Harcourt, Inc: NY, 2001.
First published by Scholastic, Ltd: UK, 2000.
The Trojan war has been going on for years, and everyone is ready for it to be over. The story follows Homer's The Iliad fairly closely, with some fleshing out. The story is from a few perspectives, but mostly women and mostly that of two young sisters. Xanthe cares for Andromache and Hector's son and assists in the blood room, where casualties are taken for treatment. Marpessa is a handmaiden of Helen. Both girls were orphaned and raised under Andromache's care.
Like Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren, the story is largely from the female perspective, but Troy has kept more of the masculine feel of the war. It feels more realistic. More of the war is shown, and the glimpses of the blood room make it hard to forget. In Inside the Walls of Troy, Cassandra the seer has a major voice. In Troy, her prophecies are mentioned, but she is on the fringe and ignored. Instead, there is Marpessa, who has always seen and heard the gods and goddesses, but keeps it to herself. Partly, she does not want to be ostracized as Cassandra has been, and partly, the city is in chaos. She has not even remained in contact with her sister, her usual confidante. Another interesting difference is that the gods and goddesses appear to many people in this story and give specific prophecies, but all of the people forget immediately, except Marpessa and Cassandra. There is the sense that the gods and goddesses are playing games, with the humans as the pieces.
I enjoyed both of the books. In some ways, they seem much alike. In others, not. Andromache is more developed as a person in this telling. In the other, it felt like the characters were more in control of their lives. There is more of a sense of fate in this tale. Nobody has an overall view of a prophecy. It is chaos, with characters responding only to immediate events. I remember that relationships play a part of Inside the Walls of Troy. The relationships in Troy, however, seem to be a bigger part of the story.
I did not expect to see another account of the Trojan War. I may need to look into the subject to see if a list can be compiled. Again, if you are unfamiliar with the canon, a reading of The Iliad(adult) or Rosemary Sutcliff's Black Ships Before Troy(children's) is recommended.
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