Have you ever heard of Helikaon?
What about the Great Hero Argurios?
Maybe you have a faint idea that Andromache is Hector’s wife. And if you come from Europe or have had a Liberal Arts eduction in the US, you’ve almost certainly heard of Odysseus, Priam, Hector, and maybe Aeneas.
For those of you have read Homer’s Iliad, this novel will come as quite the surprise. Yes, we are dealing with the Trojan War, but unlike the Iliad which covers the end of it and the Odyssey which describes Odysseus’ ten-year journey to get home, LORD OF THE SILVER BOW by David Gemmell deals with the beginning of the Trojan War, before the Thousand Ships showed up on the beach below Troy, before the ten-year-siege that ultimately destroyed the city.
If you love the Ancient World and have always wanted to know more about the characters who populate Homer’s Iliad, this is the novel for you. Here, you will learn that Odysseus loved to tell tall tales and was famous for his performances. You will discover that prior to her marriage to Hector, Andromache was a Priestess to Artemis on the island of Thera/Santorini. And you will learn all about trade, piracy, and palace politics in Bronze Age Greece during the Palace Cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean, a period that spans roughly 1800 BCE to 1177 BCE, when the whole society suddenly collapsed.
Who is the Lord of the Silver Bow? Turns out that this is one of many epithets for Apollo, the patron deity of the Oracle at Delphi. It is also a nickname given to Helikaon, one of the main characters in this volume, whose name can be translated as Golden One.
What is the connection between Helikaon and Apollo? Why use a nickname associated with the god Apollo and bestow it on Helikaon? Another of Apollo’s epithets is Phoebus, which means bright. And “Phoebus’ chariot” is a phrase often used in Ancient Greece to describe the sun’s movement across the sky from its rising in the morning to its setting in the evening. And so the name Golden One often used by author David Gemmell to refer to Helikaon carries several meanings, including references to both the sun and the god Apollo.
This novel is the first of three, and I am definitely going to read the other two. Like all successful authors, Mr. Gemmell has me dying to know more! Five Stars.