The Gates of Troy

Written by Glyn Iliffe
Review by Juliet Waldron

Upon reading the back blurb, my husband quipped, “Another book about that guy.” Here comes Wise Odysseus again, this time in the lead-up to the Trojan War. In this novel, he is provided with a fictional sidekick who will provide an outside point of view, the warrior Eperitus, who has been itching for a fight ever since he came to Ithaca with the king ten years ago.

Iliffe knows the old story and characters well, and the famous scenes – Odysseus pretending to be mad as he sows a field with salt, the flight of Helen and Paris, the sacrifice of Iphigenia by her power-mad father, even the manifestations of various Olympians – are all included. Having cut my teeth on Mary Renault, my standards for retellings of classic myth are high, but the author does a credible job. Setting and scene are beautifully presented and always evoke period and place. As expected, there is plenty of swordplay, wrestling, and plain, old bare-knuckle fighting. My only complaint is that occasionally I was knocked out of the story by modern language, e.g. “Forget Priam!” This novel is part of a series, The Adventures of Odysseus, so if you find it to your taste, the others should be also.