I have finally launched myself to read Gisbert Haef's Troja.
I was actually scared that after reading two other HF books on the Illiad, my last year Nano novel project (Damned Linneage, retelling the story of the family of OEdipos of Thebes as if it were historical fact, depicting as exact a Mykeanean culture as I may be able to), which was set some 100 years before the events of Troy, and the (entertaining but horrible) Brad Pitt's movie, I'd be too fed up with the subject and wouldn't enjoy the book. It's happened the same with Alexander the Great (thus I haven't yet read his books on him, though I will, later).
Anyway, I have enjoyed so much the novels I've read of Gisbert Haefs, and his way of writing, of dominating history, culture, warfare, characters, vocabulary, scene management, and basically every aspect of all his novels I've read so far (Hannibal, The First Death of Marcus Antonius and Hamilcar's Garden) that I was scared to spoil the joy because I was uninterested.
So, I've waited until the book called me. And it did. It's fantastic so far. He is certainly a master storyteller, one of the best I've met so far (okay, there are loads of fantastic writers all throughout History, don't push me to choose!).
Wilusa... The name given to Illion by the luvites, who were kin to the hittites, of indoeuropean origins... (see my note about it and Chariots of War in the PD of this entry).
Wilusa... It reminds me of times gone by, where men were so different to us and yet so similar... My greatest complaint of the recent Troy movie was that they changed a fantastic story for all times, to one mediocre only aplicable to the current, western civilization.
Like Gilgamesh (go and read it if you haven't yet!!!), the Illiad speaks of basic, pure, timeless human feelings, worries, the core of humanity... Now retold by Haefs, with a very different source and method, but, as far as I have read, the same background intention: to explore the foundations of humanity through its history and myths.
When I grow up (as a writer), I want to be like him... :-)
My novel has not progressed much, I'm pretty busy in RL and my writing time is so reduced I am intending to at least simply read a bit (and that's a victory)... Hopefully things will be better for next month, and for Nano. We'll see.
Aside about Chariots of War: Apropos to Wilusa, and curiously, but probably not surprising at all, one of my favourite computer games is Chariots of War, published by Paradox/Slitherine (link here), (pretty nice guys in general).
It's a turn-based strategical game, with action 3D battles, based on the Eastern world, from Libya and Thrace to the west, to roughly Bactriana and Sogdiana in the East, based on Bronze age civilizations (Arzawas, Hittites, Luvites, Ugarites, etc... dozens of different tribes for all the (known) world, really fascinating) and its variety of units and necessities to play both short campaigns and the Grand Campaign (image), with all the world to conquer, is fascinating. I haven't even finished my only big scenario game ever (now for many, many hours), playing the Thraces, from the left upper corner... I'm currently the master of Greece, Asia Minor, most of Armenia, Assiria, Fenicia, Judea, and my (huge) army is pretty busy fighting riots all over my cities, fighting the (once powerful and almost winners, but currently very weak thanks to, mainly, yours faithfully) Hittites (whom I've pushed away from their origins), the Libyans and the Marhasians or Sakians, not sure right now...
One of the funniest moments of the game was when, emulating Alexander, I crossed the Dardanos and moved to conquer Troy... way cool! :-) The other cool moment was when I was about to lose all the cities in Asia, my poor armies crushed by enemy sparabara and cavalry, and I managed to create an army of heavy cavalry... Oh did I crushed them all under my heavy pawns!
Being such a great strategos myself (ahem!), my favorite combination of troops, given the limitations of the game, and when cities to provide troops are available, is an army of Massarti Spearmen, Sparabara Archers, and, either Pethalle Horse Archers or Qurbuti Cavalry, depending on the amount of sparabara I have, and the amount of spears I estimate the enemy will have... As for chariots, the one I like the most are Ne'arin Chariots (one driver, archer, which are light and maneuverable). For raw penetration power I prefer cavalry, bigger numbers and versatility, if you ask me... (be sure to check the unit list on their web site!).
BTW, I win nothing by telling you this, but I have had dozens of hours of pure fun and dispair playing this grand campaign... Next one will be starting as Persia (probably :-)