Blog Book Tour | “A Song of War: A Novel of Troy” by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield

Posted Thursday, 3 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “A Song of War” direct from the publisher Knight Media in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title interested me to read:

When it comes to Helen of Troy, the Trojan War and Greek Myths such as The Iliad, you could say I took an about-face course of action whenever these subjects were broached in school. I did not see a need to change that status until recently, when an opportunity to read an anthology collection based on the Trojan War appeared in my blog tour folder. I will say, the Trojan War fascinated me when I was younger (as I loved studying key moments in History; a budding History buff & appreciator of war dramas in fiction) however, it was Helen herself that keenly intrigued me. I wanted to take the discussion in school to a deeper level than the bare bone facts and trivia soundbites, but alas, my peers were not as keen as I was on that front, and thus, I grew bored. The trend for me is that once I turnt bored on a topic or subject in school, I simply tuned it out. Frustrating to my teachers but I was more vexed how tediously repetitive and superficial most discussions were and how ironic my classmates were never bored.

One of the reasons I love reviewing anthologies (previously I’ve spent more attention on seeking out Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror anthologies!) is the nature of how you get the proper chance to ‘meet’ multiple authors, or renew interest in ones you already know and appreciate. Sometimes it’s a mix of the two, if you read successive anthologies and find the same authors are represented and/or if in this instance, you find the happy surprise of a historical author you appreciate is included (for me, this would be Stephanie Thornton).

I approach reviewing anthologies differently than novels – for me, it’s seeking out the stories contained in the anthology that garnished the most connection to the context, character and timescape. If this were SF/F/H I would also be focused on the layering of thematic or the depth of the world-building. With my readings of Troy, I was looking for the aesthetics of the era, the general cohesiveness of how the time was represented and of course, the clarity shining through the point-of-view of the lead and supporting characters.

The best part of anthologies is never knowing how many of the stories you’ll feel wholly enthused about reading nor which story stands out in the end. It’s like a grab bag of literary gold – each story has the chance to touch your heart and imagination – but will it?! And, if so, why!? I also like reading biographies or Appendixes in anthologies – my ARC copy included Author Notes but was re-missive on the Introduction by Glyn Iliffe. Thankfully I let my fingers do the walking and I found it included in the “behind the book” preview on Amazon. The blessing for me, it was only a short paragraph and not a few pages, as reading length digitally is not something I can do.

Imagine then, my wicked joy in descending into this historical anthology – dearly curious on my own behalf of which author would etch such a strong impression as to leave me even more full of wonder about the Trojans, Helen and a period of history that still paints a fever pitch of interest in today’s modern literary world.

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Blog Book Tour | “A Song of War: A Novel of Troy” by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell WhitfieldA Song of War
Subtitle: A Novel of Troy

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781536931853

on 18th October, 2016

Pages: 483

Originally Published By: Knight Media
Available Formats: Paperback

Converse via: #HistFic, #Illaid + #HTeam

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My review of A song of war:

{ am electing to highlight the stories within the anthology

which piqued my interest the most out of the seven offered inside }

Anthologies enrich my reading curiosities tenfold it’s still true – but this is one of the first times I’ve had the chance to read a Historical Anthology and the first time I’ve reviewed one!

As the Introduction wasn’t included in my ARC, I was cheeky enough to remember Amazon lets you take a peek inside a novel ahead of purchase. Ergo, I was blessed to read the Introduction but I was further compelled to realise each author who left behind an Author’s Note would make my reading hours more enjoyable by reading their notes ahead of reading their ‘song’ (i.e. each short story is called a ‘song’ in this collection).

I was never truly certain myself where mythos and historical fact diverted or co-merged when it comes to the Trojans – this is part of my own interest in reading about them. To see what a writer can spin together out of their own personal research and present a unique perspective on the events as only they could tell it. This collection is unique in of itself, as within the Introduction we gleam that although each ‘song’ is a one-off it has connective threads into the next ‘song’ in sequence before percolating into a fuller view of what the authors left behind. I am unsure if I will read each ‘song’ in full but I always start an anthology at the beginning and make my way to the end. Sometimes I read half of a short before something ‘throws me’ out of the narrative (oft-times that is either explicit vulgarity or violence) or it simply is written a bit ‘darker’ than I’d prefer it to be read. We each have our own compass to guide us in our readerly adventures and the beauty of anthologies is that more times than naught, I find there are authors who pen short stories that appeal to each of us in turn. We might not all love the whole anthology we’re reading but there are elements and pieces of it’s heart that will never fully leave us; even if we stopped in the middle of one, bits of that story will keep with us.

I definitely agreed with the sentiment that Historicals should be limited to fact but are in theory open to creative liberties and licences – as much as I love History, I think I would implode a bit on the gritty and hard realities of historical eras without a bit of gloss or lightening up to where it’s not just enjoyable to read, but you can find the heart and spirit of the era and her people without feeling as if you travelled with such a guttingly brutal roadmap as to need to take an extended holiday away from reading #HistFic. I prefer my Historicals to be rooted in historical fact but where a writer wants to take me after setting down the foundations of their narrative is completely up to them! I’m not a hard-noser on details – to where I cannot accept a few faux pas or creative time augmentations to help a plot move without the constrict confines of living history. Ergo I was quite delighted to read this anthology was written by writers who love reading stories in Historicals with the same joy I have in my own heart!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via| “The Prophecy (Song Two)” by Stephanie Thornton |

ON the Author’s Notes:

I was not surprised that Ms Thornton latched onto an unknown woman from History (in this case Cassandra, the twin sister of Hellenus) as this is what I love most about her personal Historical style. She finds ways to entreat and impart chronicles of the historical past through lesser known women of whom were pivotal in their own rights to the events of History itself. I understood from her notes that this particular woman was living a doomed fate even before she had the chance to sort out how to live; such tragedy does beget one to consider how to honour the life lived whilst honing in on the woman who had a stacked mountain of adversities alighting on her path. What I thought was quite incredible is how Thornton saw Cassandra – the woman rather than the plague of ill that sieged her; drawing out her essence from the pin pricks of what was left behind.

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.

Site | @StephMThornton

Cassandra’s voice is strong in this short exploration of her life; betwixt between fate, family and duty to inform others of what her visions speak of the future, I found her to be refreshingly re-envisioned as a woman of strength. Her curious mind was nimbly brought to life as the curiosity of a child who never outgrew their zest to examine the unknowns; as an adult, she was melancholic a bit about what was taken from her previously (a collection of insects) but her heart for pondering the larger aspects of life, death and predestination remained. Hers was an interesting thread of the story, as she was Hellenus’s twin, but she did not have a voice as resounding as his due to the nature of her blessed gift.

A credit to Thornton for always finding a way to etch us straight inside the internal mind of the women she highlights, she gives you an immediacy of connection to where it’s hard to put down the story her pen has inked out. Each section of this story was fuller than it’s yield of words and for that I was quite grateful to have found it! She has a knack for writing Ancient History that makes it ideally suited for my modern appetite for dramatic historical literature. I love the tone of her narratives but moreso, I like how she approaches how she writes the stories themselves. She gives you an emotional connection and an interpersonal connection to her characters, whilst endearing you to their timescape in a drinkable and reasonable fashion of familiarity.

Cassandra’s attachment to her cat was amusing, as like most companions in fur, he could take or leave his mistress’s attentions. He was her confidante whilst trying to wrangle out why she was blessed with First Sight and anguished against the hatred of her family and society for never believing she was anything but cursed. He heard her internal fears and the fortitude of her spirit not to waver in her own belief that her visions were forewarnings and not the onset of a psychological meltdown.

She internalised so much due to what befell her mind; she turnt to cutting if only to bleed out a bit of her pain but the emotional angst of having foreknowledge not even her father would attest as being true is what slowly wound itself like a coil around her soul. She could only turn to her brother, Hellenus who took her under his wings to protect even if he was not as sure about her gift as she would hope. The events were swift moving like a flooding river when Helen arrived in Troy; even at that ill-fated celebration she tried to speak the truth of the hour, only to be refuted and silenced. How she found strength to move forward out of despair is telling of her character; she continued to seek out her own solace even when everything felt indifferent to her needs and the truth lurking inside her mind.

Cast aside from her siblings and celled like a common criminal, Cassandra slowly dove into a spiral of despair only relieved by Hellenus on his return. He saw her self-inflictions and the depictions of the pending war drawn in her own blood; but his greatest concern was for her well-being. To bring back the lifeblood of her spirit and to see if he could find a way to relieve the pain she felt to deeply as to harm herself. Even her cat had fallen to death and she was unable to accept this without the ache of loss that consumed her sanity.

Odysseus entertained Cassandra’s word play exchange when he led a rescue party to secure Helen back to Sparta, but the exchange of dialogue seemed to outrage his travelling companion Ajax. Their temperaments could be no more different than night or day. Odysseus saw the truth in her foresight, and it matched his own misgivings about how war could wick into sight faster than a candle could be extinguished. In the months that would come since this conversation, she would find only a few would believe her earnest declarations to seek peace before war. Even Helen surprised her in giving her a clue towards being a willing party to the deception and the imbalance of peace. Her father was more mad than she was perceived, placing his pursuit of power and greed ahead of the well-being of his flock.

Thornton found a passage of entry through a woman’s despite plea to save her countrymen only to find that whispers of the pending doom she knew so well to be true where against the tides of where history was fated to take them. She struggled and rallied as hard as she could but still; those precognitive horrors could not be abated. Thornton takes you into that chaos and delivers a story that honours Cassandra whilst showing how maddening it was to be the only sane voice of reason.

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| “The Bow (Song Five)” by Libbie Hawker |

ON the Author’s Notes:

Even before I read her notes, I was wicked happy reading about her publishing journey in her biography to run concurrent to my own thought on how I wish to pursue publishing in the future. In her notes, I loved how she felt she might be the one who wasn’t quite prepared to write a piece to befit the anthology – as this is similar to how I felt when I first stated to read the anthology! Not quite prepared and way out of my readerly depth to understand a lot of what was going on as I’m under-read as much as she is in Greek Mythology! This in of itself made me even more curious to read her short story – to see how someone similar to me might have approached the character they chose to highlight!

What truly interested me in her story is how she embraced what I call Equality in Literature – by highlighting a story-line of LGBTQIA Fiction of a strong warrior who owned his living truth but did not let his sexuality define him. I agreed with her how oft-times sexuality overtakes a person’s life’s story; how they can never be seen outside of their sexual preference and are oft seen through stereotypes rather than their authentic selves. IN that moment, I smiled as it reminded me why I loved reading Catherine Ryan Hyde’s The Language of Hoofbeats. (see also Review)

I also earmarked to mind to remember to seek out her Mercer Girls novel as it fits within the readings I’ve had this year of Feminist Historical Fiction.  A pursuit I want to continue in 2017.

Libbie Hawker was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

Site | @LibHawker

I wanted to share a small quotation at the very start of this short story, however, when I checked the copyright page on the finalised version (in Amazon’s preview) I saw there wasn’t the standard disclosure of ‘short excerpts for reviews’ included, thus I omitted including the quote here as that is a way of publishers and authors to let book reviewers know they can use a small quote in their reviews (something I continue to confirm each time I quote from a book). It was such a pivotal way of cluing you into the emotional angst of the character, I felt it was fitting to share – therefore, if you pick up this anthology read the first sentences of this short and know the words that ‘held me locked into this short at hallo!’ The irony is that this is one of the few ARCs I’ve come across without a declaration of copyright nor a notation about quoting for reviews.

Penthesilea is my kind of woman – a seasoned rider, a free spirit and a someone who embraces being out in the wind and sun. She had an athletic nature within her heart and a pure sense of adventure awakening her soul. Even if her joy was overclouded by the shadows of loss, she endured. I loved how Hawker drew us into an eclipse of Penthesilea’s mood and the heartache of the land she’s watched torn to bits by war and the emptiness of how time has moved forward but what was lost is all but a figment of her memories. You can feel the vortex of her angst and the anxiety of how to put right out of what cannot be reasoned logical. In full measure, you understand the scope of her pain and anguish even without all the details revealled through her point of view. You can feel it instead.

Her assault on Troy by horseback was a perspective I enjoyed; most of the other entries took to the sea and to the ships, but riding so close to the Earth presented a new viewing on the landscape. A warrior true to her core, Penthesilea has no love loss for Troy; as how could she when you realise this was all conceived out of the theft of Sparta’s King’s wife? I was a bit surprised she was Helen’s cousin, but then, much of the Trojan War era is fraught with idiosyncrasies, deceptions and ironies.

Dearly close to her sister Hippolyte, the stark realisation of her her sister died by her own hand (though in error) all but crushed her soul. She had ridden to Troy (in self-exile) against the wishes her parents (who had forgiven her) to seek solace in offering herself to Helen. To protect a cousin and to find redemption for her spirit; for how can you forgive yourself such an adverse reality? How could she have erred so greatly? Was it the wind or was it something else that caused her spear to re-angle itself? Like many before her the scars of battle would not easily wring themselves out of her memories.

Cassandra is a waft of the woman she once were – so beaten down by the fires of her mind affirmed in the realities of how war did destroy Troy and her family; she glides like a shadow, seeing no one and only residing in her own world. Andromache is here as well – fiery mad at realising how well Cassandra knew what was to become their fate, scorned into resentment for not giving the woman more pause and nettling the nerves of Helen, of whom dismisses her out of hand. This scene is the one Penthesilea has arrived upon, without knowing how it would affect her own path. Troy wasn’t completely in ruins at this point in time, but enough had happened to have the city quake on uncertain ground.

Odysseus summoned Philoctetes to Troy; to understand what he knew of arrows and warfare but what struck me more is how Odysseus was the one in charge of the battle! He was somber when Cassandra had told him of the pending war (in Song Two) but I had a feeling even then he would go into war as best he could to fight despite his aversion to accept the fate being swung towards his hand. Philoctetes, however, was pulled out of retirement so to speak, as he was on a healing sabbatical. His fate was nearly tied to Helen’s as there was a draw of suitors he had been graced to dodge. This is where Odysseus is seen as being a fore-thinker of how to effect change and to guide events forward even without hinting that his intentions were well-planned. His heart was directed to another – as he found himself struck by Achilles’s love arrow but it had to remain unresolved.

Despite his confidence as an archer, Philoctetes wavered in his confidence of his age – of if he had what he needed in body to endure what was asked of him now. What was further interesting is the man who turnt his eye on Cassandra as a seer is now center-fold involved in this part of the story! Chryses was such a cruel-hearted man who did not believe another could be given the give of First Sight; although he did lose one of his eyes, which disgustingly was one of Cassandra’s cherished treasures. (Cassandra kept a morbid collection of ‘artifacts’ which helped others disprove her visions and consider her truly mad.)

I appreciated how Philoctetes was more grounded than those around him; how he disproved the hero worshiping of Hercules and how he was just as ordinary of a man as the hero before him. Odysseus was seeking a quick win and turn of victory; Philoctetes merely wanted to stay in retirement, which gave the best antihero quality of all. Philoctetes was understated and felt it was duty and honour that gave him the most joy in being an archer, not the laurels of what those deeds could grant him instead. Even he knew the truer story of Hercules as that was how he was bestowed the man’s bow; he was there with him in death. You could feel the heaviness of Philoctetes memories and the overwhelming sorrow still affecting his heart.

Achille’s shown in a different light here – how he would have preferred death over life, whereas Penthesilea only sought a way to avenger her sister’s untimely death. Neither of them were happy with where their path had taken them, each living with a darkening cloud over their heads. Only one took a sharp exit by the hand of the other, giving a newfound agony to the one still standing. This is the part of the story that held me in such rapt attention – how three people: Philoctetes, Penthesilea and Achille’s were each seeking redemption and were unable to resolve everything whilst they were alive.

Small Fly in the Ointment:

Although vulgarity is a given in most Historicals, I still find them a blight in the midst of narrative that can hold it’s own without it’s inclusions. There was a strong phrasing against Helen, which has merit (how could not? she was Troy’s undoing!) but I would have prepared it phrased slightly differently as I find that one word to harsh to be of use. I am unsure why it had to be continuously peppered through the story as I felt the narrative was strong and emotionally convicting enough without it.

Hawker found a way to hone in on the human condition of self-doubt and redemptive honour to pursue a way to right any wrong that had appeared on the pathway of a warrior’s life. She found a way to emotionally draw light to lives which were burdened by war and anguished through sorrow.

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| “The Fall (Song Seven)” by Sja Turney |

ON the Author’s Notes:

I enjoyed reading his notes, as it not only showed the culmination of this anthology’s soul but it showed how in particular, his character of choice Aeneas has descendants affected in the previous two anthologies by the H Team! I agreed with him about the wicked brilliance of having organic continuity and a continuation of a family legacy. His take on how to approach his short was interesting as he talked about the differences between Homer and Virgil. As I’ve never read either of their accounts, I thought it was keen that he stuck to his instincts, writing a story he felt could bridge the gap between where the Trojan War era began and where it rightfully ended; embraced by Greek culture and a fading glow of the old beliefs.

Sja Turney lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.

Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.

These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.

Site | @SJATurney

This short begins with an ode of Troy’s historic ending by Aeneas himself, wherein the events that led to Troy’s demise are spoken through the voice of the last Prince of the great city itself. The sombering tone of his recollective thoughts notwithstanding, he tells of what is happening right now in Troy, on the heels of ashes as the city crumbles around him past recognition. Aeneas is haunted by dreams of Hector who is attempting to forewarn him and of his own mind, realising what he is observing is warning enough without the addition of Hector. He’s observed so much change and such radical disparity that it would make a lesser man quaver in his boots.

The sad bit is that when the horse was presented to Troy (the one that fell their fate) they took it as a great treasure to be showed off with appreciation. They were too exhausted by the war to think any further ill will would befall their souls and when it came time to celebrate the end of all that consumed them, the warnings of what was happening was unheard. It reminded me a bit of how the warnings of Titanic were overlooked – as whenever attention is diverted, caution and alarm go unnoticed. So too, would this be the fate of Troy. In that fateful moment, Aeneas and Cassandra were the only ones who saw the truth. He was forewarned by Hector to leave Troy, a reality he did not want to accept but Cassandra encouraged him to embrace. What else could they do? The city was all but destroyed – their internal hope to survive unfounded. Except this isn’t the course he took – he foolishly felt he could upset the tidal wave of Troy’s destruction.

The end of Troy is well told in this short, given levity at times to the gravity of the situation – especially when Odysseus and Aeneas share a reprieve together. It was in this conversation that the humanity is restored and an olive leaf of peace is exchanged. It’s a beautiful passage of where war might strike to erase humanity’s grace but humans themselves can decide how war ends; sometimes even by finding a way to re-instill the hope of the future, where peace will prevail.

I want to re-read this ending once more, as it was such a beautiful anchour to the anthology and I felt honoured Troy in a way that befit the men and woman who were merely pawns in a scheme that undid their legacy. They were unable to champion the chaos but their spirit shines on and their bravery will forever endure their loss.

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Thoughts on the Author’s Notes on the stories during my first reading required further reading to fully soak inside but of whose notes were enjoyable introductions to their reasons for exploring their characters & being a part of the anthology. I appreciated each of their notes in turn!

| “The Apple (Song One)” by Kate Quinn |

ON the Author’s Notes:

I loved how the author felt she had more freedom of choice to create a story she could carry into a new realm of existence due to the nature of the subject being the Trojan War. Until now, I had not realised how long the war carried on for nor how much there is to drink in about this warring time in history; or is it simply but a dream spun out of mythology!? We most likely will not find out the answer to that mystery but can endeavour to learn more by what is known.

I understood where Ms Quinn was coming from when she mentioned film adaptations due not always authentically represent the historical persons they are conveying. However, in the case of Claudette Colbert playing Cleopatra, I took this more akin to watching a play as in theatre everyone plays different roles including alternative cultural histories than their own. I do agree there should be more honest representations in both literature, film, and art in general – but sometimes I think those who write those stories are not realising what they are missing by changing too much of the living reality.

I found her commentary on this writing project to tickle my funny bone – as just to contemplate nine continents and multiple interfaces (none of which mentioned a land line) was true dedication for a passionate project such as this one! It reminded me in a way of the Round Robin story I recently highlighted via ChocLit, though not entirely for the reasons you might think; as theirs was a shorter story, told in five acts and not planned out in advance. What reminded me of this is how writers can merge their literary voice together, bringing together a thickening plot without knowing how each of them may or may not interpret all of the details and form a bridge into a story-line that is quite telling in the end!

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| “The Sacrifice (Song Three)” by Russell Whitfield |

ON the Author’s Notes:

It was such an oppressive opener – to read how a father chose to cast out his daughter against his own heart and soul? I agreed with Whitfield – how do you make this person appear anything but ruthless and cold-hearted? When he referenced Conan the Barbarian I wasn’t sure if I would feel akin to reading his short or skipping over it for another time; if then. I never was curious about Conan, and if his character Agamemnon even shared a sliver of his personality or temperament I wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit for me to read.

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| “The Duel (Song Four)” by Christian Cameron |

ON the Author’s Notes:

His notes were not included and thus I entered this story a bit blind and hoped for the best. As I was appreciating the notes as a guiding map towards understanding what was happening, why it was important and of course, the key players who would direct the story-line. This proved invaluable to someone like me who isn’t as well read in the Greek Mythos and wants to know a bit about what she’s about to read in this anthology. I realise this author’s notes were still being written ahead of the ARC being printed but I did miss reading his thoughts.

There is a quote ahead of his short story – by Sappho I wish had been translated. Of course it could have been translated in the finalised copy but in the ARC, all I had were symbols of a quotation I did not understand.

Although I started to read this short, the desparity of this character’s life and the vileness of her days, was so heartwrecking I decided this wasn’t a good time for me to read the story. It felt oppressively soul crushing and even though I realise the author embraced his character’s muse, I just felt so very sorry for Briseis.Perhaps one day I can re-read this and see what Ms Hawker saw as I liked what she had to say about this particular short; as it matched what I had hoped it would yield.

Here are the few words I can share about what I did read:

Briseis should be embittered but her voice is loud inside this short to declare the injustices against her, the path her life took during war and how embroiled she is to find sense of purpose out of chaos. Her freedom been denounced (a captive widow), enslaved and taken from one man to another; never cherished but expected to due their biddings.

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| “The Horse (Song Six)” by Vicky Alvear Shecter |

ON the Author’s Notes:

I was quite overjoyed finding out this short was featuring Odysseus, of whom I was appreciating getting to know as I followed my own passageway through this anthology. I am never one to fail to realise that my reading path is quite unique, as the stories I am most engaged with reading are the ones that set a foundation for future stories yet read. This was especially true in this anthology except for some reason, I fell out of step with this voice of his character. Not that he was acting against type per se, but something had changed from the Odysseus I was growing to know and this man who appeared next. I realise that the Greek Mythos is constantly evolving and the voice of the characters change  per each new writer, but for reasons I cannot explain I simply could not remain rooted inside this short. Although the language was a prickle of disinterest on my behalf, it wasn’t the full reason I left the short.

Here are the few words I can share about what I did read:

You can immediately sense how tired Odysseus is of dealing with men who are in love with themselves, and of the actions they can take without having any wrong affect them. He’s curated a well of thoughts he’d love to aspurge upon them but has always bit his tongue instead of lashing out at the insanity of how some of his men walk like Gods on Earth without a care of a whim for anyone but themselves. How he managed to get as far as he did without giving in to his first reactions is incredible! He took the higher road in many cases and sought to focus on what he needed to at hand rather than the grievances of his peers, who at times tried him past their due.

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Closing Thoughts:

I would love to seek out the two other anthologies by the H Team (perhaps next year?) as I would like to see how they approached writing “A Day of Fire” and “A Year of Ravens”. I have been wanting to expand my anthological readings, except to say, I consume so much historical fiction per year, the one genre I had overlooked seeking out was in fact: Historical Fiction! If I hadn’t been curious about the email that arrived about “A Song of War” I might not have realised what I have been missing!

Some of the stories I felt a bit behind (in knowledge) to understand properly or to insert myself directly into the drama of the hour. Some of the writers took a more pointed look at the situations from a more abrupt point-of-view and others I felt were a bit out of my depth as this is my entrance into reading Greek Mythos rather than a continuation of pursuit of mythology. I’ve had a healthy curiosity of the Gods & Goddesses of Greek Mythology but they were absent; only cast infrequently by a side mention here or there.

I appreciated the humanistic approach to conveying the humanistic journey and emotional conviction of both the Trojans and the Achaeans – as similar to the Egyptians, these figures of Ancient History can become a bit more than they were (inspired by lore, legend or embellishment of historical facts) and here, they are a firestone of life – in all it’s colourful depictions to be taken for who they were as they lived. This is something to celebrate because they feel honestly authentic, dynamically real and sensitive to perceptions and the changing tides of their century.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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Although dearly curious about Troy and this entire era of history, I must say, I was never quite as compelled to seek out a story set during this timescape until now. What draws your own eye into the goings-on during the Trojan War?!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “A Song of War”, book synopsis, author biographies, and the tour badge were all provided by HFVBTs (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Ruminations and Impressions Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 3 November, 2016 by jorielov in 12th Century BC, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Greece, Andromache (Hector's wife) of Troy, Anthology Collection of Stories, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, Equality In Literature, Feminine Heroism, Gods & Goddesses, Greek Mythology, Hector of Troy, Helen of Troy, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Military Fiction, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Paris of Troy, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Re-Told Tales, Short Stories or Essays, Siblings, The Bronze Age (Trojan War era), Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women of Power & Rule

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