The Iliad

By Gillian Cross

Illustrated by Neil Packer

Gillian Cross's brilliant retelling and Neil Packer's glorious illustrations bring to life Homer's Iliad, one of the greatest stories ever told.

Gillian Cross's brilliant retelling and Neil Packer's glorious illustrations bring to life Homer's Iliad, one of the greatest stories ever told. The team behind The Odyssey (2012) now tell the story of the Trojan War. Cross's vivid adaptation begins with a beauty contest: the prize, a golden apple. In return for securing her victory, the goddess Aphrodite helps Prince Paris abduct Helen, wife to the king of Sparta. Enraged, the king and his Greek allies wage war on the Trojans. Nine years later, the fighting still rages on, but the Greeks are beginning to quarrel among themselves – Achilles and Agamemnon's petty argument has dire consequences for everyone caught in the crossfire. Neil Packer's pictures capture the beauty and remoteness of the setting, and bring a profound humanity to one of the finest literary achievements of Greek civilisation.

Categories: Illustrated Classics

For readers aged: 8+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406314212
  • Published: 01 Oct 2015
  • Price: £17.99
  • Size: 260 x 225 mm
  • Pages: 160

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Customer reviews


'Glorious retelling of the epic story […] Jacketed with 45 colour illustrations plus evocative black-and-white silhouettes.' The Bookseller

'This retelling of Homer’s Trojan War epic is beautifully put together, a treat for those familiar with the story as well as for those reading it for the first time. Cross has done a fine job of adapting the text into modern prose, but it is Neil Packer’s illustrations that really stand out, breathing new life into the story. His artwork blends classical aesthetics with modern illustration techniques to great effect, entirely appropriate for a retelling of a classical text for a new audience.' Inis Reading Guide

'A sumptuous book with stunning illustrations, this retelling by award-winning Gillian Cross keeps the stories simple but the language resonant. […] While the gods are always near at hand, it is the Greeks and Trojans who are at the forefront of the drama, making this more a story of human strength and frailty than a battle between divinities. The result is both credible and memorable.' Guardian

'Gillian Cross’ new version of Homer’s The Iliad is told in a clear and simple fashion, with the epic’s power, tenderness and violence on full display. As an introduction to the stark Homeric world, it is perfect, and Neil Packer’s illustrations, which take their inspiration from classical vases, provide a thrilling gloss to the story itself. Perhaps it will give rise to a whole new generation of classicists.' Literary Review

'…a stunning version by Gillian Cross, with artwork by Neil Packer. The complexities of warfare are unravelled in a manner which alerts the reader to its tragedies and heroics. Episodes of high drama interweave with moments of poignancy and, in a succession of vivid characterisations, humanity is depicted in its numerous strengths and weaknesses.' The Irish Times

'Cross does not flinch from the nature of the Iliad; this is a book about complex, believable adults behaving in ways which have devastating consequences. The roles of the gods are also handled with forthright confidence enabling the ancient story to make sense without making people or events seem modern. Neil Packer’s illustrations work perfectly with Gillian Cross’ text. They range from battle diagrams to lyrical full-page pictures. Often drawing on the colours and perspectives of Greek artefacts, Packer uses modern approaches to the relationship between text and picture enabling the reader to draw on prior knowledge to move easily through this complex book.' The School Librarian

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