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Helen of Troy

A book by Margaret George

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Gripping and Heart-Wrenching

  • Jun 13, 2007
Make no mistake: Margaret George's Helen of Troy is indeed a doorstopper of a book, coming in at over 600 pages, and it could very easily have become bogged down in endless unpronounceable names and illogical storylines. Happily for the reader, the author pulls you in early on and builds the story layer by layer until you realize you've been entrapped in her words that will not let go until the final pages...and probably not until long after that.

This is, of course, the legendary story of Helen of Troy, the "face that launched a thousand ships", and her lover Paris, with whom she leaves all she's known, including a husband, a child, and a kingdom. George has fleshed her characters out well; she's given Helen enough conscience that her guilt feelings seem real, yet we understand why she chose to leave with the god-like Paris. Upon entering Troy, Helen begins to realize the fall-out of her actions will reach much further than simply destroying her family. George gives us the tension leading up to the warfare between the Greeks and the Trojans and though we know the ultimate outcome, it is still heart-wrenching and exhausting.

I really enjoyed this novel. Having been a long-time fan of George's, I found this novel to be a better written and more fascinating glimpse into an historical figure (real or not) than Mary Called Magdalene. Helen, with all her faults, comes through as a woman tortured by both love and loss. George is particularly good at bringing all the warring factions and heroes to life and she keeps them separated by their actions and personalities. I found this to be a credible, fascinating look into an era of history I knew relatively little about. Recommended.

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More Helen of Troy reviews
review by . July 11, 2010
A meticulous historical fiction writer explores mythology
Margaret George is, quite simply, one of my favorite historical fiction writers, and I fell in love with her as I read through her three giant tomes of engrossing, painstakingly-researched work, (which, as a credit to her skill, went by very quickly). These works explored the lives of Cleopatra, King Henry VIII, and Mary Queen of Scots. However, after this it seems the author began to branch out into the exploration of characters which are part human, part legend, and which will certainly be shrouded …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Enjoyable story, but not as good as her other works have been. Had a harder time getting through it and it was over half as short as Cleopatra. But if your interested in Greek history and mythology it's definitely a good read.
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Tammy Koudelka McCann ()
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Starred Review.George (Mary, Called Magdalene) depicts with bravado, grace and eloquence the grand spectacle surrounding Helen of Troy. The author's research into Mycenaean culture, coupled with Trojan War mythology's larger-than-life heroes, enliven a bold story pulsing with romance and sacrifice, omens and battles. Helen's noble Spartan parents try to defy the fates when a seer foretells the tragedy Helen and her legendary beauty will cause, but, as the myth of Helen demonstrates, destiny cannot be altered. Helen's years of seclusion in Sparta lead to a frigid marriage to Menelaus before she connects with Paris, the Trojan prince with whom she forges an inextricable bond. Barely into her 20s, Helen escapes with Paris to Troy, but finds the Trojan royals welcome her with less than open arms. The mythic war, which, in less capable hands, might be over-romanticized, is portrayed with an enthusiasm that rings true to the period without verging on stagy—no small feat when dealing with such a sweeping conflict. 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.(On sale Aug. 7)
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ISBN-10: 0670037788
ISBN-13: 978-0670037780
Author: Margaret George
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Viking Adult
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