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Helen is renowned as the most beautiful woman in the world. Her divine beauty will lead her to a lifetime of adventure--from her kidnapping at age 12, through an arranged marriage, to a passionate affair that will ultimately bring about the Trojan War.
Cassandra, the sister of Helen's true love, has the gift, or curse, to predict the future. When she foresees the ruin of her family and city, caused by Helen's arrival in Troy, she is outraged. Yet Cassandra cannot help being drawn to Helen, and as the war rages around them, the two young women develop a deep friendship.
Through their eyes, the classic tale of the Trojan War is retold in an immediate and fascinating way.
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Grade 8-10?What was it like to be the beauteous Helen of Troy, or to be Cassandra, the unappreciated visionary? This novel tries to offer some answers. It begins in the mind of 12-year-old Helen, abducted (but chastely treated) by Theseus, sought after by a dozen contentious suitors, married lovelessly to Menelaus, and finally?the only act in which she has not been completely passive?enthralled by passion in the form of Paris. If Helen, the victim of her own beauty and rank, is not exactly a heroine, Paris is far from a hero. He, too, is passive, blaming his actions on the will of the gods (particularly, Aphrodite), and is fonder of love and his own looks than he is of battle. Fortunately, almost two thirds of the novel is given to Cassandra. Her description of Helen as "bone sweet" does not, however, conform to the Helen we have met in Part I. Of course many readers will know the outcome of the story, but the accounts of battles, negotiations and stratagems, seen from within Troy, still manage to be suspenseful, and the ending is particularly deft. The writing is competent but not especially vivid and too often predictable; there is some clumsy exposition. Little differentiates the voice of Cassandra from the voice of Helen: both are misfits in their world, but their speech and thoughts lack individual identity. Nevertheless, the novel is carefully structured, there are some interesting historical details, and the idea of a woman's-eye view of The Iliad would seem timely. If this novel manages to introduce even a few more readers to the world of the ancient Greeks, it will be worth its shelf space.?Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A retelling of the Trojan War from the point of view of Helen and Cassandra never catches fire in this first novel. The story is told in the first person, in Helen's voice in part one, Cassandra's in part two. All the familiar names are present: the strutting, moody Achilles; steady Odysseus; winsome Penelope; and Paris, whose promise from Aphrodite starts it all. McLaren portrays Helen as ``bone sweet''--as lovable as she is beautiful--and Cassandra as tormented physically and emotionally by her visions of the future. Nearly all the action takes place offstage or in exposition, and the relationships among all the women, which are at the heart of the tale, are not fully realized or complete. Readers will be more engaged by these powerful Greek myths in Paul Fleischman's Dateline: Troy (p. 68). (Fiction. 12-15) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Laurel Leaf, 1998. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0440227496
Book Description Laurel Leaf, 1998. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0440227496
Book Description Laurel Leaf, 1998. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110440227496