A book by book review of this five part epic and one part blah!
King of Ithaca
This is the first in a series of 6 books based on the trials and tribulations of Odysseus, Greek Hero and all-round Legend! The story follows Eperitus, one of Odysseus soldiers and all-round fictional hero.
This story focuses on Prince Odysseus, becoming the King of Ithaca (hence the title) and introduces the Greek Legends, we’ve all heard of Agamemnon, Meneleus, Diomedes, Clytemnestra, Penelope, Ajax, Patroclus and of course Helen. Troy is mentioned but not in the way of the famous stories and this is a scene setter for the next 5 books. But what a way to set the scene,
Eperitus is a hero in the classic mould, honourable with a past that haunts him, a fighter, a friend and an outsider making a new life for himself. Odysseus has always been one of my favourite heroes and his whole story is a classic, so I’m looking forward to seeing Mr Iliffe’s take on this story.
I read this book several years ago but have decided to revisit it and work my way through all 6.
A great read and a fantastic introduction to Greek Mythology for those not that way inclined. Though it’ll take a lot to beat the TV Cartoon Ulysses 31 for a retelling of the story but I’m sure this will do it! Now I just need a Greek Hero name, Gavitus, Geus, Gavemnon or Gachiless? The Gates of Troy So I have now re-finished the 1st and 2nd books in Glyn Iliffe's Adventures of Odysseus. I read these a few years back, before I had issues with reading books for a long time. And never got around to reading the final 4 books. My mission is as clear as Odysseus' wish to return to Penelope and Telemachus and Eperitus' wish to see Agamemnon suffer for his actions. I will finish this series,, even if it takes as long as the siege of Troy(and it nearly has since the first attempt at reading them).
The book, just like the first follows Odysseus but through the eyes of his Captain, the noble Eperitus. In thi sbook we get the lead up to the Illiad. We have Odysseus being all cunning, Paris and Helen falling in love, Meneleus vowing revenge, Agamemnon plotting for power, Achilles being Achilles like, Diomedes, Nestor and Ajax being famous Greek Heroes but with not much to do in this book. We have Philocetes getting his gammy leg and stinking up the place. Hector being all hard and gruff and Clytemnestra having her world torn apart - and you seriously do not want to peeve this lady off!
Glynn Iliffe tells this story with flair, it is a true heroic tale with people you care about and others you want to see the Gods take vengence on - who'd have thunk that Artemis could have been such a cow!
The first time I read this book, I was having trouble focusing on my reading and I went for years before and after hardly touching a book. I've been able to sort that out in the last couple of years and am so grateful that I can now immerse myself in the fantastic worlds that talented writers like Mr Iliffe creates.
If you love Greek Mythology, great writing and gripping reads, let Eperitus guide you on a journey. The Armour of Achilles
The retelling of the classic story continues, in this book, we skip about ten years of the war and find ourselves in what Odysseus was promised would be the final year of the war. But, for our heroes that is not looking very likely.
Over this story, we cover a lot of hugely important events, Agamemnon making an enemy of Achilles, Patroclus borrowing Achilles armour, Hector and Achilles, Penthesilea – The Queen of the Amazons, the competition for Achilles armour, Ajax displeasing the Gods, Ajax’s madness, Athena and Apollo making decisive moves, Memnon of Ethiopia, Achilles anger and Odysseus’ scheming and not in that order!
However, Mr Iliffe adds to these fantastical stories by focusing on our true hero, Eperitus, we see how he has grown and changed over the years, how he has developed in his role as the Ithacans Captain, he finds love, he finds family, he finds a vision of what he wants his future to be. But, as always things are never as simple as all that! His life is linked to Odysseus and he has to make some very difficult decisions for both of them.
The other Ithacans are also there and much more grown up, Polites, Antiphus, Arcesius, Omeros and Eurybates make up the Magnificent Seven, but if you know your films, you know what happens to at least 4 of the Magnificent Seven and there is still three books to go!
I love Greek Mythology and I love characters that develop together and Mr Iliffe writes his characters, both famous and not so with such depth, that you cannot help but to care about them.
And Mr Iliffe, I have just done some research and I frickin love where you got our heroes names from, you have made my day! Did you know, that Arcesius is the name of Odysseus Grandfather and Polites is both mentioned as Odysseus closest friend and a Prince of Troy, Antiphus was one of Priam’s sons who was killed by Agamemnon, Omeros is a poem that references The Iliad and Eurybates was actually Odysseus’ squire. And this is the best one of all. Odysseus at first introduces himself as Eperitus, son of this Apheidas, when he comes to see Laertes after having done away with the suitors of Penelope. The Oracles of Troy Odysseus and our less well-known hero - Eperitus are back and they're hunting down items and people to help them defeat Troy - these are 'The Oracles of Troy', or at least that's what they've been told to do by an Oracle and we know how well that usually goes for them all.
The Second Half of the book is about the Fall of Troy - I hope I'm not giving away any spoilers here, but yep Tory falls! And our heroes and their friends, Polites, Antiphus and Eurybates are having to do than defeat the enemies of Greece, they have people to save, revenge to take and a certain princess to help out. I also love the fact that Diomedes is included a heck of a lot in this story as from an early age and from one of the earliest fiction books I read about Troy and the Greeks, he was always a legend for me.
Again, this is Mr Iliffe at his best, friendship, disagreements, plots and ploys, Gods and Goddesses, heroes on both sides, villains on both sides, love and lost love, oracles and horses, big big horses and of course all out war! I love this series!
The Voyage of Odysseus I'd say there's spoilers ahead, but if you have any inkling of the story of Odysseus, none of what I'm about to mention will come as any surprise.
So book 5 is all about the trials of Odysseus and his crew of friends and enemies trying to get back to Ithaca.
They come across, Cyclops, Lotus Eaters, Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, Laestrygonians, Circe, Aeolus, the cattle of Hyperion and ends with the meeting of Calypso and Odysseus. On top of this, add in Eurylochus and Selagos with their own nefarious agenda's and you have a whole heap of trouble.
The tale goes that Odysseus eventually returns to Ithaca alone and twenty years after he left. At the end of this book we're about 12 to 14 years into his tale and don't expect all of Eperitus, Astynyme, Omeros, Polites, Antiphus and Eurybates to make it to the end of the book, in fact don't expect many of them to do it!
And even though I know the story back to front and was expecting bad things to happen, it still wasn't easy to take and some bits still annoyed/upset me, but that's because I love these characters.
Oh well, all good things come to an end, roll on the final book and some final shocks! Return to Ithaca The final instalment in the Adventures of Odysseus and we lost pretty much everyone who we've gotten to know over the previous five books. This is focused on Odysseus return to Ithaca, Telemachus trying to find his father with the help of a disguised Eperitus, Penelope being disgusted by the suitors, Halitherses and Mentor not doing very much. Eperitus acting completely out of character.
It takes 2/3 of the book for Odysseus and Eperitus to be reunited and then another few score of pages for them to be properly reunited and there's not much of that.
I would've given the first 2/3 of this book 2 stars and the final third 4 stars so had to compromise. It really does feel a let down after putting in so many hours and investing so much into these characters just to see them behave completely different from how they've done for the previous 13 years.
However, the end is Mr Iliffe at his battle lust best and I know the other soldiers didn't survive the Odyssey but then again Eperitus wasn't in the Odyssesy(though he does try and get around that at the end) so there could've been a way except their deaths instead of heroic and sacrificial was used as a contrivance for the argument that pretty much blunted this epic story.
Sorry Mr Iliffe.