The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Many, many stories recount the ill fated love between Helen of Sparta and Paris of Troy. It started with the face that launched a thousand ships, the bloody battle in the age of the heroes that once walked amongst us, and the long and perilous road home for the Greeks. A cursory glance at my bookshelf reveals just a few of such tales. If you’re looking for a historically accurate recount of the battle based on the Iliad, look no further than Lindsay Clarke’s The War at Troy, and The Return from Troy. If you’re looking for a novel penned in Helen’s point of view, I recommend Margaret George’s Helen of Troy.

The Song of Achilles tells the familiar story, however through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles beloved comrade and, according to Miller, lover.

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

The song of achilles

Patroclus, himself a Prince, is cast out of his kingdom and sent to live with the gentle Peleus, King of the Myrmidons. It is here the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles blossoms from jealousy, to friendship, and amongst the lush landscape of Mt Pelion, something even more. Continue reading