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1001 Stories Collection

The Luck of Troy

1001 The Luck Of Troy
Added on 15th August 2020

Author Roger Lancelyn Green
First published 1961
Publisher Bodley Head, London

A thrilling retelling of the fall of Troy.


At the age of two, Nicostratus (Nico for short) is carried off to Troy with his mother, Helen, by Paris - the act which precipitated 10 years of fighting between the Greeks and the Trojans. The story combines many of the myths around the fall of Troy, told from the perspective of the teenage Nico. The action-packed narrative builds to a head when Nico discovers that Paris is planning to betray the Greek hero Achilles. Nico feels compelled to tip the balance in favour of his Greek countrymen by removing the Palladium (a sacred statue, known as the 'Luck of Troy') from the Trojan temple.

Why we chose it

Roger Lancelyn Green was an Oxford academic who was part of the Inklings literary discussion group along with JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis with whom he became close friends. He was also a founder member of the Lewis Carroll Society.

In this book Lancelyn Green offers a fresh perspective on a familiar story, making a child the narrator and creating a narrative full of action and suspense.

Where it came from

Lancelyn Green wrote many children's books focused on retellings of ancient stories including Norse, Egyptian, Arthurian and Greek mythology. Whilst his work contains more of the fantasy elements from his mythical sources, his style also fits within the growing genre of children's historical fiction from writers such as Geoffrey Trease, Rosemary Sutcliff and Cynthia Harnett. Lancelyn Green was also interested in the work of Scottish writer and collector of fairy tales, Andrew Lang and he published a biography of Lang in 1946. Lang also wrote about the Fall of Troy and the stealing of the Palladium in Tales of Troy: Ulysses the sacker of cities published in 1907.

Where it went next

Greek mythology has continued to prove a rich source of inspiration for writers. Rosemary Sutcliff published Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad in 1993. Recent adaptations of stories about the Fall of Troy for older readers and adults include Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, Pat Barker's Silence of the Girls and A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes.

Associated stories

Lancelyn Green's other stories based on retellings of the Greek myths include Tales of the Greek Heroes: Retold from the Ancient Authors, Tales of Troy: Retold from the Ancient Authors, Mystery at Mycenae: An Adventure Story of Ancient Greece, Tales the Muses Told: Ancient Greek Myths and The Tale of Thebes.

Added on 15th August 2020

Author Roger Lancelyn Green
First published 1961
Publisher Bodley Head, London