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Literature / The Troy Saga

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"Beneath the Shield of Thunder waits the Eagle Child on shadow wings to soar above all city gates, till end of days, and fall of kings."

The Troy Saga is a series of historical fantasy novels written by David Gemmell, detailing a reimagining of the Trojan War. Set in the late Bronze Age and in what is called in the time period "The Great Green" note , the series primarily follows three main characters. Helikaon, the troubled prince of Dardania and an ally of the golden city of Troy. Andromache the proud royal priestess of the isle of Thera fated to wed to Hektor, the crown prince of Troy. And Odysseus the ugly, but famed story-telling, King of Ithaka.

In addition to the aformentioned, the series features a cast size befitting of its epic scope that ranges from the famed characters of Homer's The Iliad to characters of more humble stock created for this series. The trilogy chronicles the years both leading up to and during the epic conflict that comes to be called the end of "The Age of Heroes".


The series consists of:

Lord of the Silver Bow (2005)

Shield of Thunder (2006)

Fall of Kings (2007)note 

This series provides examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: No one, not even Agamemnon, on the alliance of western kings thinks fondly of King Peleus. He is only tolerated as his son is Achilles is considered to be worth 100 soldiers.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Priam is a horrible father all things considered. He belittles the accomplishments of most of his sons who aren't Hektor, gave them a variety of cruel lessons when they were just children note , regularly appoints them to positions they aren't qualified for just to embarrass them when they fail, etc. It's no wonder so many of them have plotted against him, by the time of the start of the series he's had five of his kids executed for failed palace coup attempts.
      • From what little time we spend with her we that Hekabe wasn't much better. Plotting the deaths of children Priam had before he wedded her and also speaking low of Laodike even when she's on her death bed.
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    • Helikaon's father, Anchises, was quite the piece of work. When his first wife and Helikaon's mother committed suicide, he brought the young boy to where her body still lay from her suicide to prove to the young Helikaon that she did not fly to Olympus and effectively traumatized the boy for much of his teenaged years. When he re-marries and produces a new heir, he covertly hires Odysseus to take on Helikaon with the understanding he'll have the boy die in an "accident"
    • Peleus, father of Achilles, is the probably the worst example in the entire series. He raped his own daughter when she was just 13 as a form of punishment and blamed her for it.
  • The Ace: As with the original myths, the series is full of them but Hektor is considered the greatest warrior of the east while Achilles is considered the greatest of the western kingdoms.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The trilogy is a re-imagining of the entire The Trojan Cycle along with other sources it pulls from and so is a mish-mash of elements from The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and The Book Of Exodus
  • Adaptation Distillation: The series doesn't limit itself to just The Iliad and The Odyssey, but also the other parts of The Trojan Cycle, to the later Roman work of The Aeneid and even The Book Of Exodus.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In keeping with many other modern depictions of the Trojan War, Hektor here is arguably the most heroic and noble minded character in the entire series. While it wouldn't be fair to call him evil or a villain in The Iliad, some of his actions from the original material that would be more morally dubious to modern audiences are omitted here.
    • Paris is a minor character here and while he's considered a coward by many, he isn't the womanizing and vein prince of the original myths. He didn't even abduct Helen here, she's a Noble Fugitive who stayed in Troy and married Paris when Agamemnon conquered Sparta.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • Probably the most notable one when in comparison to the original myths but while not ugly but Helen is described as rather plain looking with a nice smile.
    • Odysseus is almost universally referred to as ugly in descriptions of him, even by characters who are his friends.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Agamemnon wasn't the nicest character in the original poems and he did serve as antagonist to Achilles but here's as close to pure evil as the series gets. The entire war is of his creation and one that he had been planning for years, whereas in the original myths he was responding to a grievance initiated by Paris.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Paris wasn't revered that much for his skills as a warrior in The Iliad but it is worth noting he was the one who killed Achilles via exploiting his famed Achilles' Heel. Here when the two come face-to-face, Achilles kills him a Curb-Stomp Battle that lasts seconds.
    • While he's stated to be a great warrior, Agamemnon leads largely from the rearguard and doesn't take part in any form of combat in the series and the first time he uses his sword to kill someone is when he cuts down Banokles after they had been holding off the Mykene army all morning. His counterpart from the original myths held off the entire Trojan Army at one point.
  • Adapted Out: The Olympian Gods are made frequent reference to and invoked often but there's little indication it's anything other than belief.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: When the Mykene and other western kingdoms finally launch a direct invasion of Troy, Agamemnon and the other western kings take up residence in the various royal palaces on the outside of the city that characters such as Helikaon and Paris lived in.
  • Amazon Brigade: During the siege of Troy, Andromache trains widows of the Trojan Horse on how to use a bow-and-arrow so they can defend themselves should the walls be breached. During the final stand of the remnants of the Trojan Army once the walls have been breached, some partake in it's defense.
  • Anyone Can Die: And many do. Crosses over with Doomed by Canon for the characters who originated with the original myths but also very applies to the characters created for this series. By the end of the final book, Argurios, Laodike, Banokles, Hektor, Achilles, Piria, Kassandra, Antiphones, Deiphobus, Agamemnon, Priam, Polites,and Hekabe are all killed with characters like Kalliades, Odysseus, Xander, Skorpius left to Uncertain Doom.
  • Annoying Arrows: Subverted. During the Mykene assault on the Trojan royal palace in the first book, the Trojan archers present to much to mitigate the numbers disparity by taking out the light-armored Mykene and Thrakia soldiers.
  • Appease the Volcano God: This is the purpose of the all-female priesthood on the Isle of Thera where characters like Andromache spent a few years of their lives. Generations ago the volcano exploded and decimated the kingdom of Kretos and since then it has operated on the island attempting to keep what's believed to be a minotaur that lives in the volcano at peace.
  • Arranged Marriage: Just about all the major characters of noble birth who are married are either already in one or are in the engagement stage.
  • Artistic License – History: Probably the most egregious use is Helikaon's use of what's clearly Greek Fire throughout the series. As this series takes place sometime in the early-to-mid 1200s B.C.E (using the Battle of Kadesh as a basis), this means it appears some 1800 years before it's first recorded by the Byzantines in 678 C.E.
  • Ascended Extra: Helikaon, or Aeneas, is this. While he was, obviously, the main character of The Aeneid, he was a minor character among many others in the original Trojan Cycle.
    • Banokles and Kalliades, two minor Mykene soldiers referenced to in Argurios's sections in the first book and given some POV sections just near the end, get promoted to the main character status in the following two subsequent books.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Brutally deconstructed with Helikaon's (Aeneas) mother who here is not Aphrodite but was a mortal Queen who died when she jumped off a cliff believing she was being invited to go to Olympus by Aphrodite.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Helikaon and Argurios personally hold off scores of battle-hardened Mykene soldiers during their attack on the Trojan Royal Palace. Even inspires Priam to take up his sword and ready to take one of their places should either fall.
    • When their duel is revealed to have been setup for both of them to die Agamemnon, Hektor and Achilles hold off and kill all but two of Agamemnon's royal guard before falling over and dying from their poisoned wounds.
  • Badass Army: While as a nation they're largely looked upon with disdain for the most part by the other kingdoms, no ones doubts the battlefield credentials of the Mykene Army. In Lord of the Silver Bow, when the Trojan Royal Palace was under siege as part of a coup attempt, the defenders were more worried about the contingent of 200 Mykene than 1,000 Thrakians.
    • The Trojan Army is this as well. In the aforementioned siege of the Trojan War palace, there's only around a 200 or so of the Trojan Army fending off the 1,200 Thrakian/Mykene attackers.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Hektor at the start of the series is off with the Trojan Horse serving in the Hittite Army in one of it's wars against Egypt. He's later revealed to have played an instrumental role at the real life historical Battle of Kadesh
  • Big Bad: Agamemnon, just about most of the terrible things in the series that happen can be traced back to him and the war with Troy is entirely of his own making.
  • Big Brother Worship: Just about all of Hektor's brothers idolize him to some degree, even the ones who betray their father and family.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Quite a few over the course of the series:
    • One of the biggests one from the first book, Lord of the Silver Bow, when during the besiegement of the Royal Palace, Hektor arrives at the last minute with reinforcements that encircles the invading Mykene and Thrakians. Hektor personally cuts down scores of Mykene soldiers who tried to in vein fend him off. Banokles later comments seeing Hektor in battle was liking see Ares in combat.
    • In Shield of Thunder, Piria, Kalliades, and Banokles coming to Andromache's rescue when she's attacked at her home outside of Troy. They fend off over a dozen Mykene assassins.
    • In Fall of Kings, Odysseus, Achilles, Helikaon, Andromache, and the respective crews of the Bloodhawk and Xanathos lead a liberation of Ithaka and rescue of Penelope after it had been overrun by vengeful pirates.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Priam's family, easily.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Something of a necessity for many characters given the high-stakes of Bronze Age court intrigue and diplomacy but Karpophorus/Attalus the assassin stands out the most due to him using this as a way to get close to his targets.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Helikaon, Andromache, their children, and others manage to survive the war and build a new life at the Seven Hills settlement on the far western edge of the Great Green but Troy still falls to the Mykene with the once prosperous city left a ruined husk. With the vast majority of the characters in the series either killed (Hektor, Achilles, Kassandra, Banokles, etc) or their fates left uncertain (Odysseus, Kalliades, Xander, etc.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: Andromache was born with one, known as the Shield of Thunder, that Priam and Hekabe believe means she'll give birth The Chosen One who will lead Troy to become an eternal city.
  • The Butcher: Helikaon gains the moniker of "The Burner" amongst the Mykene for his punitive responses to their piracy.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Intentionally invoked. Helikaon invokes this to piss-off a relative of Alektruon who has challenged him to a duel to the death so it would make him more emotional and unable to properly focus in the fight.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Mediterranean Sea, is referred to by all characters as "The Great Green".
  • Call That a Formation?: Averted, while the average Mykene soldier is a skilled fighter, what makes the Mykene Army so successful and feared is them staying in a strict phalanx formation in battle.
  • Call to Agriculture: When not off serving in his father's army, Hektor can often be found at his relatively simple farm located outside Troy. When he first properly meets Andromache, both setup in an arranged marriage, he is in the middle of tending to his very muddy pigs.
  • Canon Foreigner: There's quite a few characters here who have no counterpart in the the original Trojan Cycle but Banokles and Kalliades are probably the most notable as they start out as minor Mykene characters from the end of the first book to becoming major characters throughout the remainder of the series' course.
  • City of Gold: Troy is known as this throughout the Great Green and while it is an exaggeration and more of a reference to how it's a prosperous trade city, the roof of Priam's palace is legitimately layered in gold.
  • Color-Coded Eyes: Kassandra, who here still makes unheeded foreboding predictions of the future, is described as having gray-eyes.
  • Combat by Champion: Achilles and Hektor's fateful duel is this.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Aside from flashbacks and the Distant Epilogue, the main story of the series takes place over around 5-6 years. In comparison to the original Trojan Cycle spanning multiple decades.
  • Cool Ship: Helikaon's signature vessel, the black-sailed Xanathos.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: An in-universe example, the Hektor and Achilles wrestling match at Hektor's wedding games note  in Shield of Thunder is considered this by the mass crowds of onlookers. The narration even goes on to state that centuries later kings and other nobility will claim their ancestors were witnesses of the bout.
  • The Coup: The climax of the first novel sees Helikaon, Argurios, Andromache and much of the rest of those present at the Trojan Royal Palace fending off one led by Prince Agathon, younger brother of Hektor, leading Thrakian mercenaries and Mykene pirates in attempt to seize the throne.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Achilles vs. Paris. If it could have even been called a fight.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Probably the most common recurrence in Helikaon's life.
  • The Dark Times: An example set at the conclusion of the series rather than a part of the series backstory. Troy has fallen and, according to Kassandra, within a generation Mykene and the other western kingdoms will also fall to barbarians from the north, with their great palaces and cities becoming forgotten relics reclaimed by mother nature. This actually does roughly lineup with the start of the historical Greek Dark Ages
  • Dawn of an Era: The epilogue of the series invokes this with, the final chapter even being titled "A New Day", Helikaon, Andromache, and other Trojan and Dardanian refugees from the conflict having setup a new life and kingdom on a series of seven hills somewhere in the far west of the Great Green .
  • Defiant to the End: Helen's last words to Achilles when he implores her not to commit suicide. Responding to Achilles' pleas that she doesn't belong with the Trojans as she's Helen of Sparta, with no she's "Helen of Troy
  • Demoted to Extra: Paris and Helen are rather minor characters in the series, with her "kidnapping" by Paris being propaganda by Agamemnon note  and being only a surface level Excuse Plot justification for war between Troy and the western Kingdoms.
    • Achilles isn't even mentioned in the first book, is only a background character in the second, but is eventually promoted to main cast status by the time of the third book.
  • Demythification: Aside from possible visions of the future via seers, near-death experiences, and Kassandra, just about all the mythical elements of the conflict from the original stories/myths are excised in this iteration. Odysseus tells fantastical tales akin to events in the Odyssey, like a run-in with a Cyclops, before they've supposed to have happened.
    • The most notable example of this is when in the first book Odysseus makes reference to a story about a witch-queen who turns men into pigs, clearly referencing Circe. Early on in the second book we actually meet Circe and she's just an elderly pig farmer who Odysseus sometimes does business with.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Hektor is killed in his duel with Achilles,those left in Troy know they are on borrowed time.
  • Dirty Old Man: Pretty common among the various kings of the series, who are are all at least a few decades older than some of their wives, but probably the most notorious example in the series is King Peleus (father of Achilles) who had gone so far as to rape his own daughter, Kalliope.
  • Distant Epilogue: The epilogue of the series takes place decades following the end of the conflict, with an elderly Andromache overseeing Helikaon's funeral in the settlement they founded together following the war somewhere in central Italy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: How many of the crew of the Xanathos feel in regards to Helikaon's decision on what to do with the captured Mykene pirate crew following a sea battle. Looking to avenge his friend, Zidantas, who was murdered by the captured Myekene's captain, Kolanos, who escaped the battle on another ship, Helikaon sets ablaze the captured Mykene vessel with the prisoners still held prisoner it on via Greek Fire. Eventually becoming known as "The Burner" across the Mediterranean.
    • This is also the fate of both any priestess who tries to flee the isle of Thera, without express permission, and also anyone who aides in their assistances. The runaway priestess will be taken back to the isle to be buried alive while those who assisted in their escape will be burned alive.
  • Divide and Conquer: The main strategy of the Mykene and the other western kingdoms against Troy when the war starts. A direct assault on Troy would last years so the main strategy they go with first is to attack Troy's weaker allies like Thrakia, Dardania, and Thebes under Plakos first that forces Troy to spread out it's forces that leaves Troy severely undermanned.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Once the Mykene manage to breach the city's walls, every Trojan soldier knows they are walking corpses yet resolve to take as many Mykene with them to the graves as possible.
  • Doomed by Canon: While it is a reimagining and some differences are to be expected, it's not surprising both Troy and many characters on both sides of the conflict aren't long for the world due to their fates in the original source material.
  • The Dreaded: Helikaon had this reputation developing amongst the Mykene even before the start of the series with his defiling of the corpse of Mykene pirate hero, Alektruon, after he was defeated in battle. Grows only more after setting ablaze a ship full of captured Mykene pirates in a later battle in front of an entire bay of onlookers.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: This series reimagining of the Trojan Horse ends up being this. Mykene soldiers breach the city walls disguised the famed and elite Trojan Horse (the cavalry arm of the Trojan military).
  • Due to the Dead: A major social function of the time period, disregarding it being considered a serious offense. Helikaon's reputation "The Burner" amongst the Mykene began with him decapitating a dead Mykene pirate's head and gouging out it's eyes so it's soul would be blind in the Underworld.
    • Andromache starts off the second book paying her respects at tomb containing the bodies of Argurios and Laodike.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: It's a Gemmell work, so it's almost obligatory;
    • Halysia, the Queen of Dardania, riding on an only semi-tamed wild horse she jumps over a deep chasm, that bears the name of the last idiot who tried to make the jump, and manages to successfully do so that gets her son, Dex, to safety. All while being chased down by blood-thirsty Mykene and suffering a nasty spear wound. She gradually succumbs to her wounds shortly after but only finally dies until Helikaon arrives that ensures Dex will be safe. Even Banokles spoke in awe of her actions as the tale begins to spread around.
    • Achilles and Hektor, realizing their duel has been fixed for the both of them die with Agamemnon's priest poisoning their blades, personally fend off Agamemnon's entire royal guard. Killing all but two of them before they succumb to their wounds and poison. This was also after having been fighting all afternoon.
    • Near the very end of the series with the Trojan Royal Palace overrun by the Mykene, Banokles is the last remaining soldier still fighting for Troy when everyone else left was killed off or managed to escape. He guesses he kills somewhere over 17 men and took most of the morning for the Mykene to finally put him down.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted hard when war between Troy and the western kingdoms led by the Mykene breaks out:
    • Troy gets hit hard with this as while they generally have a well-regard army, it doesn't mean much as the Mykene begin cutting off access to it's overseas trade that supplies it with tin and bronze for weapons and armor. When the Mykene begin finally laying siege to the city, the Trojan archers are informed to conserve their arrows and only hit targets they know they will hit as they can't afford to any arrows as they can't make anymore. They have to actually begin using arrows fired from archers fired by the soldiers of the attackers.
      • Helikaon actually spends a good portion of the third book leading a mission to go get a large supply of tin at the Seven Hills settlement on the far western edge of the Great Green and bring it back to Troy.
    • The Mykene and their allies aren't spared this either. Aside from Agamemnon's petty politics, the main thing that begins to stir unrest in the Mykene army when laying siege to Troy is that Helikaon's raids on their supply routes begins to disrupt food supplies and many soldiers and mercenaries begin to grow restless with how long the siege is taking.
  • Elite Army: The Trojan Army, in particular the famed Trojan Horse led by Hektor. Despite Troy largely being a peace for most of Priam's reign, they're kept experienced/battle-hardened due to Priam constantly loaning them out to neighboring kingdoms and the Hittite Empire to serve in their wars.
  • Elite Mooks: The Trojan Army is in general very well-regarded but the Trojan Eagles (Priam's bodyguard unit) and the Trojan Horse are considered the cream of the crop.
  • The Emperor: A rare non-villainous example in Western media. The Hittite Emperor, Tudhaliyas IV, makes an appearance near the end of the last book of the series following Troy's destruction and, appropriately, puts the victorious Mykene in their place. Noting he considered Hektor a dear friend, he castigates Agamemnon and his allied kings for bringing such destruction to a prosperous land and gives them an ultimatum to leave the former land of Troy within the day:
    Tudhaliyas IV: Go, little Kings; seek out your plunder. But carry it back to your ships quickly. Any galley still in the Bay of Herakles come the dawn will be taken, and it's crews dismembered
  • The Empire: Both the Hittite and Egyptian Empires play distant if important roles in the series.
  • End of an Era: Discussed in the first two books but in full effect by the time of the third book, fittingly titled Fall of Kings. The war between the Mykene, the Trojans, and their allies, has bled them dry of both men and money. Even though the Mykene eventually emerge victorious, their conquest of Troy is extremely short-lived as the neighboring Hittite Empire forces them to abandon Troy within days of their conquest. In the subsequent decades, they're overrun by barbarians from the north, too depleted of resources to resist. Appropriately, the book overlaps with the Real Life end of an era, the Late Bronze Age Collapse
    • Kassandra's last prediction in the series before her death even directly discusses, stating the "Age of Heroes" is at an end and now the "Age of Darkness" will descend upon the Great Green.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: Averted. An Egyptian Eunuch living in Dardania shows up for a few scenes and is a decent, if slightly vein, man all things considered. The reason he's even in Dardania is because he accidentally bumped into a young Prince Ramsesnote  who planned on killing him for it. Gershom, then known as Prince Ahmose, gave him an advanced warning and some money to get out of Egypt.
  • Evil Is Petty: When the Mykene-led invasion force arrives on the shores of Troy, Agamemon takes up residence in one of the country palaces that was Helikaon's whenever he was in Troy. Odysseus notes the joke's on Agamemnon as Helikaon barely used it whenever he visited Troy.
  • The Exile: Many characters in the series find themselves in this position;
    • Gershom is on the run for killing two Egyptian Royal Guardsmen who were attempting to rape a slave.
    • Argurios finds himself stripped of his lands, declared an enemy of the state, and exiled for killing a Mykene soldier who attempted to kill Helikaon. Argurios was traveling with Helikaon at the time and social custom of the time dictated that he endure the same obstacles of whoever he was travelling with (the "Law of the Road").
    • Banokles and Kalliades become this upon returning to Mykene following the failure of the attempted overthrow of Priam in the first book, Agamemnon orders the survivors executed with Banokles and Kalliades being the only ones to have escaped.
  • Externally Validated Prophecy: The prophecy that Priam and Hekabe let influence so many of their motivations and actions would turn out to be correct, it's just that the eternal city they thought the Eagle Child would lead wouldn't be Troy.
  • Fiery Redhead: Andromache in spades.
  • Foreshadowing: In first book it's referenced once the volcano that forms the basis of the isle of Thera once erupted decades ago and brought great destruction on the surrounding kingdoms. Sure enough in the final book, the volcano erupts once more and begins to usher in what Kassandra calls the new age of darkness. Going by the time period setting of the book, implied to the historical Greek Dark Age
  • Greek Fire: Greek Fire makes an appearance in the series, over a 1000 years before it's first recorded usage, as a signature weapon of Helikaon. It's somewhat justified as it's shown to be the invention of the character Khalkeus, "The Madman from Miletos", the architect of the Xanathos and a Bronze Age equivalent to a Mad Scientist.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Neither side can be described as wholly good or evil as there's a mixture of both types on either side of the conflict. Andromache even points in a moment of anger in an argument with Helikaon that the things he rails against the Mykene have done to him he has also committed many times over.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Andromache has this when paired with the two she's romantically involved with, Helikaon and Hektor, being a highly skilled archer.
  • Heritage Face Turn: Gershom isn't evil but eventually does this when he finds out He was born a slave that was swapped at birth with the dead body of a royal baby that died during childbirth. Turn's out he's Moses
  • Heroic BSoD: Helikaon suffers one after his attempted assassin, Karpophorus, tells him It was Odysseus who hired him to kill his father, Anchises
  • Hero of Another Story: Gershom. We know him better as Moses
  • Historical In-Joke: Crossing over with Mythology Gag but Odysseus being one of the founders of the Seven Hills settlement with Helikaon is this when you know that the real life Romans hated Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Latin) for his role in getting Troy sacked with the the Trojan Horse
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: A minor example all things considered given he largely appears in flashbacks but Ramses gets this as from what we see in Gershom's flashbacks show him being a very arrogant, hot-headed, Prince Charmless who planned to have one his servants executed for accidently bumping into him. Gets taken to whole another level when it's revealed Gershom is Moses and so this makes Ramses, once again, the Pharaoh of The Exodus
  • Hold the Line: Banokles does essentially a one man version of this in the climax of the third book. To buy time for the escaping Helikaon, Andromache, Kalliades, and the boys to put some distance between them and the Mykene forces, he holds up the entire Mykene army most of the morning. They come at him, mostly, one at a time as each of them are looking for a chance to personally slay such an (in)famous Mykene exiled traitor. Eventually he stopped counting the amount he killed after 17 and it took Ajax Skull Splitter to finally bring him to his knees for Agamemnon to deliver the killing blow.
  • Holy Hitman: The assassin, Karpophorus/Attalus, is a Bronze Age polytheist version of this. He thinks he's been chosen by Hades to end mortals allotted time on Earth.
  • Honor Before Reason: A common flaw found in many of the characters throughout the series, occasionally characters such as Andromache or Gershom point this out when they believe it gets particularly ridiculous.
    • Argurios's code of honor and deference to social customs sees him defending Helikaon from other fellow Mykene while they're traveling together on a public road to meet the King of Blue Owl Bay. Him killing a Mykene for attempting to kill Helikaon while his back was turned ends up with him getting exiled from Mykene for it. The kicker is Argurios hated Helikaon as much as any Mykene and would have killed him at the first chance he got if circumstances were right.
    • Achilles main flaw, according to Odysseus, is that he won't let any supposed slight on him or his family's honor go. When he becomes King of Thessaly when Peleus dies, he only stays with the alliance so he can track down who the solider who killed his father despite falling out with father shortly before his death and not getting along with Agamemnon. Also what gets Agamemnon to manipulate him into a fixed duel with Hektor following Patroklos' death.
  • I Have Many Names: Helikaon is only called Helikaon by his friends or people he's known for a long while, to much of the rest of the populace he's known as Aeneas.
  • Inferred Survival: In time of the epilogue, Andomache still insists Odysseus' is alive even though by that time no one's heard from for 10 years and even at the start of the series he was quite old (by Bronze Age standards).
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: Zig-zagged. Hektor agreed to the duel to avenge Patroklus issued by Achilles but Agamemnon had it so that the ceremonial blades used in the duel were dipped in poison so both would die regardless of who won. Thereby killing two birds with one stone.
  • Kassandra Truth: The Trope Namer is accordingly present in the series and in contrast to the rest of the series Demythification gives out a many ominous predictions that end up coming true. It started occurring after she was afflicted with what was called "brain fire" at the age of three and went from a chipper and happy child to her more withdrawn and saddened personality by the time we meet her at the start of the series.
  • Kneel Before Zod: A point of contention between Priam and Andromache when they first meet is Andromache not bowing before him. A combination of her upbringing in Thebes under Plakos where bowing isn't a custom of royalty and her time on Thera which has given her low opinion of men (in particular Priam's family for forcing her to leave Thera to marry Hektor). Eventually she bites the bullet and does kneel before him when she's trying to get one of her servants back after Priam needlessly fired her.
  • Lady Land: The Isle of Thera, where Andromache spent two years has a priestess of Artemis, is this. All the priestesses there are the daughters of the various kingdoms across the Great Green so pirates don't dare attack it lest they risk every kingdom in the Great Green coming after them.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: You didn't really think Troy wouldn't fall in this, did you?
  • Last Request: Played with, Priam promised Argurios that if they survived the night of the attempted coup attempt he would grant whatever request that was asked of him. By the end of the night, they've won the battle but Argurios is dying and absent-mindedly says the only thing he would want to see by that point is the Mykene soldiers sent home unharmed. Later when the Mykene soldiers are surrounded and disarmed, Priam surprises everyone by saying he'll allow the Mykene attackers to be escorted back to their ships unharmed (provided they kill their commander, Kolanos, and make it he can hear his screams from the top of his tower).
  • Last Stand: Once the Mykene breach the Trojan walls all hope of lasting them out in a protracted siege goes away and the remaining Trojan soldiers intend to make sure the Mykene will have to kill them all before they can claim victory.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: The underlining assumption of the series is that various events of the series will gradually evolve into the legends that makeup the Trojan Cycle
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: The fates of both the Mykene and Trojan civilizations by the epilogue of the series. The once prosperous kingdom of Troy is destroyed by the war and the Hittite Emperor, believing the land cursed following its destruction, even orders that the remains of the city will be torn apart brick by brick.
    • The victorious Mykene are not spared this either as their conquest of Troy is extremely short lived due to the aforementioned Hittite Emperor ordering them to leave the city upon his arrival.In the intervening decades, they are overrun by barbarians from the north, too exhausted of resources to properly resist, with only the kingdom of Ithica still standing.note 
  • Love at First Sight: Played completely straight with Helikaon falling in love with Andromache the moment he first sees her when he encounters her at night a sea port he's pulled up in, not even knowing who she was. He even notes to himself how odd it is as he's not one to develop close friendships and tries to keep his emotions guarded. For her part, Andromache doesn't think much of him at first, she didn't even know who he was either, but eventually does develop feelings for him as well over the course of the first book as well.
    • Played for laughs with Banokles who mocked Kalliades for falling in love with Piria but in the next chapter falls genuinely in love with Big Red, Troy's most famous whore.
  • Magical Realism: Various prophecies given by priests, seers, and Kassandra in an otherwise heavily Demythification take on the Trojan Cycle
  • The Magnificent: Quite a few characters have these at the start of the series or obtain one
    • Helikaon starts off the series and is frequently referred to as "The Golden One" and following his punitive responses to "The Burner".
    • Odysseus probably has the most in the entire series; "Prince of Lies", "The King with No Enemies", "The Ugly King", "The Sacker of Towns".
    • Kalliades gains one himself amongst the Mykene, being known as "The Thinker" and "The Planner"
    • Ajax makes a small cameo near the end of the series where he's universally referred to as "Ajax Skull Splitter"
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Helikaon's father, Anchises, hired Odysseus to take on a young Helikaon as a member of his crew with this as an understanding following his mother's death and him re-marrying and getting a new heir. Odysseus only agreed to it so he could actually take Helikaon under his protection and away from the machinations of his father.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Priam supposedely has 50 children, only four of whom are through his wife Hekabe.
  • Mythology Gag: Odysseus is famed across the kingdom of the eastern Mediterranean for stories of his alleged adventures. When we're shown Odysseus recounting them, they're all references to events that make up The Odyssey.
    • When Achilles and the Myrmidons are launching a night time raid on the Trojan coastline to prepare for the arrival of the rest of the Trojan fleet, one of his men says it'd probably be wiser for Achilles to remain behind as one well-shot arrow and they would have no king. Achilles brushes aside that idea aside.
    • When Odysseus is thinking on the troubled and fractious alliance of the western kingdoms, he makes reference to Achilles and Agamemnon having an argument over some slave girl who was a priestess.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Asios the son of Alektruon, a Mykene pirate that Helikaon killed before the start of the series, appears near the end of the third book attacking Kalliades as a disguised Trojan soldier. He goes on Motive Rant about he plans to do his father proud by killing the Mykene traitor, Kalliades. Banokles then nonchalantly kills him.
  • Nefarious Pharaoh: What we see and here of Ramses in the series doesn't paint him in the best light. His first indirect mention is him launching an invasion of the Hittite Empire that culminates in the real-life Battle of Kadesh and what we see in Gershom's flashbacks paints him as a cruel Prince Charmless who planned on executing palace servants for simply bumping into him. Goes to a whole new level when he see that since Gershom is Moses, that makes Ramses the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  • Noble Fugitive: Gershom is clearly this from what we gather from his backstory. Turns how he's Moses in the period of his life where he killed two Egyptian Royal Guardsmen for attempting to rape a slave
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Argurios gets exiled and declared an enemy of the Mykene for coming to Helikaon's protection when he was traveling with the latter and killing a Mykene assasin when they tried to attack Helikaon with his back turned. The kicker is he only did so because he was observing a Mkyene social custom known as the "Law of the Road" that states Mykene are to share in the same hardships of those they are traveling with. He would have gladly killed Helikaon if he were giving the chance, social customs permitting.
    • Gershom is on the run from Egypt for killing two Royal Guards who attempted to rape a slave.
  • Offing the Offspring: As with the number of attempted murders of parents via their children, there's just about as many examples of parents who have done this or attempted to. Priam is stated to have recently executed five of his sons who got caught in attempting to overthrow at the start of the series.
  • Only in It for the Money: Idomeneus sticks by Agamemnon to the end when most of the other western kings begin to abandon him but only because he really wants to plunder Priam's legendary treasury.
  • Patricide: Multiple examples throughout the series, most notably is many of Priam's sons have attempted to have him killed.
  • Parental Substitute: Odysseus acted as one to a teenage Helikaon following his mother's death and his father note  preferring to focus on his new son from his second marriage.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: A common motif throughout the series. In revenge for the murder of his step-brother and rape of his step-mother, Helikaon leads a punitive expedition against a Mykene pirate coven that sees him crucifix the pirate leader (as well as killing his son), killing all the men of island, and selling the women and children into slavery.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Odysseus and Penelope. Originally she hated him when they were first wed but grew to love him after he took ill and she nursed him back to health in the intervening weeks.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Trojan Eagles, Priam's bodyguards. While the unit is as a whole loyal, there have been instances of individuals or units of them being caught up in palace coups.
    • The King's Followers for Agamemnon also act as this in addition to being his agents/spies abroad.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Despite the series largely discarding all the mythical elements of the original stories for the most part, all prophecies given in the series by various Seers and Kassandra end up coming true either in the series or via Externally Validated Prophecy:
    • The Eagle Child prophecy that's referenced in the page quote that foretells the birth of a child who will help found an eternal city and establish a dynasty that will last a 1,00 years. While Priam and Hekabe believe it refers to Troy it actually refers to the Seven Hills Settlement and the dynasty actually refers to isn't a familial one but rather the Roman people.
    • In Lord of The Silver Bow, Andromache is given a prophecy by a seer that she is destined to have three lovers;

      • One like the Great Green, powerful and tempestuous, who she'll know who it is as he'll be wearing one sandal when they meet. Referring to Helikaon who inadvertently meets Andromache when disguised as a palace guard trying to avoid an assassination attempt and has to discard his sandal as it doesn't fit
      • One like oak, strong and true, who rise from mud, covered in stink from pigs. Referring to Hektor who Andromache has her first proper meeting with him when visits him at his farm where he was tending to some pigs
      • One like the moon, eternal and bright, but will come with pain and blood. Referring to Kalliope, also known as Piria, a former lover of Andromache's from her time on Thera, who came to save Andromache from an assassination attempt by the Mykene and died as a result of it, under the night of a full moon.
  • The Prophecy: The page quote is one that Priam and Hekabe were given one decades before the events of the series that serves as the motivation for many of their actions in the books. Believing it foretells the birth of a Chosen One who will lead the city of Troy to eternal greatness. [[spoiler: They're correct that Andromache's child will
    ''Beneath the Shield of Thunder waits the Eagle Child on shadow wings to soar above all city gates, till end of days, and fall of kings
  • Proud Warrior Race: Deconstructed with the Mykene. They see themselves as this and their battle prowess certainly doesn't isn't in doubt but their constant warring, raids, and state-sponsored piracy has made them pariahs to all but their vassal states.
    • Part of Argurios' story over the course of the first book is realizing how his strict code of honor puts him at odds with just about all other prominent Mykene that Agamennon favors and how hated the Mykene are outside their borders.
  • The Purge: Following the failure of the Mykene supported coup against Priam, the surviving Mykene soldiers are ordered killed just two days after their return to Mykene. Publicly it's to punish rogue elements of the Mykene army for attempting attacking an ally of Mykene. Privately it's because they failed and also killed their commander, Kolanos after he attempted to sell his soldiers to save his own skin.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What the Mykene victory over Troy ends up being. They won but they're vastly drained of men and other resources, even their territorial conquest of Troy is short-lived as the Hittites force them to leave just a day after their victory.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: What is one of the ultimate causes of the Trojans losing the war. While soldiers such as the Mykene are no slouches, the Trojans are generally considered to have the best army on either side of the conflict but there are simply just more men from the western kingdoms that can be thrown at them. Pointed out by Dios, one of Priam's sons, to Andromache that the Trojans under Hektor in Thrakia could win many battles but all the Mykene and their allies need to do is win just one to destroy the Trojan Army.
  • Together in Death: Both Laodike and Argurios die the same night of the besiegement of Priam's Palace by Agathon and the Mkyene. Priam's revealed to have built a tomb to house their remains in the second book, honoring their love for one another.
  • Time Skip: About 2/3rds of the way through Shield of Thunder, the series does a time jump of about three years going from the day the alliance between Mykene and Troy breaks down to the war now being in it's third year.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: A common recurrence throughout the series, in particular a favorite tactic of Mykene pirates. By the time of the war, Priam's war strategy is to send Helikaon to lead raids on the Mykene coastlines hoping to draw forces away from their invasion of Thrakia.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: In the last chapter before the Distant Epilogue, Troy and its allies have fallen, most of the characters in the series are either dead or left to an Uncertain Doom, and the volcanic eruption at Thera has blotted out the sun for days and the tidal waves created from it's eruption no doubt devastating the surviving kingdoms. But Helikaon and Andromache survived the eruption and are finally together with their sons Dex and Astyanax with them planning to setup a new life at Sevel Hills settlement on the western edge of the Great Green. Fittingly enough at the end of the chapter the volcanic ash in the sky that has blotted out the sun for three days begins to disperse, letting the day to actually brighten
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Helikaon is prone to these that earns him a terrifying reputation. The most notable being from the first book where in revenge for the Mykene-led raid of his country that saw his half-brother killed and step-mother raped, Helikaon leads a punitive expedition to the pirate haven of Pithros. He killed all the men on the island and sold their remaining wives and children into slavery so there would be no solid eye-witness evidence of his involvement so as to prevent a war from breaking out between his kingdom and Dardania. He crucifixes the leader of the island but gives him a Mercy Kill before departing.
  • Sacred Hospitality: A major social custom of the time. The Mykene have particular variant of it known as "The Law of the Road" that when Mykene are travelling in foreign lands they are obligated to face the same hardships of those they are traveling with. Though only those Mykene with a sense of honor seem to actually abide by this.
  • Sanity Slippage: A combination of advancing age and the death of Hekabe causes this happen to Priam as the war with Mykene and the other western kingdoms goes on. Eventually his sons have to cut him out of military planning because of it.
  • The Siege: The third and final book, Fall of Kings, is almost entirely set around the famed siege of Troy finally taking place.
    • Before that however was a smaller affair in the climax of the first book, Lord of the Silver Bow, where a contingent of Mykene and Thrakian soldiers besieged the Trojan Royal Palace as a part of a palace coup attempt by one of Priam's sons that was covertly supported by Agamemnon.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: How Helikaon and Andromache finally act on their feelings for one another. Following a brutal duel to the death where Helikaon mercilessly killed a much weaker opponent and brutalized the body, Andromache gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech that sees her slap him. When she gets up to walk away, he takes hold of her and grabs her hand when she makes another attempt to slap him. Following a silent staredown, they have sex on the beach.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: How the Hittite Emperor, Tudhaliyas IV, comes to view the city of Troy following it's destruction by the Mykene. Believing it, partly, the result of the Trojans worshipping the cruel Olympian gods over the native Hittite gods, he vows that he will have the remains of the city completely dismantled brick-by-brick.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Odysseus and Nestor learn Agamemnon had the priest lace the blades Achilles and Hektor used for their combat with poison so as they would both die regardless of who won, they both decide they've hade enough of Agamemnon and depart for home.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Helikaon and Andromache for most of the series. Helikaon falls in lover with her as soon as he lays eyes on her and by the end of the book, Andromache is in love with him as well but their respective roles and duties that come with them keep them apart. Andromache is setup in an arranged marriage to Hektor as part of an alliance between Troy and her home of Thebe. Hektor is also a close friend of Helikaon, who he does not wish to hurt or betray. In addition, the murder of his step-brother forces him to take on official leadership of Dardania rather than just acting as regent and can no longer afford to marry for love as he hoped.
  • Uncertain Doom: The ultimate fates of the several characters by the time of Distant Epilogue are left uncertain.
  • Vestigial Empire: Downplayed with the Hittite Empire. Many characters comment they are on the decline but they are still far and away more powerful than the various kingdoms that the majority of characters that makeup the series come from. Even boastful and arrogant kings like Priam and Agamemnon have to acknowledge this in their dealings with the Hittite Emperors.
  • Villain Respect:
    • Agamemnon still largely loathes Odysseus but when the latter was forced to ally Ithkia with Mykene because of circumstances, he impressed Agamemnon with his mind for military tactics and his knowledge that he already Mykene armies/agents ready to invade Thrakia.
    • Ajax gives this to a dying Banokles after he had held up the entire Mykene army most of the morning. Refusing to kill him while he was laying on his knees, exhausted and mortally wounded from fighting all morning.
  • Visionary Villain:
    • All of Hekabe's actions relevant to the story were in service of trying to fulfill the Eagle Child Prophecy that she believes will lead to Troy's safety and future glory.
    • Zig-zagged with Agamemnon, likes to fancy himself a great conqueror and builder of a great Mykene Empire that will remembered for millennia but a very real practical reason for his igniting a war with Troy is that Mykene's gold minds have dried up and his kingdom stands on the brink of financial ruin and collapse. His desire to conquer Troy is as much to get Priam's legendary treasury as it is be known as great conquerer.
  • Voluntary Vassal: Troy here is a tribute kingdom of the Hittite Empire, Hektor has even served in the Hittite Army in it's wars against Egypt. The reason the conquest of Troy by the Mykene is so short is that they are forced to abandon it by the arrival of 30,000 strong army led by the Hittite Emperor, who does not take kindly to one his most loyal vassal states being destroyed by foreign plunderers.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Amusingly does not happen to the city you think it would. Rather near the end of the second book, when crossing the Hellespont back into Anatolia, Trojans soldiers can see from a distance that Dardanos, the capital of Dardania and Helikaon's kingdom, has been set aflame by a Mykene raiding expedition.
  • War Refugees: The Seven Hills settlement becomes populated with survivors of Troy and Dardania following the fall of Troy.
  • Warrior Heaven: The Hall of Heroes is believed by many in the series where famed warriors go once they die.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You!: Many Trojans, and the peoples of other kingdoms, believe that should Hektor fall Troy will not last much longer without him to lead the city to victory.
  • Wham Episode: At the end of Shield of Thunder, the capital of Dardania is sacked by a Mykene raiding party that sees it's Queen and Helikaon's wife, Halysia, die in the defense of it. Showing that Troy and it's major allies are far more vulnerable than it thinks and it's forces too spread out to properly defend it's home territories.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Both Gershom and Andromache give this to Helikaon at separate points in Fall of Kings, castigating him for becoming no better than the Mykene pirates he hates with his brutal raids on Mykene and other allied coastal towns as part of the war effort.
  • The Women Are Safe with Us: What gets Hektor to agree to his fateful duel with Achilles is that Agamemnon promises, with Odysseus given him assurances that they'll follow through, that the women and children of Troy (except those of the royal family) will be allowed to leave the city before the duel and escorted to neutral kingdoms.
  • You Are in Command Now: Invoked with Banokles, who inadvertently fulfills a prophecy that the last king of Troy will be Mykene. As the last survivors of the royal house flee, Banokles is the highest-ranked of the defenders left and thus could be said to be the "king" from a certain point of view.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Happens to Banokles when's facing off against Ajax as the final soldier left defending Troy at the end of the third book. After fighting off Mykene all morning and then Ajax, he's finally brought to his knees by pure exhaustion. Ajax was so impressed he refused to kill him in such a weakened state, not that it didn't stop Agamemnon.


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