Daily Mail - - Books Fiction -

by Natalie Haynes (Man­tle £16.99, 368 pp)

The pun­ish­ing ten-year war which re­sulted in the sack of Troy at the hands of the Greeks was — al­legedly — brought about by Paris mak­ing off with the peer­lessly beau­ti­ful he­len, wife of the Greek Menelaus.

Greek mythol­ogy re­counts count­less ex­ploits of the he­roes, but what of the women? Of Pene­lope, who waited for Odysseus, or Iphi­ge­nia, slaugh­tered by her father Agamem­non? Or he­len her­self?

These fighters, wives and daugh­ters all too often formed part of the spoils of war — their fates were often equally as bru­tal and vi­o­lent. If they sur­vived, it was to be faced with trau­ma­tised men.

This qui­etly com­pul­sive and re­vi­sion­ist novel ex­tracts these women from the shad­ows. ‘Their story will be told,’ de­clares Cal­liope, the muse of epic po­etry, and Natalie haynes is the right author to do it.

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