That’s why he challenged you to fight with him,
So he might seem to lose, and you to win,
And that way save your pride, and win your love.
A battlefield near Troy. Attacks by vicious women warriors hamper the Greeks’ siege . . .
John Banville’s third foray as a dramatist is based on Penthesilea (1908), a tragedy by Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811), and embraces the German Romantic’s variation on the conventional story of Achilles’ slaughter of the Amazon queen. With surprising verve, Banville recounts the emotional turbulence and conflicting impulses of a heroine overcome by love.
Love in the Wars melds the latent violence of passion with compassion and its author leavens this ‘hideous tragedy . . . all for love’ with mischievous wit. The result is a scintillating addition to the oeuvre of a great artist.