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  • Troy

  • The Siege of Troy Retold
  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (6,631 ratings)

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Troy

By: Stephen Fry
Narrated by: Stephen Fry
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The number one best seller.

An epic battle that lasted 10 years. A legendary story that has survived thousands.

Troy. The most marvellous kingdom in all the world. The Jewel of the Aegean. Glittering Ilion, the city that rose and fell not once but twice....

When Helen, the beautiful Greek queen, is kidnapped by the Trojan prince Paris, the most legendary war of all time begins.

Listen in awe as a thousand ships are launched against the great city of Troy.

Feel the fury of the battleground as the Trojans stand resolutely against Greek might for an entire decade.

And witness the epic climax - the wooden horse, delivered to the city of Troy in a masterclass of deception by the Greeks....

In Stephen Fry's exceptional retelling of our greatest story, Troy will transport you to the depths of ancient Greece and beyond.

©2020 Stephen Fry (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"An inimitable retelling of the siege of Troy...Fry's narrative, artfully humorous and rich in detail, breathes life and contemporary relevance into these ancient tales." (Observer)

"A fun romp through the world's greatest story. Fry's knowledge of the world - ancient and modern - bursts through." (Daily Telegraph)

"Hugely successful, graceful." (The Times)

What listeners say about Troy

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Chapters?

As you listen, the story being read obviously falls into chapters. On your device, however, you will see a 4:20:47 long chapter among other whoppers. Inexcusable. Lazy production, especially with a book where re-listening to individual chapters would be desirable. Should be updated. I hope for a response from Audible.

195 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More division of chapters needed

Love the plot and narration (I own Mythos and Heroes too), but there seems to be a marked difference in the chaptering style. For instance, there are two large chunks of audio (both four hours long) that comprise the main narrative. There's definitely inter-chapter transitions as Fry moves between the different strands of narratives, but without a clear divvying of them within the navigation itself, it becomes slightly difficult to pause and keep track, or even just to relisten to certain chapters. A lot of guesswork is required, which cuts into the enjoyment a little. Could there be main headings and well as subchapters?

102 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Learned and pleasant to listen

*SPOILER ALERT*
Unlike in "Mythos" and "Heroes", telling the story of the Trojan War involves presenting a host of characters that eventually end up being in the same place and in the same time. I'll have to listen again to the first part to see how effectively Fry weaves the storylines of Paris, Achilles, Helen, and the city of Troy itself; my first impression is that he (perhaps inevitably) succumbs to the Ariostesque device of "but let's leave X here and get back to Y, whom we left..." I'm afraid this might also depend on Audible's odd division of chapters, since you have several short chunks at the beginning and the end, and then two major 4:20:00 parts in the middle, anf it gets harder to see the structure there (hence the four stars).
As for the story itself, I was expecting the *whole* Trojan cycle, inclusive of the follow-up sagas of Odysseus, Agamemnon and Aeneas, but maybe I overestimated the extent of the material (and I also wasn't expecting so many backstories); as it is - a story of the city of Troy from the foundation to the fateful night, as per the title, plus the stories of the main characters involved - it's already a sizeable story. All the same, I would have loved to hear a bit less about silly Laomedon and more about the feud between Atreus and Thyestes, a story with massive dramatic potential but which regrettably Fry tells in just a couple of lines.
My other point of hesitation is the 2 hours-like part in "Ilium" which is basically a summary, more than a retelling, of that quintessential paradigm of Western (and, arguably, world) literature that is the "Iliad", but I guess that's inevitable: do you set out to write a story of the Trojan cycle only to skip completely such an important part of the Trojan War "because Homer did it best", or do you accept the inevitable and follow Homer sometimes line by line? Fry chooses the latter and I honestly can't blame him, I would find it a difficult choice regardless. Where I think he shines, though, much like he did in his two previous books, is when he patches together (rhapsode-like :D ) all the other previous and following threads of narrative that are *not* part of the "Iliad": this is a praiseworthy achievement because even as a scholar myself it's sometimes hard to piece together a consistent narrative of all the events narrated in this book, and every now and then it's just pleasing to just listen to a good narrator who did the hard work for you!
The performance is as usual wonderful: if you don't like Fry's voices and theatricality, you'll probably find it annoying but if it's your jam, then don't wait any further! All over the story he also intersperses comments on the modern relevance of myth and how we can read and understand Greek myth today, and as usual he also lets his doctrine and his humanity shine through. I recommend it.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fry as usual. Engaging, enigmatic and charismatic.

Although you don’t need to, please start with Mythos and Heroes. I’m hoping he does another tour post COVID, talking about the Greek gods and their enthralling stories. Could not recommend more highly. Enjoy!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More Mythos, less Heroes. Truly exceptional.

Another exceptional piece of work by Mr Fry. Characters and story is brought to life and his masterful story telling will make you want to keep listening for as long as you can!

If you’re like me and found Heroes to be good but the voices he put on quite irritating than don’t worry. Troy only has subtle accent changes and they’re not nearly as grating as Heroes!

Lots of information gets thrown at you early on but don’t be discouraged, all will become clear in the development of the story.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Stephen Fry doing what he loves.

The story and reading of the book are very good.
The story is engaging and has nice little anecdotes sprinkled across it.
The only criticism a have is that some of the chapters are ridicules long and if you don’t like long recitations of names you may have some difficulties with this book.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredible

Stephen Fry brings the Greek myths to life so vividly I have listened to all 3 related books now and will 100% listen again and again

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Troy Harder

Troy is probably the best written of Stephen Fry's Mythos books, from a storytelling and characterisation perspective at any rate. I've always found those particular areas to be the weakest links in the series and improvements were definitely needed. That's especially true here, with the fall of Troy being such a well known story and more importantly, a very human-centric one. It also can't help but be compared to the original epic saga, Homer's Iliad.

This was Fry's chance to show his mettle as a writer of literary fiction and to give us a real Greek tragedy. It was his chance to bring these most human of "myths" to life, making us care about them, fear for them, hate them and love them. It was his chance to show us he could develop characters and build relationships, rather than relate events with the occasional dramatical flourish. Unfortunately that doesn't happen, not to the extent that was needed. Instead we get the usual mix of straightforward storytelling, minimal characterisation, mythological factoids, wry asides and observations, and hundreds of faceless names and places that don't stick in the memory.

There are flashes of great storytelling, where the characters come alive, leaving the dry pages of myth, but it's too little and too late. The war doesn't even begin until we're many chapters in, although the story does pick up at this point and gains some much needed focus. Ultimately though, it just left me wanting more, or left me decrying the missed opportunities created by showing us a little humanity and passion. If I don't care about Helen, Achilles, Paris or Troy because they're little more than famous names, then you're going to lose me.

I'm disappointed with what could have been, because in Troy, there are moments that are more engaging than anything in Fry's other Myth books. Unfortunately, this well known story needed to be more focused and character driven than it was, despite some improvements in this area. The move away from the more fantastical elements of Greek mythology warranted something different. Instead, Troy constantly falls back into the more simplistic prose of a fairytale, or the academic observational style a history book.

Even more than Mythos and Heroes before it, Troy doesn't bring anything new to the table, other than the modernisation that can be found in countless numbers of modern retellings. In the end, Homer's Iliad is still the more evocative and memorable Myth.

5 people found this helpful

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  • TS
  • 31-12-20

Stephen Fry is fantastic as always!

I preordered this as I thoroughly enjoyed Mythos and Heroes and I now can't wait for the Odyssey! I cannot recommend the series enough!

Thank you Mr Fry

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Joyous re-telling

Another momentous story from one of best story tellers around. Stephen manages to escort you back to the time of God's and mortals with a verve and enthusiasm rarely heard.

He is a master at his craft, be it from Victorian England, to a wizarding world, Stephen has transported the listener at ease to be part of the story. Thank you and please keep it up.

4 people found this helpful

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  • DFK
  • 27-11-20

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

I said that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” in my review of one of the previous volumes. I felt it even more, here. Stephen Fry is a delight to listen to, and I doubt anyone could have done a better job with the story of the Trojan War and all the myths that accompany it. But I wasn’t impressed with the Odyssey and the Iliad in high school, and though 50+ years later I have come to appreciate many books that I didn’t enjoy so much in high school (Dickens, whom I now love, for example), this has not improved with (my) age. War for no good reason. Maybe no war has a really good reason, but this is totally absurd, and they know it. The gods on this side or that. On and on and on. So much hyperbole: the most beautiful, the most valuable, the most powerful. Eh. “Love” for the shallowest of reasons. There are books about war (War and Peace, Stalingrad are two of the best) that can evoke all the emotions and be real, presenting real characters who are developed with all the human flaws. At the every end, in his appendix, Fry says that these stories show all the human weaknesses: envy, pride, lust, etc. and no one has ever done it better than Homer. I beg to differ. I know that these stories are part of the canon and are part of our vocabulary and so I took my medicine. But I can think of so many modern great books that do it better: Les Miserables, A Tale of Two Cities, and so many other great works do it better. I imagine that Shakespeare fans would also think Shakespeare did it better. So, if you need to learn about the mythology of the Trojan War, maybe no one can do it better than Fry, but I am not a convert to appreciating the greatness of this ancient literature.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dr Thomas
  • 28-12-20

Outstanding!!

Would give 10 stars if possible.
I’ve listened to Mythos and Hero’s several times and no doubt it will be the same for Troy!

Hoping and praying he’ll cover the Odyssey next.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-01-23

Wonderful

Another wonderful telling from Stephen Fry. I absolutely adore his books an ancient Greece and even more so, his narration.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-01-23

Troy

I love this book and the other books like heroes and Stephen fry is a really good narrator

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-23

Splendid!

They all come to life, with their passions, intrigues, plans and strategies in this marvellous account of the destruction of Troy. Can we look forward to the long journey home of our cunning hero?

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • June7
  • 06-12-22

Excellent (again)

After listening to Heros and Mythology I was waiting for this audio to come out and purchased it right away.
Stephen Fry did not dissapoint.
Altough I read many times the Troy story in XX.cent.syle, so I was familiar with the narrative, Mr.Fry was able to make it even more contemporary. It felt like I was watching a movie about a recent war, with all the personal details and feelings.
Of course also in this volume are explanatory comments.
I would highly recommend for high school studens.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Debrakluit
  • 28-11-22

Excellent

Loved hearing the stories of Troy and Stephen Fry’s narration is excellent, he brings the characters to life in a humorous and entertaining way.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Krister
  • 07-09-22

Beautifully written and narrated

Stephen Fry does it again. He manages to tell the confusing story of Troy in an interesting and engaging way, all accompanied by his beautiful voice.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lars Tobias Børsting
  • 04-09-22

Fantastic performance and book

After reading Mythos and Heroes, this has not disappointed. Au contraire. Excellent book, made even more interesting by the reader.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-08-22

Superb!

This was brilliantly written and tremendously evocative! the characters really came to life and! it was also and beautifully read. I loved it!