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Goddess of Yesterday: A Tale of Troy [Format Kindle]

Caroline B. Cooney

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The dramatic and bloody siege of Troy is one of the oldest and best of human stories, and in Goddess of Yesterday Caroline Cooney tells it afresh through the eyes of Anaxander, the daughter of the king of a tiny Greek island. As a child she is taken as a hostage to the island of King Nicander. When she is 13, marauding pirates sack the palace, killing everyone but her. Anaxander frightens them off by pretending to be the goddess Medusa, with the help of an octopus as a hairdo. When she is rescued by the ships of King Menalaus, she assumes the identity of a princess, Nicander's daughter, and becomes a royal guest. When Menalaus's cold and vain wife, Helen, runs off to Troy with her lover, Paris, Anaxander goes along to protect Helen's baby son. Within the walls of Troy, she is torn with conflicting loyalties as the bronze-clad warriors of Menalaus land their ships on the plains below the city and war is imminent.

The characters of the Iliad come vividly alive in this action-filled novel: the shallow and amoral Paris, the wailing prophetess Cassandra in her tower prison, and especially Hector, a big, straight-talking sweetheart. Fans of Cooney's contemporary novels like The Face on the Milk Carton will find this story of ancient Greece every bit as irresistible. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell



I was six years old when King Nicander came to the island of my birth, demanding tribute and a hostage.

I did not know what a hostage was, nor tribute.

The king was taller than Father. His oiled beard jutted from his chin like a spear point. His arms were hard and tanned, his eyes twinkling. I liked him right away. "So you are Alexandra," said Nicander.

I corrected a king. "Not Alexandra. Anaxandra."

His eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled. "Anaxandra, you are coming for a sail with me. You will be companion to my daughter, Callisto."

A sail? I was so excited I hardly bothered to kiss my parents goodbye. My brothers got to go to sea and have adventure, but I always had to stay home with Mother. And I had never met a princess. Callisto means "the fairest," just the right name for a princess, the way Anaxandra was just the right name for me. Mother packed some clothes and my fleeces and put my doll in a box, which I hugged to my chest. I had never owned a box, and Mother kept jewelry in this one. It was heavy, which meant she had left some jewels in it. I would have a guest-gift for the princess.

An officer sat me on his shoulders and off we went. I never looked back at my brothers, standing in a row, silent and envious, and I never waved to my parents.

Our village was perched a thousand feet above the sea. The path to the harbor tilted steeply. I clung to the officer's neck so I wouldn't fall off. "What's your name?" I asked.

He peeled my fingers from his throat so he could breathe. "Lykos."

This means "wolf," which made me think of my puppy. I had named her Seaweed, because when she romped in the water, she came out hung with green fronds. I almost told Lykos we had to go back and get Seaweed, but I remembered that I would be home by bedtime to tell Seaweed all about it.

The sailor carrying my clothes and fleece said to Lykos, "Why didn't the king take sons for hostages? A little girl isn't going to make Chrysaor double his tribute."

Chrysaor was my father's name; it had the word for gold in it. My mother's name was Iris, which means "rainbow."

The king caught up to us. He tugged on my long curls and told me I had hair as red as King Menelaus. I had never heard of King Menelaus.

"A girl as hostage?" said Lykos to the king.

"Chrysaor needs his sons to pirate with him," said the king of Siphnos, "but his daughter he loves. He'll obey me for her sake."

The donkey path was slippery with pebbles and sand. The men struggled for balance and swore at my father for not chiseling steps into the stone.

Steps would make it too easy for pirates. Father knew because he was one. He loved to tell about the towns he had sacked and burned. We had many slave women he had brought back. The men he couldn't keep, because they knew how to use weapons and were too dangerous.

All around the island the sea sparkled. We wound down the bare bones of cliffs to the harbor, where there were so many ships, I could not assign a finger to all of them.

I used up ten fingers counting ships, tucked my elbow into my side to keep the first ten safe, used my fingers over again, and had to tuck in my other elbow. All together there were ten ships, ten ships, and eight more ships, long and slim with black hulls and red sails. Each sail was stitched with a white octopus, its long legs tied in knots.

"You have enough ships to take Troy, don't you?" I said to the king. My father sailed past Troy every year. He admired Troy but hated her more.

"Troy," repeated Nicander, and he and his men looked east, where Troy lies, far far away.

Troy is built on a citadel above a strange rough river that runs uphill into a second sea. Beyond the second sea are endless supplies of slaves and grain, gold and amber. The river is the Hellespont and only with a very strong wind can a ship go up it. If there is no wind, a ship waits in the harbor of Troy. On the return voyage, when the ship's hold is full, Troy takes her share. She is the richest city on earth.

"No," said Nicander. "I could not take Troy."

We waded out to the ships. Seaweed and I played here. The stones were flat and good for skipping. "Is Callisto on the ship," I asked the king, "or is she at your house?"

"Callisto is at my house," said the king, "although my house is called a palace. She isn't very well, Anaxandra. She can't run and jump the way you can. You will sit quietly with her and spin."

What kind of adventure would that be?

A man as hairy as a goat leaned over the edge of the king's ship to lift me on board. He laughed at the idea of a girl hostage when there were boys to take, and he tossed me high into the air. My father threw me around all the time and I loved it. But when the goat-haired man caught me, I saw he had expected me to be afraid. "I am never afraid," I said severely. "I can do anything. I can swim underwater and my brothers can't do that. I can even swim into Father's caves."

The king was still waist-deep in the water, his men cupping hands to give him a leg up. "Can you now?" said the king. "And what caves are those, Anaxandra?"

"Where Father keeps the real treasure," I said.

It took Nicander's men all afternoon to get my father's treasure out of the caves and loaded into the ships. How they laughed, congratulating Nicander on his wisdom--taking a silly girl as hostage instead of an intelligent boy: a girl who had just sold out her own father.

The king's ship was hollow inside, the deck planks removed to reveal the hold. In went piles of spears and bee-waisted shields, ingots of bronze and a silver sword pommel, a gold mask and ivory combs.

I sat on a coil of rope. It was damp and salty, the color and texture of an old woman's hair. Waves lapped against the ship like dogs drinking from a puddle. What would Father say to me when I got back tonight?

At last, Lykos bellowed, "Deck the ships!" The slamming of timber was heard on all sides as the cargo was covered by the deck beams. The masts were lifted and placed in their supports and the anchor stones raised.

Nicander flung wine into the sea. "Earth Shaker!" he shouted to the god. "Give us a safe return home!"

The wooden ships groaned and creaked. Bright banners slapped in the wind. There was no need for rowing with the wind so fine and the men relaxed on their benches.

I had not known that when you sailed away from your island, it got smaller. I had not known it would vanish. I kept my eyes fastened to the place where my island had been.

The sun was going down. The sea turned molten gold and the sky purple.

"It's bedtime," I said to the king. "I can't play with Callisto after all. We have to sail back home now."

"You're not going home, Anaxandra," said the king. "Not tonight or any night. Siphnos will be your home."

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 711 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 274 pages
  • Editeur : Delacorte Books for Young Readers (16 janvier 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B001PSEQ2Y
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°313.677 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  45 commentaires
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I coudn't put it down 21 août 2002
Par Amelia M - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Belle reliure
I usually find at least one thing wrong with each of the author's books, but Goddess of Yesterday was perfect. It tells the story of a young girl named Anaxandra, taken as a hostage to the island of Siphnos where she is a companion to the Princess Callisto. When war comes, she must pertend to be Callisto in order to save herself. Before the books is over, she has to pretend to be even more people. The villain is Helen of Troy, who I hated ( I mean that in a good way), but one of my favorite charaters was Paris, who was equally as mean as Helen. And the main character, Anaxandra, was so real.
Goddess of Yesterday was easy to undersaynd, good Historical fiction, detailed Greek Mythology, and very exciting. I couldn't put the book down, and I wish it had gone on longer. And, unlike a lot of Caroline B. Cooney's other books, the ending to Goddess of Yesterday was complete.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "Truly I have been Lucky in my Kings" 12 mai 2004
Par R. M. Fisher - Publié sur Amazon.com
There is a huge range of novels out there concerning the Trojan War and the men and women whose lives were changed by the great event - so many books in fact, that it is difficult to find one that doesn't feel stale and predictable (after all, no author can really make shocking twists and turns in a war whose outcome is already known). Like books concerning the King Arthur legends, the Trojan War as a subject for a book is rapidly becoming dull.
So it is refreshing to find now and again a book that deals with this subject, and is actually *interesting*, suspenseful and surprisingly good. Such is Caroline B. Cooney's "Goddess of Yesterday". Although all of the mythological details and events of the War are correct (at least as far as I could see), the author brings new personalities to well-known characters, thoughtful insights on blasphemy and the nature of gods, and a likeable young heroine that blends so easily into the events leading up to the War that one might be surprised not to find her mentioned in ancient sources!
Anaxandra is the beloved daughter of a chieftain father in a small rocky isle, taken away from her home and family as a tribute/hostage of King Nicander, who places her in his own household as a companion to his own crippled daughter Princess Callisto. Despite homesickness, Anaxandra adjust to her new life, only to have it shattered once more by pirates who plunder Siphnos. Thanks to an ingenious disguise, Anaxandra is the sole survivor, and when the ship bearing King Menelaus pulls in to investigate, she lies to ensure her future: telling the King of Sparta that she is the Princess Callisto.
Under this new identity, she is taken to Sparta where she mingles with the family of the king: his beautiful but dangerous wife Helen, his cheerful daughter Hermione, his two elder sons, and baby Pleisthenes. It is there of course, that the inevitable happens: Prince Paris of Troy arrives in Sparta, and when Menelaus is called away to his grandfather's funeral, Paris and Helen set sail once more for Troy...taking baby Pleisthenes and Anaxandra (again under a false identity in a bid to save Hermione's life) with them...
When retelling such a well-known story, it is impossible to change important events in the tale (scholars would get too stroppy), but the personalities of the people involved are always up for grabs. Cooney creates an interesting version of Helen, as a painfully beautiful demi-goddess, utterly cruel, cold, manipulating, and revelling in the blood of the soldiers who die for her sake. It's a shocking change from the usual somewhat reluctant follower of Paris, who would walk the walls in agony over the deaths below her. Hector and Andromache's characterisations I am less fond of: he's too heavy-set and gruff, and she's too frivolous and giggly. Cassandra, however is captured perfectly as the hysterical, but beloved princess in the tower, and Cooney instigates a very clever plot-twist in the details of her curse (that her prophesies are never believed), that caught me completely off-guard!
There are a few details that bothered me: Anaxandra often beseeches the deity that gives name to the book: 'the goddess of yesterday', but who this figure actually is and how she fits into the pantheon of Greek gods remains unknown. The same complaint lies with the use of Medusa as a "good-luck charm", and did anyone else think that Anaxandra's romance with Euneas was a little abrupt? One horse ride and she's in love?
Furthermore, there are alot of plot threads left hanging - does Anaxandra meet up with Euneas again? Cassandra hints that her parents are still looking for her - so does she ever meet them again? Does she have her revenge on the pirates of the twisted fish? And for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Trojan War, they will be left dangling with absolutely no information on what happens to any of the characters - Cooney ends the book, so to speak, just when it seems like it's beginning. An epilogue fills in these blanks, but I would have liked to hear it from Anaxandra's point of view (plus Cooney forgets to mentions that Aretha is eventually rescued by her grandsons after the sack of Troy).
But all in all, Caroline B. Cooney has written a clear, beautifully descriptive story of an engaging young woman caught up in events much larger than herself, as well as a reworking of the traditional myths, and a reasonably accurate depiction of ancient Greek life. In terms of novel based on this "Trojan genre", this one is one of the best.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful novel that brings the Trojan War to life. 22 août 2004
Par Rebecca Herman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Anaxandra is the only daughter of the chieftain of a small, unnamed island in the Aegean Sea. When she is just six years old, she is taken as a hostage by Nicander, king of Siphnos. She ends up being companion and friend to his crippled daughter Callisto. Six years later, Siphnos is raided by pirates, and Anaxandra is the only survivor. When Menelaus, king of Sparta, stops his fleet of ships at Siphnos to investigate, Anaxandra lies to save herself. She takes on the identity of the dead princess Callisto. Menelaus takes her home with him to his palace, where she befriends his children, in particular his daughter Hermoine and his baby son Pleis. But she is also terrified by his wife Helen, who knows the truth, that Anaxandra is not Callisto. When Helen runs off with her lover, Prince Paris of Troy, and determines to bring her two younger children along, Anaxandra disguises herself and goes in Hermoine's place, to save her friend, and protect Pleis. She manages to get herself and the baby safely to Troy -- where a great war is about to begin, and they are in more danger then ever before.

I absolutely loved this book, and I highly recommend it book to young adult readers with an interest in the Trojan War, or Greek mythology in general. Anaxandra is a wonderful character, and her narrative brings the world of Ancient Greece and Troy to life.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Masterpiece 15 juillet 2002
L'évaluation d'un enfant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Belle reliure
I am an avid reader of Greek Mythology and I really enjoyed this book for its different perspective about Helen of Troy.
Anaxandra is six years old when she is taken from her small island home by King Nicander to be a friend to Callisto, King Nicander's sickly daughter on the island of Siphnos. There Anaxandra dwells for six years. When she is tweleve her island is raided by pirates and every one on the island besides her is killed or taken captive.
When King Menelaus of Sparta comes to the island to investigate, Anaxandra assumes the identity of Callisto (who is presumed dead) so that the King will take her to Sparta with him.
But Queen Helen, Menelaus's dangerously beautiful but cruel and self-absorbed wife, does not believe that red haired Anaxandra is dark haired Callisto and seeks to be rid of Anaxandra.
When handsome Paris comes to carry Helen off, Anaxandra poses as Helen's daughter so she will be able to go to Troy with them and take care of Helen's only son. She must use all her wits to survive in Troy with Helen and Paris seeking to rid themselves of the only heir to the throne of Sparta and the young Anaxandra taking care of him.
I really enjoyed this book because it is such a great retelling of the "kidnapping" of Helen from a young girl's perspective.
Caroline B. Cooney does a great job of rendering the personalities of both Helen and Paris and it makes a great read.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Troy and Sparta from a young girl's point of view 28 janvier 2003
Par sandy807 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Anaxandra, the female heroine of the story, tells from her point of view about the clash between the Trojans and the Spartans, when Paris of Troy went to Sparta and kidnapped King Menelaus' beautiful wife Helen. Anaxandra, who was pretending to be a princess from another city, was there to witness this, and then, disguised as Helen's daughter, returned with the kidnappers in their ships to Troy, in order to protect Helen's baby son. But Helen, who had been willingly kidnapped, hated Anaxandra, and when she discovered that Anaxandra had sneaked along, punished her by having her head shaved.
Anaxandra is a wonderful heroine. Though she lies about her identity, she is just trying to keep herself and the little prince Pleis alive. This is not a soft and fluffy girls story, rather, Anaxandra witnesses some bloody horrors of war, is constantly in danger, is treated unkindly, and ultimately attempts to rescue Pleis from being murdered, and to escape from Troy.
Her other adventures include danger from a storm at sea, falling in love with a foreign king, meeting up with the strange prophetess girl Cassandra, who is locked up in the king's tower, and disguising herself like a boy in the marketplace. Her "goddess of yesterday" is the goddess she prays to, and on whom she relies to get her out of her troubles.
I appreciate the author's afterword, in which she explains which details of the book came from the stories passed down by the ancient writers, and which parts she made up. She also explains that it is not known if the story of Helen and Paris is fact or myth, but that if it did really happen, it would have been about 1250 B.C. This is a great book for young readers/teens who love Greek mythology, or who are just being introduced to it.
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