The Hittite by Ben Bova

Okay, since a time frame is never given, I’m assuming that this book takes place after the reign of Suppiluliuma II in Hattusas.  That’s a little late in most chronologies for the Trojan War, but, hey, this is a novel.  Novelists are allowed to play with history.  The fact that the very existence of a Trojan War in any form or at any time in history is a hotly debated subject doesn’t hurt. 

What truly irritated me about this book was Bova’s Helen.  It is the same thing that annoys me about most historic fiction.  The way she whines about her fate.  Greek women were chattel.  They were a possession of their fathers used to make alliances with other states or other men.  After that, they were a possession of their husbands.  They were sequestered.  In ancient Greek eyes, the best, most perfect woman was one who was never seen, never heard, and never mentioned.  That was reality for every woman in Greece.  And, yet, Helen is forever moaning about this.  And about the fact that the Spartan, literally and figuratively, Menelaos is nearly old enough to be her father.  She was lucky he wasn’t old enough to be her grandfather.   I was starting to wish that someone would kill her already.

The Hittite was an interesting read, and, except for Helen, I enjoyed it.  The time of the Trojan War is one of my favorite periods to study.

Rating:  3.75 out of 5 stars


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