Rosemary Sutcliff was a prolific British historical novelist who wrote primarily for children/YA but also some adult or cross-over books. I’ve been meaning to read her work for a long time, and finally settled on Black Ships before Troy, which was first published posthumously in 1993. (This book could actually fit in any of my categories: historical fiction, YA, or golden oldies!)
My problem with it is that it’s fairly dry. It reads less as a novel and more as though it were a narrative summary of the Iliad—fleshed out a bit to round out the story—but a summary nevertheless. It’s a very good introduction to the story of Troy for anyone who wants to get a handle on who the main players were and a straightforward account of what happened. But for me, what was lacking was the emotional involvement I usually feel with the characters in various retellings. I know this is tragedy– I usually care more.
So, if you’re concerned your background knowledge in Homer might not be up to snuff, consider this a quick readable Trojan War primer. (There is also a companion volume: The Wanderings of Odysseus that I haven’t read, but that I suspect would be similar.)