KING OF ITHACA by Glyn Iliffe

2 06 2011

When I picked up this book, I assumed I was getting yet another take on Troy. No, I don’t mean “yet another”; I have always enjoyed books that tell the tale of the seige of Troy and its aftermath, be it from Helen’s point of view, or Clytemnestra’s, or Cassandra’s. (I must get some of these others onto this site!)
(I enjoy watching the films, too, sometimes. I loved John Kent Harrison’s Helen of Troy, with Sienna Guillory as Helen – I’ll do something on that tomorrow. Time I mentioned a film or to, and slipped in a few links to YouTube to liven up the site.)
But this is not that story, not at all. And strangely, I didn’t even realise until I was half way through the book. I had been hooked since the opening scenes on Mount Parnassus and in the Cave of Pythia, the Oracle, and was reading on happily when suddenly I though I ought to make a note to the effect that it was taking an awful long time to build up to the climax. (Yes, I do make notes when I plan to write some kind of review; I should make a lot more.) In fact it was taking too long. So I cheated. I glanced at the end of the book – and it finishes with Odysseus marrying Penelope and becoming King of Ithaca. Hardly a hint of the coming war. Except that Helen has just married Menelaus, and it doesn’t take the most percipient man in Greece to see that he is in for an “interesting” life!
So. Odysseus’ early years. And wonderful, in the sense that you are there with him, seeing it all, experiencing it.
Of course, I would rather have had a little more of Helen and/or Penelope. But I wasn’t left without a character who was me. The Clytemnestra in this version of the events leading up to the war is perfect.
Read it. Afterwards, when you come across Odysseus again in other books or films, you will know him as very few of those around him do.
You become part of his world, and he becomes part of yours.
I’ve never written those words before in a review, but they apply to all the best historical fiction. And probably to all the best fiction.
Later: I have now discovered that there are three sequels to this book already in existence – and more coming! I’ll keep reading; you keep reading, too. And visiting this site. Only poets write “for themselves alone”. No, it wasn’t the poet, it was God – only God could love Helen for herself alone and not her yellow hair. That was Yeats. And I am rambling today.

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4 responses

5 01 2012
Thomas Dunne Jr.

found the book by accident – loved all three books – hope there will be more – will order as soon as it is available – great read!!!!!!

21 04 2013
the porn actress

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23 04 2013
Kanti Burns

Hi! I’ve tried it on other computers and with other browsers and it seems OK. Do you have the same problem with other WordPress blogs?

27 10 2013
THE ORACLES OF TROY by Glyn Iliffe | Kanti Burns, Book Reviews and more

[…] my review of the first book in this series, King of Ithaca, I noted that it was very much a biographical novel, the story of Odysseus, rather than the […]

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