Between his mammoth, 1,000-page biographies of writers and cities, Peter Ackroyd clearly likes to toss off the occasional slim volume of fiction, and he does it with practised ease. These are high entertainments, both lively and evocative, combining all the author’s usual preoccupations: the past, memory, fakes and forgeries, an unfashionable but darkly gripping sense of the material world being haunted by unseen forces, and an impeccable sensitivity to spirit of place.
In The Fall of Troy, Ackroyd takes the story of Heinrich Schliemann and turns it into fiction with bravura and a healthy lack of respect for the facts. His Schliemann is ‘Herr Obermann’, a domineering Hellenophile, bald and moustachioed, with a belligerent and entirely unfunny sense of humour. Echt deutsch