Winner of The Orange Prize 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
Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. Achilles, 'best of all the Greeks', is everything Patroclus is not - strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess - and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship.
As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause.
Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
About the Author
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.
'Terrific. The Trojan wars and the legendary love story of Patrolus and Achilles told with all the intensity and accuracy that this world of violence, superstition and romantic deserves.' The Judges of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012
'A captivating retelling of the Iliad and events leading up to it through the point of view of Patroclus: it's a hard book to put down, and any classicist will be enthralled by her characterisation of the goddess Thetis, which carries the true savagery and chill of antiquity' - Donna Tartt The Times
'I loved it.' J.K. Rowling
'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 Original
'Clever, and in a class of its own ... an incredibly compelling and seductive read'. Independent on Sunday
'A remarkably fresh take on one of the most familiar narratives in western literature.' The Times
'Extraordinary... Beautifully descriptive and heart-achingly lyrical, this is a love story as sensitive and intuitive as any you will find.' Daily Mail
'Sexy, dangerous, mystical.' Bettany Hughes
'If I were to give a prize for the best work of fiction I've read this year, this would be the runaway winner. As a first novel, it heralds the arrival of a major new talent.' A.N. Wilson, Reader's Digest