“This is how the oldest tales should be read and known. Gemmell is a master of plot, but his triumph is creating men and women so real that their trials are agony and their triumph is glorious.”
“David Gemmell carries us away to a four-cornered, wholly convincing cosmos, so masterfully done that the reader thinks ‘Ah, this is what it was really like.’”
“To anyone who enjoys an action-packed historical epic.”
“The loyalties and betrayals, the love and the hate, the endless, everlasting courage of the men — and the women — of both sides are brought to life in this vivid, inspirational recreation of the Troy myth.”
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.
The sequel to Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow (Del Rey, 2005) is a brilliant retelling of the Trojan legends in which the author takes considerable poetic license. His Priam is lecherous, intent on sleeping with Andromache, his son Hector's new wife. She acquiesces after learning that a battle wound has left Hector impotent. Pregnant by her true love, Helikaon (King Aeneas), to survive she must make Priam think that the child is his. Doing so is vital because Andromache is the Shield of Thunder, bearing the shield-like birthmark on her head as proof that she is Athene's chosen, destined to fulfill the prophecy, "Beneath the Shield of Thunder waits the Eagle Child, on Shadow wings, to soar above all city gates, till end of days, and fall of kings." After learning that Hekabe, Priam's wife, poisoned her sister to bring the Shield to Troy for Hector, Andromache kills the dying woman, both for revenge and to keep her from poisoning Odysseus. Priam turns against his former friend after learning of his role in the murder of Helikaon's father (to save the life of the young King Aeneas from assassins sent by his own father), thereby ensuring that Priam and Odysseus will be on opposite sides in the upcoming war. Nonstop action, blood, and gore galore-in keeping with the subject matter-more historical fiction than fantasy, this page-turner is sure to please fans of both genres. Tragically, the author died in 2006 while working on the third book.
Historical fiction or fantasy? This second volume in the "Troy" trilogy, which began with Lord of the Silver Bow(2005), may confuse readers a bit. At the close of the first book, Hektor appeared to have fallen in battle, leading one to believe that Gemmell was following in the footsteps of authors such as Harry Turtledove by creating an alternate history in which Troy did not fall to the Greeks. In fact, the first novel is merely a prelude to the second installment, in which Gemmell continues his dramatic retelling of the historic conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans. During a gathering for games and chariot races at Troy, the enmity between the two culminates in war, plunging the region surrounding the Great Green (Mediterranean Sea) into bloodshed and chaos from which no one will survive unscathed. Here, readers will meet the same wonderful characters from the first book (and from Greek mythology and literature): Odysseus, storyteller, warrior, and trader; Andromache, betrothed to Trojan hero Hektor; and the treacherous and wily King Priam. This is a wonderfully readable story filled with blood feuds, fierce battle scenes, remarkable courage, and devastating betrayal. It will keep the reader enthralled long after bedtime. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
Jane Henriksen Baird
The events and characters in this story only loosely follow those set down in the epic Greek poems and legends. To begin with, Gemmell dispatches the likes of Zeus, Poseidon, and Apollo as active participants and the Achilles here does not have a sea nymph for a mother. All of the actors are human, and they live, love, and die with great passion. The relationships are deep and complicated. Relatives kill one another, and the fates of cities are often in the hands of traitors. Gemmell brings his Troy to life with confidence and creates rich new players and plotlines that complement the classics even as he rewrites them. Hektor, for example, has been emasculated from a battle wound but he gets the chance to beat up Achilles anyway. The battles are chaotic and exciting, and the author does a good job of keeping the myriad opponents and allies straight. This second book in the series is a perfect follow-up for teens who have enjoyed Homer or Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's 300 (Dark Horse, 2007).
Will MarstonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.