their world is closely intertwined into the story. Also i was captured by the love conflict between the two sisters. I couldn't let go.

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  • Posted December 6, 2008

    I Also Recommend:


    My friend was telling me about Troy (knowing that I love Greek mythology), and when I saw the book on the shelf, I was expecting it to be quite good. In the most part, it didn't disappoint. There were enough twists and turns to keep me occupied. But at the end, I had to think - what was the point of everything if it ended like that?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    If I could give it a 10 I would

    This was amazing! Unlike some, I am obsessed with the war on Troy and love reading historical fiction about it. The way the author tells the story through fictional and non fictional characters is just divine. I would tell everyone to read this book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    um, no, not really.

    My brother and I have both read this book and found it lacking. I was more interested in the larger than life mythological figures that do not make much of an appearance and he felt there was too much romance and not enough substance 'plot'. I agreed with him on those counts as well. Even a good writer can have off moments, so I read 'Ithaka'- it had the same problems.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2008

    Best Book Ever!

    Troy is my favorite book! I never wanted it to end. I loved the charaters and the way every thing fit together in the book, it made me feel like i was realy there in Troy during the war!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2008

    Great book!

    I really loved this book. The way the characters' lives were weaved in with mythology was fascinating. Some descriptions were beautifaul, and I really loved the characters. I never wanted Troy to end! This novel really makes you wonder: Did the Trojan War really ever happen?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2007

    I love this Book!!!

    1 of the best books I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2007

    One of my favorite books

    I thought this book was overall very good. I liked each conflict and I liked the main plot. There were a few parts that I didn't really understand, but I really thought it was an excellant piece of writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    This book is great!!!

    I thought the book was great,it was a little confusing at first but once u got into it it was hard to put down.I would recommend this book to anyone who like mythology.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    very good

    this was a very good and interesting book. its a little confusing at first, but super good!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    I loved it!

    this book was soo good! my friend bought it for me and i didnt think i would like it much. but i enjoyed it so much! i love the characters and how it wasnt based around just one person. at some parts it was hard to understand because their are so many people the book talks about, but it was WELL worth it. Honestly whoever likes mythology will love this book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2006

    not what it seems

    when i first read the summary of the book i thought it would be different. personaly, i think that it was just about romance. i thought it would have more action, it was like a soap oprah,DRAMA. the plot i didn't like, but i have to admit that adele geras writes really well. mabey i'm to young, going into 6 grade, but too much romance. and there was no ending. what happens to marpessa and the baby, xanthe, and alastor, everybody.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2006


    I love mythology, and read as much of it as I can, and I really enjoyed reading about the Trojan War from the perspective of 2 young Trojan women. What made it more interesting than just being a good myth was that the war was not the major focus of the story, but romance. It makes the story better depict what living through the war might really have been like, so it is more an entertaining story than a historical tale. I loved the vivid and colorful charecters and spiteful gods that played important roles. Troy is a really great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2006


    I loved this story. Ancient Troy has always been an interest of mine, and I was happy to find a book about somthing other then the mens point of veiw on the war, and Helen. Its an excellent read for young adults.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005


    This novel was so thrilling and enchanting. A must read for young adults! This book has gotten me interested in ancient Greek an Roman mythology. I love this book. From the moment you pick it up you can't put it down.

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