The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

song of achilles

Synopsis (Publisher):  The legend begins…  Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

My brief take:  The Song of Achilles is told from Patroclus’ perspective. It is the story of the years leading up to the time when he and Achilles joined the Greeks who were going to Troy to rescue Helen as well as the ten years of war.

Madeline Miller wrote a wonderful adaptation that was easy to read and had me walking longer on the treadmill than I’d intended because I didn’t want to stop reading. I knew how it would end but I loved the new spin on the original story.

I bought the enhanced eBook edition that, with a click on a link, offered pop-up bios of all the important Greek characters, video interviews with the author, and illustrations of armor, etc. There were also audio clips from the audiobook edition for each chapter. I was impressed with the narrator (Frazer Douglas) and would recommend listening as a possible option.

If you’re at all interested in experiencing a classic in a new way I recommend The Song of Achilles (enhanced eBook). I’m glad I took a chance on it!

  • Title:  The Song of Achilles
  • Author:  Madeline Miller
  • Genre:  Literature/Classics/Mythology
  • Published:  March 2012 – Ecco
  • Source:  I bought it