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Helen of Troy

A book by Margaret George

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A meticulous historical fiction writer explores mythology

  • Jul 11, 2010
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 with equal parts fact and myth. Although I enjoyed Mary, Called Magdalene, I believe I prefer even to this the novel Helen of Troy since it is quite likely that the author and readers do not believe in the myths shrouding this particular persona, thus making it a more objective piece to evaluate. The author applies her trademark research, her ability to portray a depth of time and place that is astounding, and the skill in making one care for her long-dead characters that I have come to expect, however what makes this book, in my opinion, so incredibly worth reading is how skillfully fact is blended with myth. The author is careful to apply as much diligent research to its creation as possible, but never without leaving open two pathways for the reader: One, the view of the skeptic, and the plausible explanation for mystical happenings, and the other the account of the faithful, and the claims of superstition. This is a dichotomy far more exciting than the author making the decision for the reader, (which may be especially tempting when referring to legends few hold dear as true these days), and this, coupled with the much more standard length of the work when compared to her others makes this, not her best work in my opinion, but perhaps her most accessible for a new fan.
A meticulous historical fiction writer explores mythology

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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.
review by . June 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 …
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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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