This inversion of Homer’s Odyssey, told from the perspective of a Trojan boy, offers raw adventure from beginning to end.
Orphaned Alexi, trying to hide from the Greeks invading his beloved Troy, is captured. The warriors spare Alexi’s life but make him their slave. As they sail toward home, they attack the people of Maronia, endure a terrifying storm, become enchanted (and drugged) by the lotos-women, and get trapped in the Cyclops’ cave.
First-time novelist Patrick Bowman borrows adroitly from ancient mythology for his action-packed story, the first of a planned trilogy. He equips young Alexi with heroic characteristics and actions that often outshine even the great Odysseus. Alexi’s sharp tongue gets him in trouble, but his ingenuity helps him save the Greeks again and again.
Bowman also peppers the story with Ancient Greek words (e.g., chiton: tunic; kylix: cup; xeneon: guesthouse). Some sophisticated vocabulary (such as “threnody,” a Greek literary term for a song of mourning) will challenge readers, while other words will be more easily deciphered through context. Expletives such as “Great Zeus” and “for Athene’s sake” lend some comedic lightness to the intense plot. (Likewise, young readers who discover that kopros means excrement will be amused with expressions like “kopros-breath” and “you little piece of kopros.”)
The novel’s grisly details will be enjoyed by fans of blood and gore, but for all those with an interest in ancient times and a taste for adventure, Torn from Troy is a highly satisfying read.