A retelling of the Trojan War from the point of view of Helen and Cassandra never catches fire in this first novel. The story is told in the first person, in Helen's voice in part one, Cassandra's in part two. All the familiar names are present: the strutting, moody Achilles; steady Odysseus; winsome Penelope; and Paris, whose promise from Aphrodite starts it all. McLaren portrays Helen as ""bone sweet""--as lovable as she is beautiful--and Cassandra as tormented physically and emotionally by her visions of the future. Nearly all the action takes place offstage or in exposition, and the relationships among all the women, which are at the heart of the tale, are not fully realized or complete. Readers will be more engaged by these powerful Greek myths in Paul Fleischman's Dateline: Troy (p. 68).