March 12, 2019
More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each other in an epic battle that rewrote history and came to be known as the Trojan War. The Iliad, Homer's legendary account of this nine-year ordeal, is considered the greatest war story of all time and one of the most important works of Western literature. In this stunning graphic novel adaptation — a thoroughly researched and artfully rendered masterwork — renowned illustrator Gareth Hinds captures all the grim glory of Homer's epic. Dynamic illustrations take readers directly to the plains of Troy, into the battle itself, and lay bare the complex emotions of the men, women, and gods whose struggles fueled the war and determined its outcome. This companion volume to Hinds’s award-winning adaptation of The Odyssey features notes, maps, a cast of characters, and other tools to help readers understand all the action and drama of Homer's epic.
This classic epic tale, whether written by Homer or another Greek man by the same name in about the 8th century B.C. is a tale with which everyone should have a passing familiarity. Readers who like to read about war will find this especially appealing, as Homer describes everything in the most florid manner. Hinds sticks closely to the original text, cutting out a great deal because of the graphic novel format, but still preserving the arc of the plot, description, and the type of language found in most of the English language translations. ("Like reapers who start from either end of a rich man's field and with sharp scythes bring barley tumbling down in armfuls till their swaths unite, so the armies closed to cut each other down." page 105)
The twist, of course, is the format. Full color illustrations capture the action, including some beheadings, with a yellow palette that reflects the sandy Greek landscape. The costumes and appearance of the characters is true to the descriptions in the original, and the style somewhere between classic book illustrations and cartoons. There is a lot of text, and the language is very descriptive, making this a good choice for high school students who want a more visual approach to this story but don't want to sacrifice details.
Hinds' specialty is graphic adaptations of classics (Romeo and Juliet, Beowulf, King Lear), and this hefty tome would make the Greeks proud, since they valued retellings of stories. Hinds' research is documented in notes in the back, and the translations he consulted are discussed. Hand this one to high school students struggling to comprehend this for class, or for middle school students who want to look really smart!
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