“The things that make you a functional citizen in society - manners, discretion, cordiality - don't necessarily make you a good writer. Writing needs raw truth, wants your suffering and darkness on the table, revels in a cutting mind that takes no prisoners...”
Ilion is the ancient name for the city of Troy. So literally, the Iliad means ''poem of Troy.'' The book Illiad was written by Homer in about 750BC and is the story of the Trojan war and nine years after it started the Greek army conquers Chryse, a town allied with Troy, and capture two beautiful maidens. One of the maidens is then claimed by Achilles as his own and the other is claimed by Agamemnon. The father of one of the women is the daughter of Briseis who a priest serving the god Apollo. A very large ransom is offered for the women but refused, so the Trojans pray to Apollo and ask him to send a plague on the Achaean camp.
With Zeus supporting the Trojans and Achilles refusing to fight, the Achaeans suffer great losses. Without Achilles help, the Achaeans fight on relying on Diomedes another great warrior, but they make no progress and are pushed back to their ships. Before long they are fighting the Trojans just to save their ships from fire and the end of their struggle seems close.
Patroclus convinces Achilles to let him wear his armor to fool the Trojans and to take his place in battle, wearing his armor. Patroclus presence on the battlefield in the armor helps the Achaeans push the Trojans away from the ships and back to the city walls but this ploy soon fails. Apollo knocks Patroclus’s armor to the ground, and Hector slays him.
Patroclus’s body is brought back and when Achilles learns that Hector has killed Patroclus his is filled with rage and agrees to rejoin the battle. The god Hephaestus agrees to make a new suit of armor for Achilles and he rides into the battle.
Hector has left his men outside the walls of Troy not expecting Achilles to rejoin the battle. When the Trojan army see Achilles coming toward, they run in fear back behind the city walls. Achilles kills every Trojan in his path and then confronts Hector at the walls of Troy. At first Hector runs but then with the help of the goddess Athena he is finally tricked to stop running and must fight Achilles. The battle is intense, but Hector killed and then his body is tied to Achilles chariot and dragged across the battlefield for days.
It takes an intervention from the gods to get Achilles to agree that Hector deserves a proper burial. Zeus sends the god Hermes to escort King Priam, Hector’s father and the ruler of Troy, into the Achaean camp to ask for the burial. Priam pleads with Achilles to take pity on a father and return Hector’s body. Deeply moved, Achilles finally agrees and returns Hector’s body to the Trojans. Both sides agree to a temporary truce, and Hector receives a hero’s funeral.
The story presented in the Iliad only covers a few weeks in the final year of the Trojan war which lasted over 10 years. Homer is considered the author of"The Iliad" but it is clearly dependent on an older oral tradition and may well have been the collective inheritance of many singer-poets over a long period of time. These singer-poets may have each brought more stories of the role of the gods in the plot?
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
“Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.”
“Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again. And so with men: as one generation comes to life, another dies away.”
“We men are wretched things.”
They find Reacher by running a small ad in the Army Times and he sees it and calls. The ad was simply 5 words center page in a boxed column printed in bold type: “Reacher call Rick Shoemaker.” The very senior Army officer who thought of this approach refers to him “Sherlock Homeless.”
It is an international assassination plot involving a sniper that Reacher had sent to prison over 16 years ago that beckons his service, but it does seem like a coincidence. He is paired up with another officer named Casey Nice (“Nice by name, nice by nature”).
The plot complicates itself, of course, when it seems clear that there are 4 possible snipers involved in the assassination plot and the world leaders are at risk in a coming summit in London. This pulls in security from around the world, but Casey Nice and Reacher just strike out on their own, of course. The do talk with some of their security counterparts and the see that they are all like the CIA, or the DGSE, or MI6 in Britain. Reacher adds, “But we’re all still KGB really. Old wine, new bottles.”
The plot may suggest a predictable read but as usual Child is the master of plot and this story is one that will capture your interest.
Quotes from this Novel
“No one talked, but they all said plenty.”
“But we’re all still KGB really. Old wine, new bottles.”
“SVR,” he said, which meant Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki, which was their foreign intelligence service. Like the CIA, or the DGSE, or MI6 in Britain. Then he said, “But we’re all still KGB really. Old wine, new bottles.”
Reacher tells us:“Socratic, they call it in college. All kinds of back and forth, designed to elicit truths implicitly known by all rational beings.”
“We both sat there mute, as if we were in a no-talking competition and serious about winning. ”
Author Sherman Alexie’s has brought us an important story and meaningful look at real life today. This is a great book for everyone
Arnold Spirit Jr. tells us about his life as an Indian on the Spokane Reservation. He was born with excess spinal fluid on the brain which he survived but he was left with a lisp and a stutter. He was far-sighted in one eye and near-sighted in the other. He is considered a geek. The other kids have bullied him growing up.
Everyone was poor on the reservations, but Arnold said of his parents: “My parents came from poor people who came from poor people who came from poor people, all the way back to the very first poor people.”
As a 14-year-old high school freshman rather than going outside where he was teased and beaten up, he spends a lot of time in his room drawing cartoons which illustrate much of this story. “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods,” he says, “and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”
A teacher at school is the cause of Arnold being suspended from the reservation school. The teacher goes to his home and gives him a piece of advice: He tells him to get out of the reservation school saying that he can do better. “The only thing you kids are being taught is how to give up,” the teacher says. Arnold transfers to Reardan High, 22 miles away in a small town full of wealthy white kids.
He excels in the new school, getting good grades and doing well on the basketball team. He is half in a white environment and still half on the reservation dealing with its everyday realities
The author* shows us what hope is and why it grows with encouragement and environment. A great book.
Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, was born in 1966. He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington.
“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.”
“I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.”
“Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It's one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they're the four hugest words in the world when they're put together.
You can do it………….I can do it……………………………………Let's do it.”
Why Lee Child? See note at bottom of review