Despite appearances from the likes of Achilles, Nestor, and Menelaus, Timon and Lukas emerge as the ensemble’s most compelling characters. They share touching moments, such as when they sing together and discover a mutual love of music, and their eagerness to question Helen (“Did you find Paris attractive?”) is relatable. Fritsch (The Lord Chamberlain’s Daughter) crafts a detailed and immersive fiction that is charming in its minute detail, though some readers will be disappointed by a lack of dynamism in prose. A tendency toward the pedantic diminishes the drama, as even battles at times read more like a history essay than an engrossing tale: “The few archers the Greeks had room for inside Troy could only fire their arrows upward at Trojan archers.”
Timon and Lukas are fresh air in this history lesson. Those familiar with the Odyssey and the myth of the Trojan War will find few surprises in Fritsch’s characterization of Helen, Paris, and Clytemnestra, but Helen’s point-of-view passages give the legend charm and agency--and even makes her relatable. With an appeal to audiences versed in Greek myth, Fritsch’s new spin on a timeless tale will draw in readers with his sympathetic characterization and occasional original inventions.
Takeaway: A novel approach to an established classic, with an alternate ending that will please fans of Greek mythology.
Great for fans of: Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles , David Gemmell’s Lord of the Silver Bow.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B