This is the third and concluding volume in Stephen Fry’s retelling of the mythology of Ancient Greece in a modern and more easily digestible idiom. The story of Troy is undoubtedly one of the most well known in Western literature, featuring legendary figures such as Helen, Hector, Paris, Achilles and Odysseus, and not forgetting of course the infamous Trojan horse. It’s an epic tale of loyalty, betrayal and revenge, of sacrifice, sorrow and triumph, a true blend of myth, legend and history. I found the best way to enjoy this book, and indeed its predecessors, Mythos and Heroes, is to focus on the main narrative and not to get too bogged down in the detailed footnotes as to who was who and how they were inter-related with each other, otherwise it can all get very confusing for a layman such as myself. It’s certainly a gripping tale, even though the eventual ending will come as no surprise, but I would have liked a little more information at its conclusion as to what became of the main characters afterwards. There are a couple of very interesting appendices where the author examines the historical evidence for the story – the battle for Troy, it’s thought, would have taken place in the Bronze Age, around 1200BC, but was not chronicled by Homer in The Iliad until the dawn of The Iron Age about 500 years later, versions of the events presumably having been passed down the generations by word of mouth as written language was still in its earliest infancy. A very good and enjoyable read which gives the reader a real feel for the personalities and motives of the main characters and places the key events in their true historical context – and if divine interventions into the affairs of men by the Gods on Mount Olympus isn’t your thing, you can simply disregard them and read the book as a straight historical drama.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Myths and legends.
One thing you’ve learned
Fry describes the tale of Troy as the ‘Big Bang’ of story telling. Certainly his richly detailed and at times archly humorous narrative breathes new life and relevance into this age old story of heroism and hatred, desire and despair and revenge and regret, revealing on the way some fascinating connections between mythology and modern language, art and culture.