Troy: Lord of The Silver Bow by: David Gemmell
I rate this book five out of five stars. Cover to cover I enjoyed this book. I figured I would, the Praise For David Gemmell page included a comment from Anne McCaffery who said, “He’s several rungs above the good-right into the fabulous.” I completely agree with her after reading this book. There are many things I could gush about Gemmell doing in this book-but I’ll stick with the three things I liked the most.
1) Characters, I don’t think there was a character presented I was not drawn to know more about or invested in and was cheering on. Ladi-dadi-everybody Gemmel had me meet I wanted to know more about. Even the Egyptian Eunuch who made garments for trade. Reading his chapter I was laughing to myself thinking, “I even like this guy. Gemmel you are a freaking genius!” You learn about the character you are following while also learning about the characters they are interacting with.
Gemmell divvied up chapters into scenes where you follow one of his various characters. The story moves forward, but you view it from the different character points of views. A brave risk, and thankfully taken up by an experienced author. This style of writing can loose the interest of the reader due to lack of empathy for certain characters, or the failure of the author to move the story forward. Readers will skip over scenes involving the characters they don’t like, or put the book down all together. I never once felt the urge to do either of these.
We get to view the protagonist through many character points of view and all of them have different opinions of the man and his actions. Just like in real life, I loved being able to form my own opinion of Helikaon. Born with a natural leadership talent we get to see how he was nurtured out of it, and then developed back into it. We get to see the mentors who influenced the young prince, and watch the drama of them confronting Helikaon over different actions he took in the book. These chapters offered some beautiful conversations about grief, how a monarch influences his people, and how we recover from haunting sorrows of the past.
When he introduced Andromache I was holding my breath. Can he do this, will he do this? Can he pull off a strong female without making her a non-relatable psychopath, whore, or worse someone we might believe to be strong-but never get to see in action? Oh he pulled it off-and I’d say he knocked the strong female character right out of the park. She was defiant, brave, and a woman who knew her own mind, and limitations. She also displayed heart and compassion.
I loved how Gemmell portrayed Odysseus. Brilliant-especially how he brought to life the theory that Odysseus was most likely a form of early drama and not just an example of oral history.
2. I enjoyed how Gemmell created a solid balance of non-fiction elements into the story. The Greco-Roman world came to life, but we were not subjected to pages upon pages describing buildings, clothing, furniture and food. It was relevant and aided the action and drama.
3. Gemmell knows how to write a battle scene. He’s not afraid to take on the task of writing the horrors of battle. In my opinion there are many fiction authors to chicken to try. They skim over the battles-because its hard to write them and you can easily fail trying for a laundry list of reasons. Kudos to an author who cares enough to get the details right, but not douse us in each sword stroke of every soldier on the field. The weapons were right, the use of the weapons was right, the strategies were correct-and as someone who cares about these historical realities it was blissful to read. The battles were awesome. My favorite scenes being Blue Owl Bay, and then the culminating battle at the end. “Death is coming!”
I ended the book wondering where Gemmell’s books have been all my life and looking forward to discovering his other works.