I like the story of Troy. I liked the Iliad. I liked the recent movie (everything but the last 10 minutes – can’t Hollywood keep a you-go-girl moment out of a movie where it doesn’t belong?). I like Agamemnon’s political manipulations. I like Menelaus and Paris squaring off, with the latter’s failings. I like the sulking Achilles. I enjoy his opt-out strike, where the Greek king is nearly chopped off at the knees when his hubris gets the better of him. It’s a story with so many things to like.
And Richard’s Matturro does a fine job with his Troy, telling the story in its full richness while casting it with elements we might have not considered. How Helen views her own beauty as something like a curse, how Agamemnon feels unease at the wooden horse gambit (for, if it works, the ploy might overshadow his own fame). And, especially, I was shocked with the author nailed something I’d known yet never recognized: of what the death of Hector is really about. How it stands for the death of honor before pride, of duty before vengeance. How he was gentle yet great, and yet the angry, driven, brutish archetype-hero Achilles not only kills him but defiles his body.
The toll goes on as characters you know are slain, driven mad, or (worse) go on to do duties that left an ache in my heart (I’m thinking of Odysseus, and the horrible task he is given, to be handed the child son of Hector with the knowledge that Troy doesn’t need a king anymore).
If I had one complaint (I always do), I’d have wished for the story to deal a little more with the equipment of the time, of the incredible phalanxes and the thirty pound hoplon shields, of what it would be like to stand in the ranks and fight for hours on that sandy, sun-bleached plain. Sometimes it felt as sparse of details as the original Iliad.
But overall, a very complete and thoughtful read. Well done!
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