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Troy: Fall of Kings by David Gemmell
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ballantine Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345477040
Date: 24 March 2009 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

[NOTE: We're re-running this review from our December 2007 issue.]

In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer tells of the fall of Hector and the voyages of Odysseus. The fall of Troy and the voyage of Aeneas were told by Virgil. Now these epochs have been reinvented by master story teller David Gemmel. Gemmell brings a view that the Trojan War was fought on a much grander scale and not just before the walls of Troy. As this trilogy has unfolded, he shares the stories of Odysseus that are the foundation for the stories of his adventures on his return from Troy. As the greatest heroes of the age of heroes battle; all of their faults and strengths lay bare. In this the final chapter of the Troy series all will be revealed, just maybe not in the way you expected.

The entire ancient world comes together in the final chapter. Characters travel all of the Mediterranean. A city dies, a people find freedom, and legends are born. All of the surviving characters continue to have their lives unfold.

The golden one, Aeneas the burner, sails towards his destiny and the founding of a legacy that will last a millennium. The woman he loves is unattainable and unavoidable. His son is all that remains, trapped in a besieged Troy. He struggles to find a way to be there at the end.

Priam is prophesied to outlive his sons. His wits nearly gone, he sends orders that cost Troy dearly and result in his own isolation and loss of power. One by one the sons of Priam fall; until only one remains to face the men of Mykene.

The warrior king, great deceiver, vile murderer; each describes Agamemnon king of Mykene. Having started on the path of conquest, he has no choice but to continue, for prosperity from conquest demands more conquest to just survive. He yearns for the fabled treasure of Troy and nothing will get in his way, except reality. Agamemnon's true character is shown during the epic battle between Hector and Achilles, the outcome of which you won't believe.

This is the final book in the Troy trilogy. Readers should plan to read the first two volumes, Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow (Troy) and Troy: Shield of Thunder first. Although the characters will be familiar to many people, they are not cardboard copies of Homer's and Virgil's characters. The stories are not exact duplications of their classic works. Lives and endings both take new paths.

I especially enjoyed how he was able to tie other historic occurrences into his tale. Expect to see biblical references and archaeological based explanations as the story unfolds and comes to its explosive conclusion. Readers by now should know who Gershom is in history. His path will be long and unending.

The king is dead, and there is no king to replace him. This final epic tale by David Gemmell is a culmination of his legacy. The fast pace and depth of the characters made this a pleasurable read. I found the book hard to put down. Readers will love and despise the ancient heroes brought to life in this volume. Too few authors bring their readers into the story, which is not a problem here. Gemmell's fresh approach to these well known stories, breathe new life into each character. His death leaves a gap in the realm of epic fantasy that will be hard to fill.

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