REVIEW: Troy by Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry provides lively commentary in this retelling of the Trojan war.

Following on from his retellings of the Greek Heroes and Greek Myths, Stephen Fry turns his attention to the epic story of Try and its down fall, bringing to life the key characters and moments of the war from start to finish.

Told with his customary sense of humour and intelligence, Stephen Fry really brings to life the background to the war and how Paris’s impulsive and vain nature managed to help bring about the down fall of a city that was supposed to be unbreakable.

As he unravels the story, Fry understands just how tangled the build up to the war it is – particularly when it comes to the sheer volume of key characters involved not least Achilles, Odysseus, Ajax, Agamemnon and of course the Greek Gods who watched it all unfolding. It switches points of view with great ease to offer a comprehensive insight into this famous story.

While it would probably have been easier for Fry to concentrate on the war itself, which of course has plenty of drama and bloodshed in itself, for those who are new to this world it is reassuring to see that he has gone further back in time. Troy goes into great detail relating the history of the city and beyond. Meanwhile, the way in which he constantly reassures the reader they don’t need to remember every name, while adding explanatory notes to the bottom of pages certainly makes it easier to digest.

Throughout it all, the author is a fabulous guide, helping the reader navigate through the complexities of the story – particularly when it comes to family trees which soon become tangled up. The book gets the balance of the traditional heart of the story right, while adding a contemporary twist that makes you see how elements of the story of Troy can act as a warning for our times.

While it is certainly engaging to read, there are times in the book where Fry breaks away from the narrative to put in an additional comment which can break up the flow of the story slightly and be a bit distracting.

This aside, it is a lively and entertaining retelling of this famous story and is worth a read for anyone who is perhaps not ready to read Homer’s The Iliad.

By Emma Clarendon

Troy by Stephen Fry is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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