Would you be disappointed to find out that Helen of Troy was not beautiful?

Wow ~ what an epic! It was so enjoyable it kept me up into the wee hours.

For those of you who do not know, this Trilogy (LORD OF THE SILVER BOW, SHIELD OF THUNDER and FALL OF KINGS) is David Gemmell’s take on the Trojan War.

Like Homer’s ILIAD, this tale has plenty of gore and death.

Unlike Homer’s ILIAD, we are brought down to ground with more realistic explanations about what might have happened. And that is where these volumes shone. I found myself loving David Gemmell’s alternative explanations  which is pretty astonishing because who can outdo Homer?

The most striking difference was David Gemmell’s take on Helen of Troy, commonly known as the Loveliest Woman in the World whose Face Launched a Thousand Ships. In this retelling Helen of Sparta is already married to Prince Paris, one of the sons of King Priam of Troy. She is not particularly striking to look at, having mousy-colored hair, and being plump and rather short. But she loves the two children she has with Paris. So when Agamemnon tells her she has to go back to Sparta to marry Menelaus ~ because he is her liege lord and can basically order her to do anything he wants ~ she balks and refuses to go.

When Agamemnon’s soldiers eventually appear on the ramparts of Troy to kidnap her, and force her to abandon her children, Helen she does something so heroic that all the solders express their admiration about her by calling her dazzling. As Odysseus explains it, soldiers can only talk about heroism in terms they can understand. That is how she acquired the reputation of being the Loveliest Woman in the World.

Going down the list ~

~The Trojan Horse is not what you think it is.

~The timeline of the war is cut down to around a year or so, much more realistic because how in the world could any city hold out for ten years? 

~Odysseus is the storyteller, not Homer.

~And the women are magnificent, shooting arrows into hordes of warriors, refusing to be killed and saving their children by leaping over an insurmountable chasm on a nervy black stallion.

For a more plausible less over-the-top tale of what really happened during the Trojan War, try David Gemmell. You won’t be disappointed. Five Stars.

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