Allenger’s Polyxena is a Greek tragedy unlike any other. The tale of the Trojan War, the wooden horse and the death of Achilles may be a familiar one to you, but what of the hidden tales behind the great legend? What of the other players in this great game of war?
Polyxena spins the tale of the Trojan War through the eyes of the eponymous heroine. When first we meet Polyxena, she is waiting execution, having been captured by her enemies, and having spurned amorous advances by Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. She relates her story to the reader starting from the time just after Achilles took her brother Hector’s life in single combat before the gates of Troy.
Polyxena is a daughter of King Priam, and to her he entrusts a great mission — to seek out help from the fabled Amazons, to aid Troy in its dire plight. Among her trials, troubles, and triumphs, Polyxena is captured by Achilles and falls for him, despite swearing to hate him eternally for his part in her brother’s death. They come to see one another as what truly they are — people, people trapped in war of another’s making.
Allenger’s story is more narrative than anything else. Indeed, it is very like reading the great Greek tragedies of old. If you enjoy authenticity, reminiscent of such as the Illiad and the Odyssey, you are sure to enjoy Polyxena.
I found this book to be a refreshing new look on an old tale. Allenger seems to have a genuine affection for the legend, and to have put many hours of research and much love into it. I will add, I was leery upon first taking it up. School burned me out on Greco-Roman myth and legend, and that subtle dislike stayed with me into adulthood, despite my love of myth, legend, and archaeology. To schools out there everywhere — there’s more to ‘world’ mythology than the Greeks and Romans. Broaden your horizons! I’m glad I took this chance! Polyxena proved a wonderful read indeed.