LONGLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2012. A breathtakingly original rendering of the Trojan War - a devastating love story and a tale of gods and kings, immortal fame and the human heart
Madeline Miller has a BA and MA from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek, and has been teaching both for the past nine years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.
'Mary Renault lives again! A ravishingly vivid and convincing
version of one of the most legendary of love stories' * Emma
Donoghue, author of number one bestseller, Room *
'The Song of Achilles is at once a scholar's homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist. Madeline Miller has given us her own fresh take on the Trojan war and its heroes. The result is a book I could not put down' * Ann Patchett, author of the Orange Prizewinning, Bel Canto *
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. Agent: Barer Literary. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Patroclus, exiled prince of ancient Greece and lover of the famous warrior Achilles, is at the center of this romantic tale, Miller's first novel, which also features many other mythical heroes, both human and divine, with the Trojan War as a backdrop. VERDICT The interference of the Greek deities in mortals' daily lives makes for a stunning mix of larger-than-life action and authentically human emotions, while stellar writing and sympathetic portrayals of complex characters breathe new life into an ancient story. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.