Breaking The Foals

Written by Maximilian Hawker
Review by Alan Pearson

I struggled at first with the strange names and titles and an unfamiliar depiction of Troy. This is not like Homer’s tale. But as the story unfolds, I realised that this is about a man who has been born into a rigid society that he dislikes. The Shining Ones are the elite who rule, and Hektor’s father, Priam, is a god who must be referred to as My Sun, light of the earth and ruler of the heavens. Hektor has a young illegitimate son that he adores, though his duties stop him spending time with the boy until he falls ill and is cured by a strange seer, who is being worshipped secretly by the commoners of the town as a prophet.

These lesser people live outside the walled acropolis, and armed guards stop them entering the inner sanctum. Hektor is committed by his duties to marry another local lord’s daughter: a match that he does not relish. Hektor’s young sister is also betrothed to the same greedy, evil lord, but events escalate when an earthquake brings down the wall dividing rich from poor, and he is forced to ask this same lord for assistance to control the rampaging peasants. Hektor rails against his duty, to the point where he must make a decision that will break his social chains forever.

The final episodes leave Hektor torn between duty to his city-state to stop it being overrun by a more evil despot than his own father, and love for his son. The story’s direction is difficult to discern at first but becomes clear as the players crystallise and become factors in the climactic ending. A gripping re-take on an old story.