Helen of Troy

Genre: Fiction; Author: Margaret George; Publisher: Viking

Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships, some fine epic poetry, and now a fat novel by the author of 2002’s Mary Called Magdalene. While there’s nothing spectacularly wrong with Margaret George’s earnest novel, she doesn’t bring enlivening wit or insight to the job. George’s Helen is a humble girl who happens to be the radiantly beautiful daughter of Zeus and Spartan queen Leda. She marries chilly, unfaithful Menelaus (who disappoints her in the bedchamber), then elopes with dreamy Paris (who doesn’t), and inadvertently starts the Trojan War. The mythical adulteress thus becomes the sympathetic heroine of an inoffensive historical romance.

Originally posted August 11 2006 — 12:00 AM EDT

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