Helen of Troy
Once again we have a re-telling of the Trojan War from Helen’s point of view. For those of you who came in halfway through the epic, a real quick summary: Helen of Sparta is the most beautiful woman in the world. She marries Menelaus, brother of King Agamemnon of Mycenae. When Prince Paris of Troy visits Sparta, he and Helen fall in love, and she flees with him to Troy. Her husband and brother-in-law lead an armada against Troy, starting a war that lasts ten years and results in the destruction of Troy. Helen goes back to Sparta with Menelaus.
This particular rendition of the epic events is competently done, but doesn’t do anything new with the material, and I didn’t find it anything special. This may simply be because I’ve read at least half a dozen novels about the Trojan War from Helen’s viewpoint – the most recent, by Amanda Elyot, published last fall. Goddess by Miranda Seymour, The Memoirs of Helen of Troy by Amanda Elyot, and Helen’s Passage by Diana M. Concannon are only three of the novels that let us see the Trojan War through Helen’s eyes.
Although I’d expected something more innovative from Margaret George, her Helen novel is a decent addition to this sub-genre of the epic. So, as someone once said in another context: “If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’ll like.” Aficionados of the Homeric epic should certainly give Helen of Troy a try.