The Wine of Agamemnon
“My name is Odysseus…” Yet another retelling of the Trojan War? Yes – by that cleverest of men, Odysseus. So old he has outlived all his comrades, so old he has seen the Siege of Troy mutate into a glorious lying song, Odysseus wishes to tell the truth before he dies. So, with the aid of a young scribe, he begins…revealing stories of high courage and low cunning, of the ambition, passion, hate, and love that sent Fair Helen into the arms of gorgeous, feckless Paris, and brought Agamemnon, King of Men, and the heroic Achaean host after her to death and glory on the windy plains of Troy….
Wine of Agamemnon is a terrific, engrossing read, flawed only by an awkward modern “frame” — but it’s only a page or two at beginning and end. The worst thing about the book is the formatting, which is lousy. But once you start reading, you won’t care about that. McKiernan makes the Epic of Troy new and fresh once more, in one of the oldest and still the best of all ways to tell a story: the lure of a Truth beyond the Official News. “You think you know what happened, just because you’ve read the TIMES? Watched CNN? Heard the epic songs? You’re wrong. I know –
“Because I was there. Listen: this is what really happened – “