Cover image for Helen of Troy
Helen of Troy
George, Margaret, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2006.
Physical Description:
611 p. : map ; 25 cm.


Call Number
Material Type
Andover Free Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Bath - Dormann Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Hammondsport - Fred and Harriett Taylor Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 FIC Adult Fiction Book
West Elmira Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book

On Order



A lush, seductive novel of the legendary beauty whose face “launched a thousand ships” Daughter of a god, wife of a king, prize of antiquity’s bloodiest war, Helen of Troy has inspired artists for millennia. Now Margaret George, the highly acclaimed bestselling historical novelist, has turned her intelligent, perceptive eye to the myth that is Helen of Troy.Margaret George breathes new life into the great Homeric tale by having Helen narrate her own story. Through her eyes and in her voice, we experience the young Helen’s discovery of her divine origin and her terrifying beauty. While hardly more than a girl, Helen married the remote Spartan king Menelaus and bore him a daughter. By the age of twenty, the world’s most beautiful woman was resigned to a passionless marriage—until she encountered the handsome Trojan prince Paris. And once the lovers flee to Troy, war, murder, and tragedy become inevitable.In Helen of Troy, Margaret George has captured a timeless legend in a mesmerizing tale of a woman whose life was destined to create strife—and destroy civilizations.

Author Notes

Margaret George lives with her husband in Madison, Wisconsin.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When Helen of Sparta is seven years old, the sibyl at Delphi prophesies she will start a war in which many Greeks will die. King Tyndareus and Queen Leda, stricken with panic, keep their younger daughter in seclusion, discouraging rumors that Zeus is her real father. To marry her off quickly, they spread word that Helen is the most beautiful woman in the world. But because Helen fails to invoke Aphrodite when choosing a husband, her marriage to Menelaus of Mycenae is passionless. The fickle goddess finally hears Helen's pleas, yet Aphrodite's powers affect only Paris, a visiting Trojan prince, with whom Helen immediately falls in love. When the pair elopes one night to Paris' affluent homeland, it precipitates a war destined to last 20 years, one that Menelaus' restless and greedy brother, Agamemnon, has been itching to fight. Only George, reigning queen of the epic fictional biography, could render Helen's story with all the emotion, grandeur, and tragedy it deserves. Her characters are precisely crafted, and the lovely Helen, clear-eyed and intelligent, is a sympathetic narrator. Despite the novel's length, the pages practically turn themselves. An absorbing retelling of the classic Trojan War myth, and a sobering look at the utter futility of trying to change one's fate. --Sarah Johnson Copyright 2006 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

George (Mary, Called Magdalene) depicts with bravado, grace and eloquence the grand spectacle surrounding Helen of Troy. The author's research into Mycenaean culture, coupled with Trojan War mythology's larger-than-life heroes, enliven a bold story pulsing with romance and sacrifice, omens and battles. Helen's noble Spartan parents try to defy the fates when a seer foretells the tragedy Helen and her legendary beauty will cause, but, as the myth of Helen demonstrates, destiny cannot be altered. Helen's years of seclusion in Sparta lead to a frigid marriage to Menelaus before she connects with Paris, the Trojan prince with whom she forges an inextricable bond. Barely into her 20s, Helen escapes with Paris to Troy, but finds the Trojan royals welcome her with less than open arms. The mythic war, which, in less capable hands, might be over-romanticized, is portrayed with an enthusiasm that rings true to the period without verging on stagy-no small feat when dealing with such a sweeping conflict. George's extraordinary storytelling abilities shine in her portrayal of Helen as both a conflicted woman who abandoned her homeland and child for true love, and as a legendary figure whose beauty and personal choices had epic consequences. (On sale Aug. 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her fifth novel, George (Mary, Called Magdalene) does for Helen of Troy what she's done for other women of greater legendary stature than historical basis, e.g., Mary Queen of Scots and Cleopatra. In explaining her approach to this book's mythical context, George writes in her author's note that there is no evidence of Helen's existence at all; even the classical references are hotly debated. She does not change the time-honored story line in any significant way, but she does make some alterations, fleshing out or adding certain incidents for the sake of pacing and character development. Another recent treatment of Helen of Troy, also written in the first person and generally sympathetic as well, is Amanda Elyot's Memoirs of Helen of Troy. The two are fine companions and are different enough to both be rewarding reads. Although each is romantic, George's book is much more so, and her ending is decidedly upbeat for a story typically treated as tragedy. This will hit the book-club circuit with promised publicity and reading guides, so buy accordingly for your audience. For all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/06.]-Mary Kay Bird-Guilliams, Wichita P.L., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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