Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Length: 368 pages
About: Trojan war and love story
Style: 1st person
Where: Greece and Troy
When: 1200 BC
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed
prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.
But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him,
little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
When the priest strikes the ground, he slips past the thickened bodies of the older boys. He moves easily, his heels flashing pink as licking tongues. He wins.
I stare as my father lifts the garland from my lap and crowns him; the leaves seem almost black against the brightness of his hair. His father, Peleus, comes to claim him, smiling and proud. Peleus’
kingdom is smaller than ours, but his wife is rumoured to be a goddess, and his people love him. My own father watches with envy. His wife is stupid and his son too slow to race in even the youngest
group. He turns to me.
"That is what a son should be."
For a whistlestop tour around the life and times of Achilles, you'd be hard pressed to find a better guide than Madeline Miller.
Viv Groskop, 11th September 2011
Not so good:
Miller’s prose often reads like homoerotic slash fiction, but with heroes from mythology instead of Frodo and Sam. “Our mouths opened under each other,” she writes, bafflingly, when Achilles and
Patroclus first kiss.
Philip Womack, The Daily Telegraph, 30th May 2012
About the author
Miller was born on July 24, 1978 in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. After graduating from Brown University with a bachelor's and master's in Classics, Miller went on to teach
Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She also studied at the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought and at the Yale School of Drama. Miller lives in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, where she teaches and writes.