Warrior in Bronze, a masterful recreation of ancient Grecian times

Warrior in Bronze is a historical fiction by George Shipway set in ancient Greece immediately prior to the Trojan War made famous in the Iliad. It’s told in first person by Agamemnon, starting when he’s a young boy and ending soon after he becomes King of Mycenae. You may recall that Agamemnon is the Greek leader against the Trojans. That story is the subject of a sequel by Shipway, The King in Splendour.

I enjoyed learning of these brutal, yet interesting, times through the eyes of Agamemnon: first as a young lad, then a youth thrust too soon into a man’s role, and finally a king. Shipway captures the military and domestic sides of ancient Greece, as well as the spirit of the times. Greek mythology suffuses the book, so true to the mythology of Agamemnon and his father Atreus, you should be prepared for incest, cannibalism, rape, treachery, and savage brutality.Agamemnon, at least when he’s young and trying desperately to escape a violent death himself, is as horrified by all these as much as we are. As he grows up, the reader is likely to become less sympathetic to Agamemnon, as he becomes more willing to use murder and treachery to obtain what he wants.

What I especially found fascinating was the way Shipway took the Greek mythology tales of gods and heros, and had Agamemnon tell how these events all happened in real life with real people. So Hercules, a brutish thug in this book, wanders in and out of the story several times and the truth of Zeus and the other Greek gods is revealed, to name two instances.

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