Inside the Walls of Troy

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Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 12/22/2017
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, December 22, 2017
I got this handsome hardcover from the book-swap shelf at the Salem NH park-and-ride while dropping off some books of my own. It's a retelling of events surrounding the Trojan War, from the viewpoints of a young Helen and of the Trojan princess Cassandra. (The author does take liberties with the mythology and some of the characterizations, though as the myths sometimes feature contradictory information across the many versions, I didn't mind that too much - I'd just caution readers not to assume that details from this book match the ancient versions!)

Here, Helen starts out as an independent, almost tomboyish princess, only reluctantly drawn in to her status as "most beautiful woman in the world". She has a rather level-headed view of her situation, acknowledging that she will have to marry whichever king her father chooses for her, and she finds herself relatively contented with Menelaus and their daughter. And then Paris shows up, as beautiful as Helen herself, and with Aphrodite's promise that he'd win Helen - and lo! she falls in love with him at first sight and readily agrees to go away with him. (If you believe that it's Aphrodite's fault and that Helen no longer has agency, she's easier to take from this point on; if you think she chose for herself, not so much.)

Meanwhile, we meet Cassandra, princess of Troy, cursed with the ability to see the future but never to be believed in what she sees. (Her twin brother Helenus, with whom she's very close, is also a seer, but doesn't have the same curse - though in the story he tells her that he learned early to only tell people of happy visions, never the tragic ones. If only she could have managed that {wry grin}.) She, too, is faced with the necessity to marry whoever her father chooses for her, but in her case the war intervenes.

In the myths, she and Helen never really interact, other than Cassandra's early warnings of the doom that will come to Troy if Paris succeeds in bringing Helen in. In the book, they become relatively close, though it doesn't do either of them any good...

There are some harrowing scenes of the war as viewed by the women inside the walls, and Cassandra gets one final chance to try and rescue her sisters and Helen - but the author chooses to end the story there, without saying whether any of them made it out of the burning city.

The book's an entertaining look at some aspects of life in ancient Greece, and offers the author's perspective on many elements from the myths; a decent re-imagining.

The author's afterword explains some of the editorial choices and tweakings of the myths.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, 4 Lake St in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, March 21, 2019

Released 1 mo ago (3/22/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, 4 Lake St in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2019 Oh the Places We Can Go release challenge. ***

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