Review: Priam’s Daughter

Title: Priam’s Daughter
Author: Georgia Sallaska
Publication:1970 by Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Format: Hardcover

Book Synopsis

This novel depicts the intense personal tragedy of the young Trojan princess whose visions of fire and death became the terrifying reality of history’s first great war. Georgia Sallaska blends sound historical scholarship–including the explosivion of several long-cherished myths–with an absorbing narrative to paint an unforgettable portrait of the tormented Cassandra, King Priam’s favorite daughter, whose dark premonitions were dismissed as madness. But in telling Cassandra’s story, Mrs. Sallaska does much more: she brings new life and a sense of immediacy to the saga of Troy, with all the splendor, the brutality, and the high drama that have captured men’s imaginations for more than 30 centuries.

What I Thought About It . . .
Do you think I’ve been reading too many books about the Trojan War?

Of course not, right?! Anyway I just stumbled across this while browsing the fiction section on the subject at my library’s webpage. A library had it in and I put a request out for it. As if I don’t have enough books on my own shelf to read, I’m raiding the public library like it’s going to be closed down or something.

I did like hearing another version of events told from the perspective of the “mad” Princess Cassandra. My last experience of this was with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Firebrand. Yet I liked this book better than Bradley’s novel. I liked how some of the common elements to the tale are explained. Such as the story that Cassandra rejected the advances of Apollo and was cursed to be disbelieved. In this retelling, she rejected the advances of a priest of Apollo and he tarnished her reputation so that everyone would believe her to be beyond sanity.

I liked the man that Cassandra fell in love with while she was a priestess of Artemis. I wonder how my liking of the story would be if events had played out differently between them . . . In this respect I do like how the book ended.

I didn’t really have a sense of the passage of time in this novel until Cassandra becomes Agamemnon’s captive and her frequent rapes result in two pregnancies. It seems much of the war was glossed over and only the major events or conflicts were given attention. Although it is possible that information to assist in a time frame failed to register in my mind as I was absorbed in the narrative. The problem I had was the fact that the subtitle is “Cassandra’s Story” and yet it’s not that different from what is known of her. It’s the stories of other people as much if not more than hers. . . and this is explained at the end of the book as being due to the fact that she belonged to the god since she was a small child. I’m not sure if I like that excuse.

This seems to be the only book I’ve read that fails to shed any positive light on the character of Odysseus. I find that kind of surprising because I didn’t think there was such a book in existence.



2 thoughts on “Review: Priam’s Daughter

  1. I don’t know enough about the Trojan War, but am interested. Your reviews certainly tempt me to buy both of them!
    Thanks. 🙂

    • I feel like I’ve gone on some kind of mad reading spree since I finally read Homer’s Iliad. I have some more books on the subject that I will be requesting from the library soon. One of them is the first book in a trilogy so that should be interesting.

      A few things that I have discovered about the Trojan War though:
      *I generally dislike Achilles because I can’t understand the fascination. (The Song of Troy seems the only version that elicits sympathy from me for the character.)
      *I adore Hector and the fact that he always has to die in the end makes me believe I must be a glutton for punishment.
      *I must have some kind of crush on Odysseus.

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