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The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

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Description

The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

Publishers Weekly Review

Nov 14, 2011 – Following in Mary Renault’s footsteps and adding some surefooted steps of her own, Miller debuts with a novel that combines the poetic drama of The Iliad with a 21st-century understanding of war, sex, sexual politics, and Trojan War heroism. Miller’s tale begins with Patroclus’ unhappy childhood as the disappointing son of an ambitious king. Exiled to Phthia, the 10-year-old is befriended by confident Prince Achilles. Over time their friendship blooms into love, while Achilles’ mother, the sea nymph Thetis, grows jealously resentful. Patroclus and Achilles follow Agamemnon to recapture Helen from Troy, but the siege wears heavily on Achilles, who awaits the destiny his mother has foretold and his mentor, the centaur Master Chiron, has forewarned: to become the greatest of Greek warriors. In addition to the central story of Achilles and Patroclus, Miller offers a complex study of Briseis, the trophy beauty who inspires a rift between Achilles and Agamemnon; evokes Iphigenia’s sacrifice at Aulis in one quick, brutal image; and probes relationships Homer only hinted at. With language both evocative of her predecessors and fresh, and through familiar scenes that explore new territory, this first-time novelist masterfully brings to life an imaginative yet informed vision of ancient Greece featuring divinely human gods and larger-than-life mortals. She breaks new ground retelling one of the world’s oldest stories about men in love and war, but it is the extraordinary women—Iphigenia, Briseis, and Thetis—who promise readers remarkable things to come as Miller carves out a custom-made niche in historical fiction.

Customer Reviews

Response to m925134

I am only writing this to respond to m925134s comment. The question of whether or not Achilles and Patroclus were in a sexual relationship has been debated by many scholars for ages now. Needless to say, there are significant pointers to their homosexual relationship. In the Iliad, Achilles is described as staying up at night and longing for his (Patroclus')'manhood'. Also, in Plato's Symposium, where the issue of eros (sexual love) is discussed, Aristodemus uses Achilles and Patroclus' relationship as an example of erotic love, stating that Achilles dared to risk his death to aid his 'lover'. Whether or not they were in a homosexual relationship is non conclusive. You should however, be slow to dismissing her ideas, as there is a high possibility that there was some eros between them. Keep in mind that in Ancient Greece, homosexuality was widely practiced and the fact that they were cousins does not nullify the possibility of a sexual relationship, as we see in Homer's Odyssey that Alkinoos married his niece, Arete. The conventions of sexual relationships today are definitely VERY DIFFERENT from those of that time.

Song of Achilles

I read the book sample and hoped it would get better after purchasing the full book. No such luck! The pace was slow and I ended up skimming several pages. I would rather have my money back.

No social commentary, please

Achilles was not gay!!!! Patroclus was his cousin. Why on Earth would you take such a wonderful character and turn the book into soft core gay porn? To show how "with the times" and progressive you are? Such a disappointment!

The Song of Achilles
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Mar 06, 2012
  • Publisher: Ecco
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings