Tros of Samothrace

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Tros of Samothrace
Tros of samothrace.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author Talbot Mundy
Country United States
Language English
Series Tros
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Appleton-Century
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 949
OCLC 592466
Followed by Queen Cleopatra

Tros of Samothrace is an historical novel with fantasy elements by author Talbot Mundy. It was published in 1934 by Appleton-Century. The novel was constructed of novellas which first appeared in the magazine Adventure in 1925-1926.

Mundy dedicated Tros of Samothrace to his friend Rose Wilder Lane, who had supported its book publication. [1]

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel concerns the swashbuckling adventures of the title character as he battles Norsemen, pre-Roman Britons and Julius Caesar.

Publishing history[edit]

The original sequence of novellas appeared as follows:

  • 1. "Tros of Samothrace", 10 February 1925 (later became chapters 1–14 of the novel)
  • 2. "The Enemy of Rome", 10 April 1925 (chapters 15–26)
  • 3. "Prisoners of War", 10 June 1925 (chapters 27–37)
  • 4. "Hostages to Luck", 20 August 1925 (chapters 38–51)
  • 5. "Admiral of Caesar's Fleet", 10 October 1925 (chapters 52–66)
  • 6. "The Dancing Girl of Gades", 10 December 1925 (chapters 67–81)
  • 7. "Messenger of Destiny", part 1, 10 February 1926 (chapters 82–87)
  • 8. "Messenger of Destiny", part 2, 20 February 1926 (chapters 88–92)
  • 9. "Messenger of Destiny", part 3, 28 February 1926 (chapters 93–96) [2]

When Tros of Samothrace was published in four paperback volumes in 1967 and 1971, the breaks between volumes coincided with Mundy's own breaks between episodes:

  • Tros contains "Tros of Samothrace" and "The Enemy of Rome"
  • Helma contains "Prisoners of War" and "Hostages to Luck"
  • Liafail contains "Admiral of Caesar's Fleet" and "The Dancing Girl of Gades"
  • Helene contains all three parts of "Messenger of Destiny"

When Tros of Samothrace was reissued in three paperback volumes in 1976, the breaks between volumes came partway through "Prisoners of War" and "Admiral of Caesar's Fleet".


Although the stories were popular with Adventure's readers, they also aroused fierce debate due to the fact that Mundy depicted Julius Caesar and Roman civilization as imperialistic and tyrannical; Adventure editor Arthur Sullivant Hoffman later stated that the Tros stories were the most controversial the magazine had ever published.[3] Mundy's negative depiction of Caesar resulted in a historical debate about the ruler in Adventure's letters section, "the Camp-Fire".[4]

Fritz Leiber praised Tros of Samothrace, saying: "The Tros stories made a great impression on me as a young man. I read and re-read was wonderful, imaginative writing".[4] Floyd C. Gale wrote in 1959 when reviewing a new edition of the book that it was "Out of print far too long, here is one classic that still reads as if written yesterday ... An absolute Must Buy at this price".[5]

dust-jacket by Lionel Dillon from the Gnome Press reprint

Publication history[edit]

  • 1929, US, Bobbs-Merrill
    • Queen Cleopatra
  • 1934, US, Appleton-Century, Pub date 1934, Hardback
  • 1934, UK, Hutchinson, Pub date 1934, Hardback
  • 1935, US, Appleton-Century, Hardback
    • The Purple Pirate
  • 1958, US, Gnome Press, Pub date 1958
  • 1962, US, Ace Books, Pub date 1962
    • Queen Cleopatra
  • 1967, US, Avon Books, Pub date 1967, Paperback as 4 books:
    • Tros
    • Helma
    • Liafail
    • Helene
    • Queen Cleopatra (1969)
    • Purple Pirate (1970) bookcover art by Jeff Jones
  • 1968, UK, Chivers, Pub date 1968, Hardback
  • 1971, UK, Tandem, Pub date 1971, Paperback as 4 books:
    • Tros
    • Helma
    • Liafail
    • Helene
  • 1976, US, Zebra Books, Pub date 1976, Paperback as 5 books:
    • Lud of Lunden
    • Avenging Liafail
    • The Praetor's Dungeon
    • The Purple Pirate (1977)
    • Queen Cleopatra (1978)
  • 2009, UK & US Leonaur Books, paperback & hardback as 6 books:
    • Wolves of the Tiber
    • Dragons of the North
    • Serpent of the Waves
    • City of the Eagles
    • Queen Cleopatra
    • Purple Pirate


External links[edit]

  1. ^ William Holtz, The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane. University of Missouri Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8262-1015-5. (p.253)
  2. ^ Brian Taves, Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure, McFarland, 2006 ISBN 0-7864-2234-3 (pg. 288).
  3. ^ Donald M. Grant, Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny. Donald M. Grant publishers, 1983. ISBN 978-0-937986-46-2 (p. 152).
  4. ^ a b Lee Server, Danger is my business: an illustrated history of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines. Chronicle Books, 1993. ISBN 0-8118-0112-8 (pp. 55–6)
  5. ^ Gale, Floyd C. (1959-08). "Galaxy's 5 Star Star Shelf". Galaxy. pp. 138–142. Retrieved 14 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)