THE AMAZON AND THE WARRIOR
For eight years Greece's warriors besieged Troy; now the disgruntled Greek warrior Achilles plans to raid the fabled land of the Amazons. Achilles has some experience with the fierce clan of women, since he once killed one of their leaders. Penthesilea, warrior queen, watched Achilles slay her mother and vowed revenge. Penthesilea's lover, the battle-scarred Damonides, has rejected the brutality of war for a simple life. These three come together against the panorama of history in an epic clash that will rock the foundations of their world.
Hand has clearly done her research and weaves historical details into the story without interrupting the narrative flow. Pentha and Damon's love story takes the epic scale to a personal level, driving home the costs of battle. The cast of thousands can be a bit overwhelming, but the tale always returns to the three characters at its heart. Many historical epics ignore the female point of view, casting women as onlookers to history, so Hand's book is a welcome change. These women control their destinies and make choices that will resonate down the ages. (May, 350 pp., $7.99)
Jen Talley Exum