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Electra (Greek Trilogy)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  32 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Treece's Electra reveals more than the private lives of Electra and Agamemnon, of Clytemnestra and Orestes. Written from Electra's point of view, it shows in action the many forces which contributed at last to the downfall of Mycenae's brilliant culture, and the coming of the Dorian Dark Age which was to last for five hundred years and more.
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published 1963 by Bodley Head
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Wildly original and imaginative retelling of the Greek myth of Electra and the Fall of the House of Atreus. I feel this version compares favorably with the ancient Greek dramas on this subject and with the Strauss/von Hofmannsthal opera, Elektra. The author has taken the bare bones of the myth and pressed his own stamp upon it. He has concentrated on Agamemnon's family left behind in Mycenae. I appreciated the author's omitting the details of the Trojan War; I feel it's already covered enough in ...more
The story of Electra and the unhappy House of Atreus is one of my favorites in all of Greek drama, and I wasn't sure if it could be portrayed so vividly outside of Richard Strauss' opera and the original Greek plays. But Treece took the standard storytelling technique of an old woman recounting her life to a passive listener (here, a doctor) and packed 280 pages full of highly emotional and descriptive stuff.

It's been awhile since I've read Sophocles and Euripides, so I'm not sure where Treece m
Mar 04, 2011 Iset rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Iset by: Dad

Electra has the feel of an epic, remarkably, even though it is a fairly short book. It tells such an epic story, and populates it with characters of vivid personality and fallibility, shown through judiciously selected scenes of gripping drama. Treece wisely doesn’t bother re-telling the Iliad, a tale that has been retold over and over in modern historical fiction so frequently that I’ve almost got Troy fatigue from the slew of Troy based novels I’ve been reading recently. Treece instead focuses
Keith Currie
Mar 29, 2017 Keith Currie rated it really liked it
An old woman tells her story to a Hittite doctor in Dorian Dark Age Greece. She claims to be Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the last great Achaean rulers of Mycene. Here at the close of the Greek Bronze Age are portraits of Helen and Paris, Odysseus and Achilles, Iphigeneia and Orestes, Electra and Pylades - all as they might have been in reality. Treece writes an imaginative, darkly violent tale, set convincingly in a richly described Greece, culminating with the overthrow of ...more
Nov 12, 2016 Johnny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mythology
If you’ve ever watched some of the classic Greek plays, particularly those surrounding the Trojan War, some of it may have been slightly confusing. The dramatists assumed that most of the viewers knew the names of the characters and had a rough idea of the events. The plays were to put those events in perspective or serve as a warning for future generations. The Amber Princess is a retelling of those events in novel form. It may not clarify all the details for you and you may not even agree with ...more
Alex Sarll
"More lesbianism and ritual prostitution than delicate stomachs are likely to accommodate", promises the review quote blazoned across the front cover - but this is a 1963 edition, and to sensibilities forged after the beginning of sexual intercourse it's a book you'd call haunting, strange, sensual, but hardly filthy. Treece gives Electra's own account of the Atreides' bloody end, taking Robert Graves' lead in unearthing older myths within the classical versions we know. He then matches that wit ...more
After a recent foray into nonfiction about the late Bronze Age and the fall of civilizations, I went back to this novel, which I read many, many years ago and which I still remembered in pieces. It's well-written (apparently Treece was a bit of a poet as well as a novelist?) but ... I think his shtick was to turn myth into history (he does this with Oedipus and Jason as well) and basically the four decades since this was written have contained archaelogical advances that pretty much rendered his ...more
Katie-Ellen Hazeldine
Nov 01, 2013 Katie-Ellen Hazeldine rated it really liked it
Grimly compelling; the story of Electra, told by herself. She recalls the horror of the sacrifice of her sister, Iphigenia, her mother, Clytemnestra's revenge upon Agamemnon for allowing the killing of his own child, the madness of her brother, Orestes; the fall of Mycenae, and the coming of the Dorians. She recalls the gentle eunuch slave who loved her, and her love of the man she marries. A princess becomes a queen but ends in obscurity, betrayed by her surviving sister, branded as a subject a ...more
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Henry Treece (22 December 1911 – 10 June 1966) was a British poet and writer, who worked also as a teacher, and editor. He is perhaps best remembered now as a historical novelist, particularly as a children's historical novelist, although he also wrote some adult historical novels.
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Other Books in the Series

Greek Trilogy (3 books)
  • Jason
  • The Eagle King

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“But doctor, even you, a Hittite, saw what our Mycenaean shields were like! Oh, don’t smile, I may be an old woman, but I known what I am talking about, and if you will be patient, you will understand, too… You do not see the wholeness of things, the Virtue, the arête. You observe one fact, the single symptom, like the Hittite doctor you are, but your eyes are blind to the Ananke, the whole Order of things which even the gods cannot infringe. The shield is formed on a frame, and that frame is the will of man. But after the sun and rain have been on it a week, its shape has changed beyond man’s guiding; and that is Ananke… though I began upon a firm frame, the hide of my experience has tautened and twisted until now I am as Ananke will me to be. I am not what I wished, or others wished for me: I am what it was ordained for me to become ever the seed passed from my father to my mother. I am the cow’s hide, tormented to the only shape it can be. Now do you see? Do you see that there may be no anger, no regret, no remorse?” 2 likes
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