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Shield of Thunder

by David Gemmell

Reviewed by Coral

Games are being held in Troy to honor the upcoming marriage of Andromache and Hektor. Under the law, old grievances and disputes are to be put aside for their duration. But with tensions growing between Troy and Mykene, both Priam and Agamemnon plan on using this time to try and eliminate their enemies while securing new alliances.

But it is not just the tension brewing between the two nations that the Games' guests will have to contend with. Andromache's priestess lover has fled the safety of Thera to save Andromache from a vision of death, threatening to bring the wrath of the Minotaur to all who aid her. After the failed Mykene raid on Troy, Agamemnon had ordered all survivors executed, but two soldiers escaped the bloodshed and, unknowingly, bring their conflict right to Troy's walls. And the truth of who ordered the assassination of Helikaon's father will finally be revealed, threatening to turn one of the greatest warriors from a friend into an enemy of Troy.

I have been putting off reading this book for awhile. When I heard about his death, I didn't want to read the last books David Gemmell had written, so I let them work their way through my pile instead of reading them right away like I normally do for authors I like. I was worried that the books wouldn't live up to expectations I had built in my head.

On the whole I enjoyed the book. I liked how Gemmell worked the myth of Troy into the history of the ancient world around it, fitting it in with what was happening in Egypt and the lands of the Hittites, which doesn't always happen with stories about Troy.

I also like the way he played with the myth, using the characters, but giving them a different history or a different part to play in the story of Troy.

I'm used to reading long books (500+ pages) so I don't think that it was just because this book was over 600 that it took a while for me to read. It felt really slow moving for a good portion of the book and then the action moved into overdrive for the last portion.

Given that there are so many characters in the myth of Troy, I really don't understand why there had to be two new/original characters introduced into the story (at least, I'm assuming they are new. I don't know the name of every single character that appears in the original story of Troy). Sometimes I felt that Banokles and Kalliades took away more from the story than the added to it.

It's been awhile since I read the first book and I feel like I remembered most of the details from the story so I wasn't lost this time around, but the only thing I can't remember is if we learned what Helikaon's real name was last time. Because if not, it was revealed in such an off-handed way, it was kind of odd.

I've had a lot of trouble thinking of a rating for this book that isn't biased. I enjoyed it on the same level as other books I've rated 'A', though I had a couple more issues with it than other 'A' books. I have no idea if I want to rate it 'A' only because Gemmell's my favourite author, or if I am being more critical of it because they were his last books.

Grade: B