by Glyn Iliffe
Glynn is giving away a copy so if you want to be in it, comment here on the post at the end!
Historical fiction is full of novels about Rome, but there's not so much written about that other incredible classical civilisation – Greece. So it was with great pleasure I found out Glyn Iliffe's new book was finally about to be released. And not only that, I managed to get an advance copy of it!
Is it any good? Well, there have been three books in the series so far: King of Ithaca, The Gates of Troy and The Armour of Achilles and, in my opinion, all of them have been worth five stars, so there's a lot riding on this. Blending well-researched history with fantastic action equals a great series so far and I can happily tell you The Oracles of Troy is every bit as good as its predecessors.
Opening where the previous book left off, it doesn't take long to get into the action, with Odysseus using his fabled cunning to persuade an old acquaintance to join their Trojan war effort. This aspect of Odysseus's character is something that must be rather difficult to write – thinking up clever ideas all the time – but Iliffe has managed it superbly throughout the series and it really does add an interesting dimension to a genre that is often just about kicking ass and taking no prisoners.
That said, there's plenty of asses kicked in The Oracles of Troy as the war, finally, comes to a close with the Greeks building their legendary Trojan Horse (I won't go into detail in case I spoil the plot for anyone but really...everyone knows what happens right?!)
With a series like this, when the plots and characters are so well known and loved, it has to be a hard task to write them while retaining a sense of tension, suspense and excitement but have no fear, the book is a joy to read from beginning to end.
If there's a downside at all, it's the fact that Odysseus somehow manages to get everything right all the time but that's a trait of the source material and anyone reading the novel will know that anyway. This isn't straight historical fiction after all – realism isn't as important here as it is to someone like Bernard Cornwell – Oracles of Troy has fantasy elements to it as well and, if a Goddess happens to appear to our heroes to help them out of a tricky situation, great.
By the last page we are left with the next book nicely set-up – I just hope it doesn't take as long to get out as this one did!
This Review is by Steve McKay
Author of Wolf's Head