On the eve of her execution, a Trojan princess meditates on the path she took to arrive at her fate.
Allenger’s work of historical fiction melds classical literature and his own interpretations of mythology in this first-person account from Polyxena, youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy, told in the final months of the Trojan War. Called upon by her father to act as an ambassador to convince the Amazons to join the Trojans in the war effort, Polyxena must suddenly abandon her routine as a royal princess. She finds kindred spirits in the Amazons and quickly adapts to their customs, falling in love with Antiope, a chief commander in the Amazon army, and even willingly joining them in battle. After the Greeks overtake the Amazon warriors, the hero Achilles escorts Polyxena back to Troy. The two fall in love, which Polyxena tries unsuccessfully to conceal from her family, and Achilles is eventually killed in a plot conceived of by her brother and servant. She witnesses the fall of Troy at the hands of the Greeks and is eventually sacrificed. Despite all of the betrayal and deception around her, Polyxena remains composed and logical, never letting jealousy or vengeance mar her compassionate nature. Ultimately, however, her detached voice debating the pros and cons of each situation is unbelievable. Allenger makes some clever attempts at ramping up the tragedy by making Polyxena responsible for her ultimate fate, but it doesn’t make up for the stale language throughout. Despite this, lovers of the classics will take an interest in Allenger’s spin on the familiar tales.
An original take on some of literature’s most famous war stories, but needs a more dynamic character at its heart.