Troy: Shield of Thunder

Written by David Gemmell
Review by Gwen Sly

Plain-faced Helen sits behind the walls of Troy, married to Paris but never to Menelaus; Andromache loves another but is betrothed to Hektor, favourite son of Priam; Achilles is a bully and heir to the dissolute Peleus of Thessaly. David Gemmell makes us work to identify his fable with that of Homer. Shield of Thunder, the second book in his trilogy encompassing the Trojan War, is quite impossible to put down and achieves the same heights as Lord of the Silver Bow.

Amid the glory that was ancient Greece, the western armies of the Great Green (which we know as the Mediterranean) are gathering under the leadership of Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, to invade the shores of Ilium and bring about the downfall of Troy. Legendary heroes return and are joined by new characters: Kalliades and Banokles, soldiers banished from their homeland with a price on their heads; Pira, a runaway priestess searching for her lost lover; and Ganny, a surprising companion to Odysseus. This is a passionate, elegant, ruthless and romantic historical novel. For those who have not yet read the earlier book, the author interweaves the storylines flawlessly, and all will enjoy the touches of humour.

David Gemmell has a masterful ability to bring to life period and place: his characters are skilfully constructed, strong, and tangible, and his writing vivid and precise. Troy: Shield of Thunder is a worthy epitaph to a consummate storyteller. (Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow was reviewed in Issue 34, November 2005. –ed.)