The Fall of the Phoenix

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
244 Pages
Reviewed on 01/08/2019
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Author Biography

Irish Author, born and raised in Donegal but working and writing in Dublin

    Book Review

Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite

“History is written by victors.” So, who can tell if the well-known accounts of the Trojan war reflect the actual truth? In The Fall of the Phoenix, Daniel Kelly incorporates historical events mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid and weaves them together to present an alternative version of history. The book starts with the famous duel between Hector and Achilles, ending with the fall of the once-mighty Trojan empire. The ten-year-long siege had exhausted Troy while the Trojan horse succeeded in breaching their hitherto impenetrable walls. However, in Kelly’s version, the Trojans ended the war on their terms, ensuring the downfall of the Greeks with their dying breaths. I would implore you to read the first installment in the saga of these unsung heroes and be a part of their last battle.

I loved how each character came alive under Daniel Kelly’s skilled writing. Priam the Trojan king’s kindness shone brightly in contrast to the endless greed of the Greek king, Agamemnon. Kelly described Achilles, the great hero, as a human being full of compassion, and at times, uncertainty and grief. Apart from the famous heroes, Kelly also introduced many commanders from Troy and Myrmidon, whose feats of bravery left lasting impressions. Diomedes, a Trojan orphan taken captive by Achilles, made me realize how oppressive it must have been for the commoners to live under the siege. Entire generations grew up knowing nothing but a state of war along with a scarcity of essential supplies. Kelly described the Trojan war with vivid details, thus transporting readers to a different era. He also envisioned an ending that deviated from the legendary epics yet seemed even more intriguing. I would recommend The Fall of the Phoenix, a masterpiece of speculative fiction, to any reader interested in history and mythology.

Lit Amri

The Fall of the Phoenix by Daniel Kelly recounts the final days of the city of Troy before it fell into the hands of the Greek armies and ended the Trojan War that had lasted for ten years. Kelly retells the story by getting closer to the protagonists. Their emotions are scrutinized for readers to ponder upon, and their battles are delineated and detailed, exposing the blood and gore in a direct manner. The book starts with the fight between Hector, the Trojan prince, and the Greek hero Achilles. It’s a scene that rightly puts readers straight into the action and gives the essentials of the following events. Hector’s brave, loyal, peace-loving and thoughtful nature made him my favorite in Homer’s Iliad, the only version that I’m quite familiar with regarding this ancient conflict. His portrayal in Kelly’s retelling doesn’t disappoint me.

In clear-cut prose, Kelly’s version is much more pragmatic and no doubt taking advantage to navigate its way through the different interpretations of the Trojan War, portraying the story from a different perspective and connecting the events with several accounts in between. Although I’m slightly ambivalent of how young Diomedes is depicted, the characterization of King Priam, Achilles, and Agamemnon are deftly handled; their emotions are raw and believable. Themes such as revenge, bravery, betrayal, honor, loyalty, friendship, and familial bonds are well developed. All in all, Daniel Kelly’s The Fall of the Phoenix is a solid retelling for fans of the genre. I look forward to reading more of this author's work.

Pikasho Deka

The Fall of the Phoenix by Daniel Kelly is an intimate portrayal of the events surrounding the siege of Troy. The death of Patroclus at the hands of Hector drives Achilles to seek revenge. He duels with Hector and unwittingly inflicts wounds upon him with a poisoned sword. Realizing Agamemnon's treachery, Achilles retrieves Hector's body and brings it to King Priam. On his return to Agamemnon's army, Achilles takes young Deomedis as his slave and slowly starts mentoring him in martial warfare. In the meantime, Odysseus hatches a plan to infiltrate the city by sneaking soldiers inside a large wooden horse. While the Trojans celebrate the seeming surrender of the Greeks, Agamemnon's army prepares to sack the city. But everything is not as it seems.

The Fall of the Phoenix is an entertaining interpretation of Homer's Illiad filled with political intrigue, betrayal, and bloodshed. The narrative focuses on figures from Greek mythology on both sides of the conflict in the Trojan war. The plot moves at a blistering pace with numerous twists and turns. Author Daniel Kelly writes in a contemporary style suited to modern readers and provides a fresh outlook on the legendary figures of Achilles, Hector, Priam, Agamemnon, etc. The complex relationship dynamic Achilles shares with Hector and Agamemnon makes him a riveting character to read. You feel immersed in the battle scenes as they paint a visceral portrait of war. I thoroughly enjoyed The Fall of the Phoenix, and I will highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction.

Divine Zape

The Fall of the Phoenix by Daniel Kelly is an enthralling retelling of the classic tale of the fall of Troy. Both those who have read other versions of this tale and those who haven’t will find delight in this story that is masterfully executed. The author explores the conflict deftly and, with meticulousness, takes readers through every phase of the conflict as it builds up, exploding in the sacking of Troy. The author presents historical and legendary characters that are familiar to readers, including Hector, Achilles, Priam, Agamemnon, Odysseus, and many others. This is an exciting ride packed with action, gore, and blood.

The Fall of the Phoenix is a wonderful rendition of the Trojan War, and for readers who enjoy Greek tales, it will come across as a gorgeous treat. While Daniel Kelly writes a story that readers are familiar with, he keeps it original. The writing is detailed, and the descriptions are vivid, exploring the violence and the interactions between the characters on both sides. Readers will enjoy how the author writes the relationships between the characters, especially the one between Diomedes and Achilles. Explosive moments like the fight between Hector and Achilles are brilliantly executed and I particularly enjoyed the twists the author introduces to the plot. While Achilles is an unbeatable warrior, the author creates suspense by building up the reader’s faith in Hector and winning their sympathy for him. There were moments in the story that I wanted Hector to beat Achilles, hating the arrogance of Achilles, waiting impatiently for the inevitable moment. Daniel Kelly is a great storyteller and an author who has the gift of resurrecting legendary characters and enticing readers to keep them company. The Fall of the Phoenix is a riveting tale with exquisite prose and exceptionally written characters.

Grant Leishman

The Fall of the Phoenix by Daniel Kelly takes on a retelling of the oft-repeated story of the siege of Troy by the Greeks and of the infamous “wooden horse”. Boyhood companions and close friends, Hector and Achilles find themselves on opposite sides of the battlefield, as King Agamemnon and his much-vaunted Mycenean army continue their already ten-year siege of the great city of Troy. When Hector kills Achilles’ brother in battle, Achilles is compelled to issue the challenge to Troy’s great champion and a battle between two men considered the greatest warriors in the world will certainly mean a death knell for one. With the gates of Troy seemingly impregnable and Agamemnon losing soldiers at an alarming rate, something dramatic needs to be done to break the deadlock. When Odysseus comes up with a plan to finally breach the walls of Troy, using a hollow wooden horse containing Achilles’ own Myrmidon army, Agamemnon sees the perfect opportunity. Not only can they breach the walls and claim Troy for the Greeks, but he can also ensure that Achilles, who he ultimately fears, does not survive the final battle. The scene is set, therefore, for the climactic action that is such an enduring part of Greek mythology and legend, as related first by the great poet, Homer.

The Fall of the Phoenix is a truly action-packed war adventure that grabs readers by the scruff of the neck and carries them along in a crescendo of battles, individual heroism, and a great legend. Author Daniel Kelly makes much more of this tale than just a recounting of the individual battle, which he does in great detail and all its gory glory. What makes this stand out from other stories of the Trojan War is the author’s great attention to the everyday details of a soldier’s life and the relationships they form both on and off the battlefield. I particularly enjoyed the sense of honor under which the ordinary soldiers waged their war. As far as Achilles and his men were concerned, there were certain things that were more important than victory, especially how that victory was achieved. The relationship between Achilles and the Trojan slave boy Diomedes was definitely a highlight of the story. Especially pleasing was the idea that perhaps, although the Phoenix would indeed fall with the destruction of Troy, it may yet rise again. I have read this idea in other novels about the fall of Troy and the subsequent founding of the Roman Empire, and find it fascinating and intriguing. This is a truly wonderfully written story that will satisfy any reader’s desire for action, adventure, and derring-do but it is more than that; it is a close examination of the characters central to Greek legend and their heroic roles on both sides of the equation. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it.

Romuald Dzemo

The Fall of the Phoenix by Daniel Kelly tells the story of the siege of Troy from a perspective and in a voice both fresh and captivating. Daniel Kelly reintroduces readers to the famous characters of the legendary drama and the fall of the city of Troy, with a powerful spotlight on Hector and Achilles. Hector has fought with Achilles in training and cannot recall any flaws in the indefatigable and indomitable fighter. As he prepares to face Achilles in the ultimate moment, the pressure keeps on mounting. Can he beat Achilles and save Troy from the hungry claws of Greece?

This retelling of the classical saga of Troy is detailed and the author pays a lot of attention in writing the characters, describing events leading up to the destruction of Troy. The author introduces the key characters right from the start, Achilles of Greece and Hector of Troy. The fate of Troy depends on the ultimate encounter between these two characters, and as the story progresses, the author toys with the emotions of readers, making it hard for them to choose between the adored Achilles and the brave warrior of Troy. Supporting characters like Agamemnon, Priam, Heraclitus, Arimnestos, Diomedes, and many others are meticulously written.

While Daniel Kelly doesn’t deviate from the strong points of the legendary tale, he introduces twists and elements that embellish the narrative. Only a skilled storyteller can give this air of novelty to Homer’s enthralling story, weaving a setting that is vivid, exploring a conflict that grows in magnitude from one engaging page to the next. Daniel Kelly writes in exceptionally good prose, and fills the pages with action, blood, and gore, reflecting the world that Homer describes in the original tale. There is originality in the retelling of this story and it comes from unsuspecting angles. The Fall of the Phoenix is cinematic and spellbinding, a pulsating story that readers will read voraciously and want to read again and again.

Sarah Kelly

Took me a few chapters to get into the book but then I was hooked and couldn't leave it down. Such great detail, really enjoyed