Fall of Kings

by David and Stella Gemmell

Reviewed by Coral


War has come to the plains of Troy. Behind its walls, the citizens have a measure of safety, for now. The longer the war lasts, the greater the risk of starvation. But despite of the size of his enemies' armies, King Priam remains confident that Troy will prevail; with the Trojan Horse on land and the Xanthos at sea - and with the prophesized Eagle Child by his side - how can they lose?

For the most part, I did enjoy this book, although I did have some issues with it.

There were a couple of parts, especially near the beginning, that I thought were unnecessary. The series had been building to the war/siege for two books already, I didn't need even more page space devoted to useless action before getting into the meat of the story.

That being said, I could have done with less actual battle scenes. Pages and pages of and then he turns and cuts down this guy while almost being stabbed but not because someone saves him, it all gets a little repetitive.

I wish that there could have been more time spent on the characterizations of the Mykene characters. Menelaus and Ajax were just names on the pages, they weren't really a part of the story at all. Achilles and Patroclus had a little glimmer of their own personalities, but something was missing. And I don't just mean that Achilles and Patroclus were just friends in the story, because I had expected it (though was still disappointed by it) but not enough time was spent on either of the characters for me to really accept Achilles' actions leading up to his big duel as an organic part of his character as presented in these novels.

With Agamemnon, it's more of an overall complaint. I wish I could read one book or see one movie when he wasn't a completely unlikable figure. I wish I could find just one balanced version of him where he was relatable and understandable. At least he had more depth than most of the other Mykene characters, although we were told often enough that he was a strategic mastermind and then weren't given all that much evidence to back it up. True, there were a couple of the plans that were his that were pretty good and one near the end that the other characters credit to Odysseus that I'm sure was Agamemnon's, but there was still a disconnect between what was said about him and what he was able to accomplish.

The story stayed pretty faithful to the myth in regards to who lived and who died for the most part. Although, there were 2 characters who survived the novels when they didn't survive in the myth. It may have been a sadder ending, but I wish that they would have died in the books as well, because they're survival was a little too Hollywood-movie, farfetched happy ending for me.

The wrap up of the novel, post-war, really shocked me and I was both happy and unhappy with it. Happy, because I didn't expect it to happen until about 5 pages before it did (and I like unexpected twists at the end); unhappy because it felt too pat an ending.

Still, I did enjoy the book, probably more than it sounds like I did.

Grade: B