A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Pan Macmillan 3. Penelope. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti [Public domain] via Wikimedia 4. Helen of Troy. By Dante Gabriel Rossetti [Public domain] via Wikimedia 5. The Muse Calliope. By Eustache Le Sueur. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Background: Greek Eros vase. By Cadmus painter [Public Domain] via Wikimedia
I really enjoyed this book.
Helen of Troy – the face that launched a thousand ships.

This is the story of the Trojan War and its aftermath as told by the women. In Greek mythology, Helen (daughter of Agamemnon, a Greek king) was abducted by a Trojan warrior called Paris. Agamemnon launched a thousand ships to sail to Troy to retrieve Helen. A ten-year war ensued, and eventually the Greek army was able to infiltrate the city by tricking the Trojans. They offered a gift of a huge wooden horse, which the Trojans wheeled into the city, not realising that it was full of soldiers who then defeated the Trojans and burned the city.

“Sing, Muse, the poet says. And this time he sounds quite put out. It’s all I can do not to laugh as he shakes his head in disappointment.”

“I have had enough of Helen. Enough of her beauty, enough of her power, enough of her. I despise the way they all melt at the merest mention of her. She is only a woman. And no one’s looks last forever, even daughters of Zeus.”

“Sing, Muse, he said, and I have sung. … And I have sung of the women, the women in the shadows. I have sung of the forgotten, the ignored, the untold. I have picked up the old stories and I have shaken them until the hidden women appear in plain sight. … this was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them. A war does not ignore half the people whose lives it touches. So why do we?”

“And I heard all of those reports of his wily ambushes, his tricks and guile, and I thought – every time – that’s my man. That’s my Odysseus, always coming up with the cleverest scheme, always saving the day with his wits.”

~ Quotes from the book.
  • The Guardian: “The latest novel to retell Greek epic from the women’s point of view is a panoramic portrait of the true cost of conflict “

#nataliehaynes #panmacmillan

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