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Helen of Troy

The two warriors nobly agree to decide the battle by single combat. Victory belongs to Achilles but it is short-lived. The Trojan prince Paris has watched the duel from behind the parapets of the city wall. Just as Achilles is about to storm the city, Paris, guided by the god Apollo, shoots an arrow that strikes Achilles in his one weak spot—his heel.

As an infant, his mother held Achilles by his heel as she dipped him in the River Styx, whose waters granted protection everywhere they touched. His heel remained dry, and therefore vulnerable to attack. To the horror of the Greeks, their hero dies. Ten years of grueling warfare suddenly seem futile to the assailants: The Greek commander, King Agamemnon, orders retreat. It is at this moment of desolation and defeat that Odysseus steps in with perhaps the most famous ruse de guerre in history.

Odysseus has the Greeks construct a huge and hollow wooden horse, which hides a small band of brave warriors. The Greek army fakes a retreat, sailing to a nearby island, and leaves the wooden horse on the beach as an offering.

Leonidas I

The Greek army, having returned under cover of darkness, will storm the city. The plan is risky and there are no second chances. As dusk descends, the Greeks drag the horse before the city walls and abandon the camp they have occupied for years. That night the only Greeks left on the beach are those hidden in the wooden horse and a stooge named Sinon. As dawn breaks the following morning, the Trojan sentries see deserted tents, dead animals, and doused fires. They also spot something else: a magnificent wooden horse.

King Priam orders the gates to be opened, and for the first time in a decade the Trojans were able to walk freely outside of their city—many flocked to admire the unusual offering. Enter Sinon, dramatically throwing himself at the mercy of the Trojans. He spins a story of having deserted the Greek ranks because they had chosen him to be a human sacrifice. Sinon assures his new friends that the horse is a gift to the gods to ensure a safe return journey home.

He adds that the horse has special powers and whoever possesses it will never suffer defeat. After a decade of war this news falls like rain on parched soil, and the Trojans lap it up. When his impassioned pleas are ignored, he hurls his spear against the horse and snakes surge from the sea to strangle him and his sons. Such dramatic divine intervention only reinforces the Trojan desire for the offering and soon the wooden horse is dragged within the walls. Even now, the Greek plan can go disastrously wrong, as Helen is also suspicious.

She approaches the horse, imitating the voices of Greek wives in an attempt to provoke a reaction from any lovesick warriors within.

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And yet still the danger of discovery has not passed. Cassandra, a Trojan princess, cries out that the horse is a ploy and that the city will be taken. But the gods seem to remain with the Greeks, for Cassandra has been doomed to never have her prophecies believed. The Trojans celebrate their victory and as the revelry fades they take to their beds. The Greeks slip silently from the wooden horse, kill the sentries, and fling open the gates to the waiting Greek army.

Her only solace is the promise from Aphrodite of a great love. Paris is not the spoiled prince. He is a noble prince of Troy, and a respected ambassador, but he is also a cursed man. A dark omen cursed his birth, claiming that he would lead to the destruction of Troy, leading his own mother to try and kill him. Scorned by this family and the other Trojan nobles, Paris has spent his life traveling as an ambassador, always far from home and never knowing love.

The guilt he feels because of this curse and the small kindness his father, Priam, has shown him in preventing his death, drives his desire to bring honor to Troy. When his father sends him to deliver a message to Agamemnon about the strength of Troy, it is with the promise that Paris might finally be allowed to remain in Troy upon his return. He is everything a great prince should be - handsome, brave, loyal - and his desire to overcome his fate is commendable. Because they are such likable characters, it makes the tragedy of their situation that much greater.

These two really are soul mates.

Helen of Sparta, ancient spartan makeup | [Antique] | Helen of troy, Ancient sparta, Ancient troy

Watching them try to fight their fate and feel trapped by their situations in life, made for all the angsty goodness that is a well written romance novel. The passion between these lovers makes for some steamy, but tastefully done love scenes. I found myself completely lost in their story, and even though I know the outcome, I can't help myself from hoping that maybe this time there could be a different ending for Helen and Paris.


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I have few criticisms of this novel, and fans of historical romances will be pleased. There were times when Aria used a more modern dialect that threw me out of the world of the story for a moment. Aria did such a good job with making sure the language she used fit within the context of the time period, that when there was a change in diction, it was quite obvious and jarring. It doesn't happen often, and could have been done for emphasis.

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When it did happen, for me, it was like the mental equivalent of a tree root one catches their foot on while walking down the street. It caused me to stumble, but I was quickly able to regain my balance and jump back into the story. My only other criticism is the somewhat cheesy cover. I know that you should never judge a book by its cover, but with so many options available, a good cover goes a long way. A good cover is nothing if there isn't any substance to back it up, but a good cover makes me more likely to pick a book up and read the synopsis, increasing its chances that I will adopt it and take it home.

I have to say that if I saw Princess of Sparta in a bookstore and knew nothing about it, I would have most likely passed it by. The cover is just too reminiscent of the cookie cutter romance novels that you can buy for a dime a dozen at Goodwill. And that would be a shame, because despite its cover, this book is worth your time.

I will be eagerly awaiting its release. Mar 03, Erlynn BooksHugBack rated it it was amazing. The Princess of Sparta: Heroes of the Trojan War by Aria Cunningham to be released in April was a romantic retelling of the events leading up to the famous epic the Iliad. Told with a female focus, I couldn't help but love this historical fiction and romance. It begins with Helen choosing a husband Menelaus and the aftermath of her decision, continues with the excitement of Prince Paris arriving in their kingdom and leaves off with Paris and Helen disembarking for Troy. Sometimes historica The Princess of Sparta: Heroes of the Trojan War by Aria Cunningham to be released in April was a romantic retelling of the events leading up to the famous epic the Iliad.

Sometimes historical fictions are hard for me to start if the story is already told. Straight up period pieces aren't so bad because the author merely places new characters inside a time in history. But when you already have a preconceived notion about the characters and their story, it can be difficult to jump in with an open mind to changes in the characters.

The question always is what will the author do to make it different and enjoyable? I didn't find it hard to enjoy The Princess of Sparta at all; in fact I loved it. I quickly found my ideas of Helen the bratty beauty fall away, and be replaced with a more female empowered version. What Cunningham quickly reminded me of, is that there are many sides to one story, and I might just prefer this romantic one the best!


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While reading, little historical gems were popping up everywhere for the history fan to revel in. Bull jumping from the island of Crete, the tholoi beehive tombs, and then all the characters from the Iliad which people sometimes forget about such as the sacrificial Iphigenia were there to give you historical glee.

You find yourself knowing what is going to happen to the characters, but you have fallen in love with them, and therefore wish for their fates to change. The romance was sweet and classy, but yet equally powerful to match the epic by which this love tale is based on. You will be sad to see it end so soon, but fear not for the sequel The Princess Betrayal: Heroes of the Trojan War comes out in Fall Mar 26, Alex Berg rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , romance.

The story follows the life of the famed Helen of Troy of Greek mythology and mainly focuses on the relationship between Helen and the Trojan prince Paris. As someone with a cursory knowledge of the mythology at the heart of this story, I think this reimagined version is both plausible based on the records we have and believable from a human perspective. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the storytelling.

The characters felt real and experienced emotions true to their environments. The settings were rich and vibrant, and the pacing was appropriate to the genre. Honestly, one of my biggest concerns as a non-romance reader was, Would this piece of historical fiction, which I already know the ending to, keep my interest? And the answer is yes, absolutely it does. Now, there are some issues with the novel.

My one issue with the story was a final scene between Helen and Clytemnestra that I found somewhat unnecessary and to a certain degree out of character for Clytemnestra , although I see why the author used it, as it helps convince Helen to accompany Paris. Feb 12, Sheila rated it really liked it Shelves: coming-of-age , cultural , historical , relationships , romance. Many myths build together into the picture, gently referenced and cut down to cruel human size. Meanwhile nicely researched history provides an authentic cultural backdrop.

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