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Lord of the Silver Bow: Troy    by David Gemmell order for
Lord of the Silver Bow
by David Gemmell
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Note the fact that this new trilogy from acclaimed fantasy master David Gemmell is about Troy. Then forget that fact. What surprised me most in reading this absorbing epic is that, despite the familiarity of names like Odysseus and Kassandra, it feels more real than the original.

As always, Gemmell's characters are larger than life, and hold strong values. The first we meet is Gershom, who is actually an Egyptian prince, sought by the Pharaoh's agents and under sentence of death. Shipwrecked and clinging to driftwood, he's picked up from the 'Great Green' ocean by Helikaon, the 'Golden One'. Born Prince Aeneas of Dardania, he's known around the Mediterranean for his luck and for killing Mykene pirate Alektruon. This won him the undying enmity of the Mykene, led by the treacherous Agamemnon, who sends assassins after him, his friends and family - for which Helikaon takes a draconian revenge.

We first encounter Helikaon rescuing a beggar child, Phia, on a Kypros mountaintop - she mistakes him for Apollo, 'Lord of the Silver Bow'. Helikaon has had built a new style of ship, the Xanthos, much taller than the usual galley. He rides out a storm in Blue Owl Bay, whose ruler betrays him. Helikaon is saved by his own quick wits and by the honor of Mykene Argurios, but a close friend is tortured and killed. Helikaon's revenge unfortunately matches that deed. At the Bay, we also meet the spirited, intelligent Andromache of Thebe under Plakos, who's being sent to Troy to be Hector's bride.

King Priam's Troy is one where palace revolutions brew constantly. He belittles all his many sons, save Hector who is away fighting with his Trojan Horse (cavalry) for the Hittites. When news comes of Hector's death in battle, a prince of Troy allies with Mykene, and Gershom, Argurios, Helikaon and Andromache all end up under siege in the citadel. They survive this time, but both Kassandra and Halysia of Dardania have foreseen a 'sea full of ships carrying blood-hungry men, a great city burning. Terror and despair!' Which tells us there's a lot more exciting action ahead in this splendid saga. I can't wait.

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