A detailed retelling of the Trojan War: Matturro's first novel uses legendary history as its basis, but includes character development and political strategy, so that events occur because of human nature rather than the will of the gods. In Matturro's version, Helen (who was blamed for starting the war and nine-year siege of Troy when she abandoned her husband--Spartan king Menelaus--for Trojan prince Paris), is a former tomboy, more interested in horses and freedom than men, hating the "beauty" that makes her desirable but also constricts her life. Though characters believe in the traditional gods, they are skeptical of many specific legends: e.g., Achilles, who claims descent from a goddess, is understood to be compensating because he never knew his mother. Even when believed in, the gods leave humans some choice: Greek leader Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia at the demand of Artemis in exchange for favorable winds for the fleet; but Matturro's account makes it clear that he was expected to appease the goddess by relinquishing command of the armed forces rather than carry out the killing; his own ambition--to go down in history as conqueror of Troy--seals Iphigenia's fate. Ironically, Troy falls to Odysseus' famous ruse, the Trojan Horse, so that Agamemnon wins the victory but not the credit. The book explores the uncomfortable position of Paris and Helen within the royal family of Troy, and celebrates the beautiful city itself on the eve of its total destruction. Lucid, thorough synthesis of legendary material with some contemporary perspective.