Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Troy #3
Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 27, 2007)
Length: 496 pages
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Troy: Fall of Kings is the end of David Gemmell’s epic historical series, and here a reader will find portrayed the final days of the Trojan War, the duel between Hektor and Achilles, the Trojan Horse, and the fall of mighty Troy. Without a doubt, the novel dazzles in its realistic portrayal of these historical events, leaving one both in awe of its brilliance and perplexed by its obvious flaws.
The good parts of the novel are easy to point out. David Gemmell and his wife (Who I understand finished said book after her husband’s death.) did an outstanding job of portraying realistic characters, who fit perfectly into the historical narrative of this period. These characters behave realistic based upon their established personality, and some of them almost burst off the page in their brilliance. The same can be said about the combat scenes in Fall of Kings, because they radiate ultra realism as the Greek and Trojan warriors exude fear and adrenaline while clashing in ancient combat. Even the final duel between Hector and Achilles is superbly done, penned in such detailed and dramatic fashion that it must stand as one of the best portrayed combats between heroic warriors in all of literature. And we must not forget the final “Trojan Horse” resolution, which might be the most well thought out and simplest solutions I’ve ever encountered.
No matter how well the Gemmell’s did some things, however, there are still obvious flaws with the story. Helikaon and Andromache, in particular, make certain decision that do not ring true to their characterization throughout the series and seem forced so that other important moments in history can be written about. Another is the resolution – if you can even call it that – of Gershom’s strange plot line that was somewhat mystifying throughout the series. There are other examples of characters just disappearing or behaving strangely throughout the later part of the book, especially the last few chapters where Troy’s survivors are shown fleeing for their lives, but I do not want to belabor the point, only point out that these moments detract from the effect of the narrative as a whole.
With all that being said, I enjoyed the novel. It was a fitting ending to a good series. A trilogy where the Gemmells did an excellent job of taking the myths about Troy and turning them into compelling historical fiction. Not to say they did not take artistic liberties with historical fact, but that, even though they did, it rang more or less true. For attempting to shed a light of reason on the Trojan War, this novel and series is a must read for lovers of historical fiction.
Finally, I would be remise if I did not salute the legendary David Gemmell. There will never be another writer who can do justice to a warrior’s true spirit as he did in this series and all his novels. A final triumph for a true master of his craft!