To quote the eminent philosopher and all around wise man, Homer Simpson, “I like stories.” I especially like good stories and this series by Glyn Iliffe is magnificent. The Oracles of Troy is the 4th book in this engaging tale of Odysseus and his fictional captain, Eperitus and the ten year war between the Greeks and the Trojans. The war is basically a stalemate in this tenth year and the Greeks are losing heart and long for their homeland; a homeland that is becoming increasingly more chaotic without the kings and leaders there to govern. This is especially true in the kingdom of Ithaca where Odysseus’ wife Penelope is barely keeping a group of ambitious nobles from taking the reins away from the rightful ruling family. Enter the three oracles, the pieces needed for a Greek victory and the tale of how Odysseus and companions go about to fulfill the three conditions given by the gods.
The author, not only in this book but in the whole series, does for the myths and stories of Odysseus in the same manner that Mary Renault does for Theseus in The King Must Die, etc, though in this case the supernatural intervention of the gods, in particular Athena is much in evidence. Mr. Iliffe does a masterful job of humanizing the Homeric heroes while allowing the gods to have their place as well. These mythic, larger than life characters are portrayed with all of their doubts, worries, ambitions and faults. We have a tale not only of the glory and honor of battle and war but the human failings of betrayal and greed; the human feelings of love and desire. This is a wonderful telling of a wonderful tale. 5 stars and a hearty Hoover Book Review recommendation.
P.S. I inquired of the author of a possible 5th book to chronicle Odysseus’ journey home…am happy to say that it is in the works. 🙂