In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Prophecies of Glory

  Morning all. Well, after lots of editing and a small amount of gnashing of teeth, I'm finally happy enough with the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo to say it's ready to publish. This is the cover, created as always by Mark Watts;

  I may have to jigger things around a bit when I go through the publishing process; Amazon are devils for that. But this is basically how the cover will look. I think it's great, it has the look of ancient Greek art and just a hint of age about it, as the black peels away or fades in patches.

  I've said before that I've written this because I'm not satisfied by any of the versions of the Troy tale that I've read. Lindsay Clarke's was short and superficial, David Gemmell's too heavy on battle scenes and too light on everything else. So I'm telling the story a different way. Part of volume one deals with the reasons for the war - some of them cultural, others more to do with foolishness or pride. I think Troy may have been a war that nobody really wanted, at the start.

  For all that, though, there are characters here who no one can ignore. Agamemnon, Hector, Ajax, Paris and Helen, Odysseus, and most of all Achilles - it's been said that The Iliad should actually have been called The Rage of Achilles, and there's some truth to that. But there are also lesser characters, if you like; farmers and artisans who find themselves under the walls of Troy, or defending them, and who have their own hopes and fears. There are gods, and nymphs, and prophecies of glory or doom, all making the background against which the struggle plays out. It's an incredibly rich story, the greatest tale ever told as I said in an earlier blog. The trick is to keep the feel of it, all the passion of the original myth, while making it fresh and surprising at the same time.

  So I've made changes. It got me wondering though, about how much people actually believe about the Trojan War. We know Troy was real: Schliemann found the site in 1871. But what else? I'd be interested to know what you all think. Was Helen a real person, the cause of the war? Was she abducted? Did the Greeks really build a giant wooden horse and trick their way into Troy, and was it after ten years?

  I have my ideas, but new ones are always welcome. There's sometimes a moment when a new idea makes me think oh wow, I can do it this way instead, and the story changes in my hands. It happened in Songs of Sorrow, when Luthien was meant to do a certain thing and I realised he just wasn't the sort of man who could. So off the story veered, in a new direction. It could happen in Troy just as easily.