This is a violent, graphic account of a war back in a time when wars are fought not only with ruthless heroes but with equally ruthless and vindictive god’. Gods who stand on the sidelines meddling, indeed, what else can be expected from the ancient gods of Olympus. It must be so difficult to fight a war when the unstable tempers of gods can just unleash mayhem to the best laid plans.
What was it with Helen? When I was young, many decades ago, Helen was stolen by Paris and a noble war was fought to win her back to her loving husband. A great love story and Helen was the lady whose face launched a thousand ships. That was the tale I was spun at school, now, having read the original (well a translated version) I am not at all sure I was spun the correct story! Helen seems quite content with her so called abductor, the noble war had dragged on for decades and really was one woman, one anyone for that matter, worth the years of carnage?
Yet, yet, the honour of those ancient times shines through. Maybe their idea of honour is different to ours today but in this dramatic tale the heroes are true to their world, and human nature remains unchanged, they love and suffer just the same as we do.
I would have preferred a translation in the original verse, the rhythms and poetic devices do not work so well in a straight narration, submitting a slight awkwardness however, it was still a great read, and I am looking forward to reading more Homer.