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The Song of Achilles
Cover of The Song of Achilles
The Song of Achilles
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

"At once a scholar's homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist....A book I could not put down."
—Ann Patchett

"Mary Renault lives again!" declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller's thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer's enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller's monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction's brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

"At once a scholar's homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist....A book I could not put down."
—Ann Patchett

"Mary Renault lives again!" declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller's thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer's enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller's monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction's brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Madeline Miller is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of two novels: The Song of Achilles, which won the Orange Women's Prize for Fiction 2012, and Circe, which was short-listed for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019. Her books have been translated into over thirty two languages. Miller holds an MA in Classics from Brown University, studied in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms, and taught Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare to high school students for over a decade.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 14, 2011
    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.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2011

    Scrawny ten-year-old Prince Patroclus has been sent to the court of King Peleus, where he's befriended by the king's son, Achilles. Then comes the siege of Troy. Yes, it's a modern take on The Iliad, full of love and glory; as Emma Donoghue declared, "Mary Renault lives again!"

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 15, 2011

    The story of the Trojan War is well known thanks to Homer's Iliad. Debut author Miller has chosen to retell this epic from the point of view of Patroclus, an exiled Greek prince who is taken in by Peleus, the father of Achilles. It isn't long before the lonely boy is befriended by Achilles. Over the years their tentative friendship grows into a deep and passionate love that stands firm in the face of the disapproval of their elders, dire prophecies, and the wrath of the gods themselves. Miller skillfully weaves tender scenes of the boys' relationship with breathtaking descriptions of battles and their bloody aftermath. VERDICT Miller's degrees in Latin and Greek as well as her passion for the theater and the history of the ancient world have given her the tools to create a masterly vision of the drama, valor, and tragedy of the Trojan War. Readers who loved Mary Renault's epic novels will be thrilled with Miller's portrayal of ancient Greece. This reviewer can't wait to see what she writes next. [See Prepub Alert, 9/19/11.]--Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2012

    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.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Song of Achilles
A Novel
Madeline Miller
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