The Fall Of Troy

Hisarlik - photo by Adam Carr, released under the GNU Free Documentation License
Like many of Peter Ackroyd's novels The Fall of Troy is based on real events and people. The language is much simpler than many of his ealier novels such as English Music, but that actually seems to make the events that Ackroyd describes more powerful. The novel is based on the life of the discoverer of Troy Heinrich Schliemann. Quite how closely it was based I was flabbergasted to discover after finishing the novel. It would have been very helpful to have had a prologue or some additional notes that explained this in more detail. It's one of those novels where the events often seem completely unlikely, but in this case turn out to be unbelievably true.

Sophia Chrysanthis marries Obermann (the Schliemann character) and moves from Athens to Hisarlik, the site of Troy. Obermann is completely obsessed with his Homeric vision of Troy, and refuses to believe any archaeological evidence that contradicts his own vision. It is a compelling tale about obsession, and of reason versus belief. Enthralling, it's a sure-fire way of getting you to revisit Homer again, and take another look into the adventurous world of Victorian archaeology.


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