The Shadow of the Trojan Horse
"It started with an apple and ended with a horse ..."
The ancient city of Troy is the setting for the third adventure in the series. The famous war between the Greeks and the Trojans has been dragging on for ten long years. Surely it must end soon? The children and Max do their best to rescue the Trojans from the awful fate which awaits them. Max even undertakes a life-threatening mission into the enemy camp to help matters along, but his brave attempt goes horribly wrong and his life hangs in the balance. Who will save him?
WINNER OF THE BEST MIDDLE GRADE SERIES -
CHILDREN'S LITERARY CLASSICS BOOK AWARDS 2017
The Trojan War is just a game for the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, but it’s no laughing matter for Joe and Jemima Lancelot when they find themselves transported back to ancient Troy, amidst all the horrors of the deadly conflict.
Still on the trail of their missing parents who are lost somewhere in the mists of time, the twins, together with their friend Charlie and their talking cat Max, do their best to prevent the destruction of the famous city.
Can the children persuade the Trojans to reject the Greeks’ gift of the Wooden Horse or will it prove impossible to change the course of history?
From their lofty home on the summit of Mount Olympus in Ancient Greece the family of the Immortal gods looked down upon the everyday lives of the ordinary people far beneath them. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, yawned widely. She was growing tired of the game; in fact it was starting to bore her. Peering through the wispy clouds which hid the top of the mountain from sight, she craned her neck to get a closer view of the battlefield below. There wasn’t much going on at the moment. Perhaps it was time to stir things up a little. She returned her attention to the game board in front of her. It resembled a large chessboard, but the pieces looked like small figures of real people. Picking one of them up, she quickly moved it into position.
‘Your turn, Hephaestus,’ she said casually to her husband, the blacksmith god.
He checked to see which figure she’d moved before sliding one of his own pieces across the board to face it. ‘I think my Menelaus is more than a match for your Paris, don’t you, my dearest? You’re not concentrating.’
Almost at once the sound of clashing weapons rose up from the battlefield and they both leaned down from the peak of the mountain to watch the fight more closely. It was immediately evident that Menelaus, the King of Sparta, was stronger than Paris, the Trojan prince, and there was no doubt that he would win the combat.
‘I think you may have lost this round,’ said Hephaestus smugly.
‘Perhaps this round,’ answered Aphrodite with a small sigh. ‘But not the game.’ She was holding her trump cards, or rather pieces, behind her back and wasn’t ready to use them just yet.
The war between the Greeks and the Trojans had been dragging on for ten long years. It was partly Aphrodite’s fault to start with and the whole thing had all begun with a beauty contest, believe it or not. Maybe it was time to put an end to the conflict once and for all, she thought. For now though, she wasn’t quite ready to lose one of her main pieces and so she decided to resort to a little trickery. When Menelaus grabbed hold of Paris’ bronze helmet, she caused the chinstrap to break so that the helmet came off in Menelaus’ hands. Paris was suddenly enveloped in a fine mist and Aphrodite spirited him off the battlefield back to the safety of the royal palace, leaving Menelaus wondering where he’d gone to.
‘Really, Aphrodite,’ said Hephaestus. ‘There’s no need to cheat, my love. I’d have let you win if I’d known it meant that much to you.’ Secretly, however, Hephaestus knew that victory would ultimately be his, for fate had already decreed that Troy must fall. He clutched the winning piece behind his back. Just like Aphrodite he wasn’t quite ready to bring it into play.
Most of the gods had taken sides when the war between the Greeks and the Trojans began, although Zeus, the head of the Immortal family, remained neutral along with Hades, the god of the Underworld. For the others, however, it was just a game and they were all ready to help their players wherever possible.
‘What have you got behind your back, Aphrodite?’ asked her husband. ‘Not more trickery, I hope.’
‘Not at all,’ she replied with a secretive smile. She brought her hand round and slowly unfolded it to reveal four small figures standing on her palm; two boys, one of whom was wearing glasses, a girl with long fair hair and, last but not least, a handsome, pale-coloured cat with startling turquoise eyes.
‘What on earth are those?’ asked a bemused Hephaestus, struggling to contain his laughter.
‘You’ll be laughing on the other side of your face soon, husband,’ retorted Aphrodite, rather annoyed by Hephaestus’ scornful attitude. ‘These are my secret weapons. What have you got anyway?’
With a flourish Hephaestus opened his fist and showed Aphrodite what he’d been holding so tightly. It was a miniature horse made of wood, standing on a wheeled base.
‘And that’s the best you can do is it?’ sneered Aphrodite.
‘You just wait and see,’ answered Hephaestus knowingly. ‘Your Trojans won’t know what’s hit them when I decide to use this piece and as for your pathetic little group you’ve got there … well, they won’t stand a chance against it. This will win the war, you mark my words.’ He smirked as he closed his fist once more around the little horse.
Aphrodite clutched her handful of small figures protectively. He must be bluffing, she thought. How could a mere wooden horse be so important? Nevertheless, he sounded so certain that she felt a shiver of doubt run down her spine. For now she put her group of pieces in a drawstring bag made of silk, which was attached to the golden belt around her waist. She would keep them safe until she was ready to use them.
In July The Shadow of the Trojan Horse made it to the NUMBER ONE slot in the bestseller list for Children's Kindle books on Amazon.com!
Review for The Shadow of the Trojan Horse
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for READERS' FAVORITE BOOK REVIEWS:
"Wendy Leighton-Porter's time-travel adventure fantasy for children, The Shadow of the Trojan Horse: Shadows From the Past, Book Three, is a fascinating and action-packed historical fiction novel that finds Jemima, Joe, Charlie, and Max in Troy in the final days of the endless conflict between the Trojans and the Greeks. While this is the third book in the Shadows From the Past series, the author provides enough background information to allow this volume to be read on its own. That being said, I'm fairly sure that anyone else who reads this novel will be as interested in reading the first two volumes as I am. The Shadow of the Trojan Horse educates as it entertains, and I loved watching as the time-travelers interacted with Cassandra and the other Trojans, and worked with them to try to find an alternative solution to their plight. Along the way, Joe, Charlie, and Jemima get an up close and personal look at war: the brutality and blood, and the inevitable loss of life, and find it very different than they previously had thought, based on games, shows and books. The Shadow of the Trojan Horse: Shadows From the Past, Book Three has a grand plot and is beautifully written, and it's most highly recommended."