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.'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 ...Author Profile
Peter Ackroyd is a prize-winning writer of fiction and non fiction. Almost all his novels are historical novels: he has a unique gift for conjuring lives and characters from the past. Hawksmoor
won the Guardian fiction prize, and Chatterton
(also about forgery) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are the bestselling The Clerkenwell Tales
and the highly praised The Lambs of London
. He presented 3 TV series for the BBC - Dickens
(2004), The Romantic Poets
(2006) and has written brief lives of Chaucer, Turner and Newton, and major biographies of T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, Thomas More and - most recently - Shakespeare. He holds a CBE for services to literature.Reviews
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,Ackroyd imports a Mrs Rochester theme to Turkey, and the denouement has the atmosphere of a thriller, with innocents running for their lives,Lurid and generally entertaining drama,The Fall of Troy
is above all a love story, and like the best love stories it deals in obsession, deception, madness and death,A vivid reimagining of the discovery of what may have been the ancient city of Troy. A thought-provoking novel,Beautifully constructed, by turns playful and sinister…this book will haunt the reader’s mind,Ingenious….. briskly told and vividly realised tale… a gripping novel,Obermann is a lively creation,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,[A]n insightful portrait of a man with only one mission in life,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