|That's right - they misspelled Thor!|
I was looking forward to Thor, having started collecting comics in the golden age of Walt Simonson's run on the Marvel mag, and still having the fondest memories of the Thunder God (and Frog). But there was no experience of disappointment upon finding Troy. The complete opposite in fact. I have read the Iliad over and over in the last two years as I teach it to my Year 11 Classical Studies students. I've purchased 28mm armies from Black Tree Designs for the period intending to use yet more of Osprey Publishing's output in the form of the 'Of Gods and Mortals' rules. That my daughter is named 'Cassandra' is no accident. All in all, I am a bit of a 'Troy-head'.
Si Sheppard has done a great job of retelling the whole story of the Trojan War, from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis to the escape of Aeneas. It is actually refreshing to read a book about the war that does not dwell upon archaeology and evidence for its historicity, but focuses on the epic and its heroes. Maybe there are lots of books out there that do this, but they aren't the ones that I've been reading. The art by Jose Daniel Cabrera Pena is moody and beautiful. I particularly love the plate with the three goddesses vying for Paris' judgement over the golden apple - all three women are gorgeous, but the look of contempt that Aphrodite is giving Hera is absolutely priceless. The double page spread of the battle for the ships is incredibly atmospheric. On reflection I'll probably be getting a class set of these to accompany the Iliad for my students (who to be honest start to get a little weary of Homeric similes after a while - but they do a pretty good job for 15 year olds).
Robin Hood and King Arthur are also great books (I had already bought King Arthur as an E-book, but to be honest I'm much happier with the tangible version - I didn't like the layout of the e-book). I really enjoyed reading through the tales of Robin, and there is a section devoted to possible historical prototypes which I found enlightening. Each of the main characters are looked at in turn to trace their development throughout time in various re-tellings. Do I now feel like getting some feudal figures for a skirmish game? What do you think...? Actually, feudal figures are the next boat on the horizon as later this year Dan Mersey's next ruleset for Osprey, Lion Rampant, will be coming out.
In all I would unreservedly recommend all three of these books. To my mind the Myths and Legends series along with the Wargames series, are absolute winners for the Osprey stable.
So many thanks to Dan for running this competition. The prizes are being appreciated a great deal. The next step is that as a condition of entering the competition I must have a giveaway of my own. The idea as originally conceived by Captain Arjun of Cor Blog Me was to offer up some rulesets or books that I had bought but wasn't using and offer them to someone who might have a use for them. I have some in mind, but will wait a couple of weeks until school calms down a bit before I run it.