Journey thousands of years into the past with Hero and her brothers Cadmus, Lycon and Machaon in the third instalment of the Hero Trilogy, to a time when man and gods walked the earth together. Hero, after experiencing a vision, is the driving force behind the treacherous expedition to save the refugees of Troy. The presence of Aeneas and his son Iulus in their lives has dangerous and unsettling consequences, and we follow the perils of their journey as they lead the Trojans to a new homeland.
I entered this world of fiction without knowing the author or having read the first two books. Yet armed with my arsenal of knowledge about the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds from Homer and Virgil to Herodotus and many other sources, I was able to immerse myself in the novel and its mythological world. It is a very well paced novel, filled with gods, family, sibling rivalry and love. It explores that desire to strike out alone and at the same time to protect those closest to us. The power of having the central character and hero as a young female teenager, set within a world where men, mortals touched by gods, or characters who are half god, half mortal, are typically upheld as heroes is all the more effective when you consider the masculine dominated world Hero lives in even amongst her family, The Herdsmen of Ida. Yet like any hero within Greek and Roman mythology, or indeed literature as a whole, Hero has her flaws. Gentill describes her as weak-eyed, very much in the style of texts like The Odyssey and The Aeneid, in which heroes and gods are described by a well-known physical characteristic. Hero’s other weakness is that she loves easily, and is taken very much by Aeneas. Yet like a true hero, she overcomes these flaws to complete the task at hand.
I found this to be a nicely written and well-researched novel for young adults. It has the potential to appeal to new fans of both genders, and readers who have read the previous two books will find it enjoyable as well.