Select one of the keywords
The Song of Achilles    by Madeline Miller order for
Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Ecco, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A beautifully written work, The Song of Achilles provides a unique look at the characters of the Iliad, focusing in particular on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. Since it has an informative glossary of gods and mortals, the work does not require much if any knowledge of the Iliad.

Patroclus, a child of nobility, scorned and awkward, accidentally kills a childhood friend and is banished from his kingdom to stay with King Peleus and his son Achilles. Achilles, a half-god, is an object of admiration by all. Yet he and the now-lowly Patroclus become friends, passing their time in boyhood pursuits until they are old enough to learn the arts of war and medicine. When Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, Achilles must join the warriors of Greece in the siege of Troy. Timid Patroclus accompanies Achilles, and their fate is the subject of the last part of the novel.

We are treated to a very clear view of these mortals, who are so involved with their gods that they must obey and appease them at every turn. How the actually very separate tribal kingdoms of Greece unite, the politics and logistics of their travels to Troy, all come alive, even though only in the story's background. It is the love Patroclus and Achilles have for each other that dominates the story and is the source of this novel's fascination. The author has created a very real, personal world for us to know and understand these characters, who otherwise are mostly seen as distant and legendary.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Historical books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews