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 love - 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.
For those readers who loved Annie Proulx’s classic Brokeback Mountain, this debut novel has many similarities. It depicts a gay love story between men who are embedded in a very masculine culture − though they are warriors not cowboys. Madeline Miller breathes new life into the story of Achilles with a stunning command of language, exceptionally vivid characterisation, and a narrative that is an absolute page-turner, despite the story being so well-known (many readers will know the outcome). The gay love story is central and narrated by Patroclus. Yet the happiness of the young lovers is haunted by the shadows of Troy and the ambiguous prophecies of the gods, who foretell Achilles’ death. Dazzling, compelling and extremely moving, this novel is a triumph of storytelling. Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize. Highly Recommended!
Paperback, 368 Pages, Orig. Publ. 2011, This Ed. Publ. 2012