A brilliant historical novel, set during the 19th century at the time that the Bronze Age site of Troy was being excavated, with Peter Ackroyd returning to one of his favourite themes: fakes, forgeries and plagiarism.
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Published: 02 August 2007
Genre: Historical fiction
'I cannot wait to bring you to the plain of Troy. To show you the place where Hector and Achilles fought. To show you the palace of Priam. And the walls where the Trojan women watched their warriors in battle with the invader. It will stir your blood, Sophia.'Sophia Chrysanthis is only 16 when the German archaeologist Herr Obermann comes wooing: he wants a Greek bride who knows her Homer. Sophia passes his test, and soon she is tieing canvas sacking to her legs so that she can kneel on the hard ground in the trench, removing the earth methodically, identifying salient points, lifting out amphorae and bronze vessels without damaging them. 'Archaeology is not a science,' Obermann says. 'It is an art.'Obermann is very good at the art of archaeology - perhaps too good at it. The amosphere at Troy is tense and mysterious. Sophia finds herself increasingly baffled by the past ... not only the remote past that Obermann is so keen to share with her in the form of his beloved epics of the Trojan wars, but also his own, recent past - a past that he has chosen to hide from her.But she, too, is very good at the art of archaeology ...
Provoking, unsettling, ingenious - and a delight to read
The Fall of Troy skilfully interweaves classical and 19th century stories, employing motifs from both Homer and Charlotte Bronte. This is Ackroyd's most exuberant novel for years
Michael Arditti, Daily Mail
Ackroyd imports a Mrs Rochester theme to Turkey, and the denouement has the atmosphere of a thriller, with innocents running for their lives
David Horspool, Sunday Times
Lurid and generally entertaining drama
Sue Gaisford, Independent on Sunday
The Fall of Troy is above all a love story, and like the best love stories it deals in obsession, deception, madness and death
Elizabeth Speller, Independent
A vivid reimagining of the discovery of what may have been the ancient city of Troy. A thought-provoking novel
John Williams, Mail on Sunday
Beautifully constructed, by turns playful and sinister...this book will haunt the reader's mind
Barry Unsworth, Sunday Telegraph
Ingenious..... briskly told and vividly realised tale... a gripping novel
Peter Burton, Daily Express
Obermann is a lively creation
Scotland on Sunday
Gloomy, surprising and intelligent, Ackroyd's pose is sparse and considered and his characterisation is adroit. This is a compelling novel which never gives away more than it has to
Philip Womack, The Tablet
[A]n insightful portrait of a man with only one mission in life
Amy Mathieson, Scotsman
The Fall of Troy is written in the language of the nineteenth century intellectuals but is lively with it, displaying a directness, clarity and faultless brevity throughout. It warns us that the world is full of Heinrich Obermanns who have decided the meaning of what they might uncover before they have even started to dig
Peter Ackroyd takes the reader, in his usual compelling, elegant style, back to Heinrich Schliemann's excavation of that ancient city
Erica Wagner, The Times
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Madness, greed, love, obsession, Machiavellian plotting and a great train robbery ...
Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, Wilkie Collins and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred ...