First-novelist Cargill recounts the fall of Troy from Helen's point of view--in this spirited page-turner that placed in the 1986 National Writers Book Contest. Though brought up to inherit the role of her mother, Queen Leda, as keeper of the ancient mother-goddess cult increasingly suppressed by the reigning kings, beautiful Helen of Sparta initially fails to hear the Goddess of Heaven's voice within her. And no wonder--the hormone-bedeviled teen-ager lusts after handsome Meneleus, whose family has offended the Goddess by looting her temples for bronze. Upon Leda's death, the Goddess offers Helen the choice of marrying Meneleus at the cost of a life of misery and the destruction of Sparta, or sacrificing him in favor of older, craggyfaced Odysseus--the "wisest among the Achaeans"--with whom Helen would enjoy a long, happy reign as Sparta's queen. Naturally, Helen chooses Meneleus, and thus follow betrayals, misunderstandings, and intrigues that lead to the destruction of Sparta and Troy. Kidnapped by Paris, forced to marry him and bear sons by his cleverer brother, Deiphobus, Helen concentrates on protecting the hordes who worship her--whether as the Goddess on Earth in Sparta or as Inanna in Troy. Her efforts to play out the Goddess's maternal role are at cross purposes with the male rulers' ambitions, however--and constant misunderstandings result. Herding her subjects out of besieged Sparta, she is accused of abandoning her post. Refusing to abandon her Trojan sons when Meneleus arrives to rescue her, she commits treason. Then, attempting to free the Trojan people from their despotic rulers by allowing the Trojan horse within the city walls, she betrays her Trojan husband. Cargill's portrayal of Helen as supporter of the people and clever, if misunderstood, female in a world of men--as opposed to the more familiar fickle housewife--keeps this classic, action-packed tale bubbling until the last huzzah. An auspicious beginning--and a delightful read.