Margaret George breathes new life into the great Homeric tale by having Helen narrate her own story. Through her eyes and in her voice, we experience the young Helen's discovery of her divine origin and her terrifying beauty. While hardly more than a girl, Helen married the remote Spartan king Menelaus and bore him a daughter. By the age of 20, the world's most beautiful woman was resigned to a passionless marriage until she encountered the handsome Trojan prince Paris. And once the lovers flee to Troy, war, murder, and tragedy become inevitable.
©2006 Margaret George; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape
"An absorbing retelling of the classic Trojan War myth, and a sobering look at the utter futility of trying to change one's fate." (Booklist)
"George's extraordinary storytelling abilities shine in her portrayal of Helen as both a conflicted woman who abandoned her homeland and child for true love, and as a legendary figure whose beauty and personal choices had epic consequences." (Publishers Weekly)
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
Just once I'd like to read a version of Helen where she's actually portrayed as a Spartan queen, and all that implies. While this take is more traditional in portraying her as the lovestruck tool of the gods, Helen proves she's made of sterner stuff than most versions would portray her. I was a bit put-off at first by how slowly the book starts, but the build-up is worth it as a fully three-dimensional character study of some of Homer's most enduring characters. As a romance novel, this is a solid read, but it's so much more. While it's not quite what Homer had in mind, perhaps, there is history, mythology, and warfare to be had in abundance once the story gets going. Margaret George describes the city of Troy in amazing detail, and her citizens comes to life. The mythology involved does add a different feel to Ms. George's story, so it doesn't quite feel like some of her other works. Don't let that put you off. If you like the subject and the author, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy this book.
I've always enjoyed the writings of George and this was very typical of her other books, very detailed and a good story line. This was also a very long audio book, but I certainly got my money's worth
I've read The Iliad twice before and love Greek mythology very much. So Mrs. George's book was just right up my alley. It's a modern telling of The Trojan War from the perspective of Helen, the woman who the war was fought over.
I can't believe more people haven't taken this approach. Why is it that we only hear about it from the men's side? Even the movie Troy was more concerned with the men fighting it, Helen was an after thought.
The story is a bit slow in the beginning. About her childhood and living in Sparta it's slow, but important to the story. We call her Helen of Troy, but she was really from Sparta, before the Spartans got all 300-y on us. I like that she explored her family life, what it was like to have to hide her face and her early beginnings.
The telling of the actual war is what most people come to this book for and I'll say that she tells it like the war happens in a few days, not years. That part just tells itself. You'll forget it was years and years with no clear victor until the very end. Not only does she explain the battles, but what life was like in Troy. Something I've always wondered about previously.
The ending is appropriate. We tend to forget what happened to Helen and go for the story of The Odyssey, but this obviously doesn't. She has an ending. An approppriate, but sadly happy ending. Anyone who reads Greek myth knows it rarely ends happily. This is a happy medium between our happy endings and their sad ones.
Totally worth the read or listen. The narrator was perfect in my opinion. Her voice made Helen seem very alive.
I have read two other Margret George books and loved every word. This was not as good although the information is correct on much of history. The people were very self absorbed and annoying. I gave it 3 stars because Margret George does get the information right.
Apparently Helen was a wimpy girl with 20th century sensibilities who only longed for true love ...
Not worth bothering with!
Had I not read George's other books first, this would definitely deter me from reading them at all. This was my final one of her published works, and it was by far the worst. Rather than draw out my review with needless words, as had this book, I'll keep it short: this book was boring.
As with all the previous books written by Margaret George, Helen of Troy was entrancing. Learning history can be such a bore but Margaret George makes learning about historical figures so real and memorable that one would think they had some how traveled though time and actually became a part of that person life. She breaths life into a otherwise 2 dimensional historical figure. If you are a fan of Margaret George then you know this is a must read and if you have not discovered this great authors work yet I would greatly recommend you introduce yourself to the wonderful world of historical fiction in a novel. You wont be sorry.
This has been by far my most enjoyable audio book experience. Justine Eyre's narration brought me into the world of Helen that Margaret George so skillfully painted.
I wanted to like this book because I've always enjoyed reading Margaret George, who delivers thoroughly researched pieces of history packaged like novels. Helen, however -- unlike Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, and Cleopatra -- did not even really exist, and even if she had, would not have merited being the subject of this interminably long book. As the "face that launched a thousand ships," she has no more inherent significance than a fashion model, and the mindless recklessness with which she and Paris brought on the Trojan war in order to indulge their supposedly mystical love for each other made them both unsympathetic characters, in addition to being the stuff of the lamest romance novels. I hung on for awhile but lost all interest long before the end.
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