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This is a book I read in around 2007 that I took out of the primary school library (in the UK). It was a fiction about the Trojan War. The main details I remember are that there was a lot of focus on Helen, that she was kidnapped rather than going willingly, and that Troy had a very important, potentially magical, stone that they believed protected them. The Greeks decided they had to steal the stone to win the war, and they attempted to replace it with a fake. During the theft/raid, there was a blackout, and Helen handed the stone to the Greeks in the darkness. IIRC, Helen also has some friends in Troy that she told to hang something out of their window (possibly a lion/leopard skin, I can't remember clearly) to protect them when the Greeks invaded.

There were some more standard parts about Achilles' death, and the Trojan horse, but the thing that sticks in my mind is this magical stone.

Any help is really appreciated!

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you happen to recall the cover of the book at all? Approximately how many pages was it?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 12 at 13:27
  • Hi, I'm afraid I didn't have any of that info, but Clara's answer is correct!
    – clundin
    Commented Jun 12 at 13:42
  • That's okay! It's just general additional information we request to try and trigger any additional memories.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 12 at 13:57
  • 2
    The accepted answer is a work of fictionalised mythology, not Science Fiction or Fantasy, as defined in the FAQ.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 14 at 18:59
  • Meta post about this question.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 15 at 10:11

1 Answer 1

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Could this be The Luck of Troy by Roger Lancelyn Green? It was first published in 1961, so it would be quite old by 2007, but it is possible the OP may have come across it.

It tells the story of the Trojan War from the viewpoint of Helen's son, Nicostratus, whom she brought with her when Paris carried her away to Troy. We see the war from his viewpoint, and as a review from Goodreads says:

This offers a refreshing view into the whole story of the Trojan War, from the view of a boy who does not quite feel like he belongs. 'The Luck of Troy' refers to a statuette that is said to keep Troy safe so long as it is in its proper location. This statuette figures hugely in the story, but some characters also carry the story nicely. It has a more personal (and less bloody) feel than the Illiad.

The "statuette" referred to here is a piece of meteoric iron, and it is said that Troy cannot fall while the object remains inside its walls. Odysseus finds a way to sneak inside, and with the help of Nicostratus and Helen, manages to steal it.

Antenor was a decent Trojan, whose wife was the priestess of Athena. Odyssesus promised Helen that Antenor's house would be protected when Troy fell if he marked it with a leopard skin:

Tell him that when we enter Troy he has but to hang a leopard skin from the upper window of his house, and no Greek shall enter it or hurt any who take shelter with him or his family or servants.

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    I've read that book, and am just wondering if it's on topic? IIRC there were no fantasy elements in the book, the statuette is believed by the Trojans to have powers, but never displays any. It's firmly in the 'historical fiction' bucket. Or maybe I'm being overly pedantic.
    – Moriarty
    Commented Jun 13 at 2:46

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