Helen of Troy
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Acclaimed author Margaret George tells the story of the legendary Greek woman whose face "launched a thousand ships" in this New York Times bestseller.
The Trojan War, fought nearly twelve hundred years before the birth of Christ, and recounted in Homer's Iliad, continues to haunt us because of its origins: one woman's beauty, a visiting prince's passion, and a love that ended in tragedy.
Laden with doom, yet surprising in its moments of innocence and beauty, Helen of Troy is an exquisite page-turner with a cast of irresistible, legendary characters—Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Menelaus, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, as well as Helen and Paris themselves. With a wealth of material that reproduces the Age of Bronze in all its glory, it brings to life a war that we have all learned about but never before experienced.
course, the price for failure is high.” “I want a palace here!” Paris’s face was set. “You’ll find another builder, then!” the builder proclaimed. Paris looked angry. “Very well.” He turned to Gelanor. “Can you linger here in Troy a bit longer and oversee this? If it is successful, you will become renowned throughout the world!” “And if it fails?” Gelanor seemed amused, not frightened. “Then, as a Greek, you can flee Priam’s wrath when Helen and I lie beneath the rubble.” “I could never
in his ear as it passed. For an instant the man turned to see where it fell so he could capture it, and in that pause Hector escaped, making for the Scaean Gate, hastily opened for him. It clanged shut after he was inside, just as his adversary beat his fists upon it and cried out, “Coward! Coward!” The fists must have been made of metal, they battered the thick wooden doors so. Later I saw that they had actually dented them—a series of depressions in the bronze-sheathed wood showed where the
I saw the old Gelanor, spirited and questioning. “In this lies all the evils of that evil war.” I approached the tomb. There were carvings there, but I did not look at them. Instead I knelt and laid my hands on the cold stone. She lay in there, a morsel to feed Achilles’s hunger and vanity. I bent, letting my forehead touch her tomb. “Polyxena,” I murmured. “Yours was the greatest sacrifice of all.” She had gained nothing from the war, not a single shining moment, and yet she had lain her neck
in taking care of him, as I had promised. He had grown a great deal in the eight winters since he had come here. And he was fond of me; at least, I liked to think so. It is hard to know what a serpent thinks. But he always glided out to see me. Where was he tonight? Perhaps he slept, as all the world did. This was the first private breath I had taken since the cave had beckoned me. I wanted to transcend myself, the palace, Menelaus, even Aphrodite herself. You, my pet snake, you are the only one
wincing at the first brightness of the moonlight. It threw shadows from the moving branches on all sides of the tent. I stood on tiptoe and drew in my breath—the air was cold and pine-scented, bracing. I could hear the sea, but it was far away. This was a much bigger island than Cranae, with forests and animals. The moon overhead was eaten away on one side. Just so much had it lost since the night Paris and I had run away. It was a relentless mistress of time, measuring our life together.