A GUARDIAN BEST BOOK OF THE 21ST CENTURY
'Chilling, powerful, audacious' The Times
'Magnificent. You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers' Evening Standard
There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan War whose voice has been silent - until now. Discover the greatest Greek myth of all - retold by the witness that history forgot . . .
Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is a slave to the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story?
PERFECT FOR FANS OF MADELINE MILLER'S CIRCE AND THE SONG OF ACHILLES.
*Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Costa Novel Award*
Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths in The Women of Troy.
Barker, author of the Booker-winning The Ghost Road, speculates about the fate of the women taken captive during the Trojan War, as related in Homer's Iliad. Briseis, queen of the small country of Lyrnessus, was captured by the Greek forces and awarded to Achilles, fated to serve him as slave and concubine. Through her eyes readers see the horror of war: the sea of blood and corpses, the looting, and the drunken aftermath of battle. When Agamemnon demands that Briseis be handed over to him, Achilles reacts with rage and refuses to fight, and when his foster brother and lover Patrocles is killed, having gone into battle in Achilles's stead, Briseis becomes the unwitting catalyst of a turning point in the war. In Barker's hands, the conflict takes on a new dimension, with revisionist portraits of Achilles ("we called him the butcher") and Patroclus (he had "taken his mother's place" in Achilles's heart). Despite its strong narrative line and transportive scenes of ancient life, however, this novel lacks the lyrical cadences and magical intensity of Madeline Miller's Circe, another recent revising of Greek mythology. The use of British contemporary slang in the dialogue is jarring, and detracts from the story's intensity. Yet this remains a suspenseful and moving illumination of women's fates in wartime.
The thought of war sparks words such as violence, savagery, brutality and enslavement and that’s what the author has clearly portrayed throughout the book.
Pat Barker seizes the reader retelling the fall of Troy, the heroism of Achilles and the Greek men and in contrast unfolds the brutal treatment of the Trojan women & girls.
The Greek Men and boys have to survive these brutal wars and then are rewarded with the loots of Troy including enslaving the Trojan women and girls.
These horrors of the battlefields are confronting and unimaginable.