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The Song of Achilles [Kindle Edition]

Madeline Miller
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (556 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

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 something deeper - 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.

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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 Christmas Books)

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)

Inventive, passionate, uplifting and different. It will appeal to all ages. It's a book which despite some of the stiffest competition in the modern world is a truly worthy winner (Joanna Trollope, chair of the judges for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012)


'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 'The Song of Achilles is at once a scholar's homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist. Madeline Miller has given us her own fresh take on the Trojan war and its heroes. The result is a book I could not put down' Ann Patchett, author of the Orange Prizewinning, Bel Canto

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1226 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408816032
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (5 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408821982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408821985
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (556 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,365 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She also studied in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel. Website:

Photo credit: Nina Subin

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely beautiful, poetic prose 20 Aug. 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am a teenage girl who absolutely fell for the poetic prose of Madeline Miller. It had me crying at the end. I must say the first half of the book, when the pair are children, was far more enjoyable than the second for me - it is written so simply but so beautifully, and I found it utterly compelling and gentle. Yes, there is recurring adoration from Patroclus - but that's the point. it wouldn't work otherwise. I would thoroughly recommend this book. wonderful!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GO READ THIS RIGHT NOW!! 2 May 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would like to say in all seriousness: This is now my favourite book.

I've been trying to figure out what to say in this review for a few days now, and I just can't? This book destroyed me.

This book was meant for me.

I remember the first time I ever saw this book was in an airport. It can't have been very long after it was published because this was only about 3-4 years ago, and I was on my way to visit my Father in the UK. I hadn't even read the blurb, but I had decided I wanted this book. I knew I was going to love it. I wanted to buy it! But, as my Mother pointed out, I already had enough books to read whilst I was away - I could get the book when we got back.

I didn't get the book when I got back. I ended up getting it on Kindle years later, and then put off reading it for months.

Why? I don't know. I love all things Ancient History - more than anything, the Ancient Greeks. This is exactly my kind of thing. I remember having this same love affair with Mary Renault's The Alexander Trilogy. So I honestly don't know why I waited until now to read this book.

Do I regret that I waited this long? Absolutely not. It might only be a matter of 3-4 years, but I would never have appreciated this book then, the way I do now.

The Song of Achilles is the story of the illustrious Achilles Peleides, Aristos Achaion. More than that, it's the story of what made him human in spite of being half-god. The book is told from the narrative of Patroclus Menotiades, an exiled prince, who comes to the court of King Peleus, and there meets the second half of his soul.

Miller has obviously followed Plato's interpretation of their relationship here. Contrary to major movies starring Brad Pitt, Achilles and Patroclus were not cousins.
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150 of 167 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but... 2 Oct. 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is very well-written and very involving in places but I did have my reservations about it. Patroclus's narrative voice is believable and gives a convincing account of his childhood misfortunes, the events which lead up to the Trojan War and the War itself. I like the depictions of characters like Odysseus and Agamemnon very much, place and mood are very well evoked, and there are some exciting and very interesting episodes.

Madeline Miller is very keen to portray the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles as one of deep, enduring love, both spiritual and sexual. Whether or not this is justified by the source texts is arguable, but it is a noble aim. However, what we actually get is long, long periods where Patroclus moons around after Achilles like a love-sick puppy, to the point that I felt that the author herself was the one in love with Achilles and wasn't going to miss an opportunity to write a beautifully constructed sentence about his muscles, his hair, the curve of his chin or the soles of his feet (which seem to hold an endless fascination for her) and so on, which I eventually found almost unendurably tedious in places.

There were sufficient good things about this book to make a three-star rating seem very churlish, but it's only just four stars for me. Many other reviewers here have obviously enjoyed it very much, but I can only give it a qualified recommendation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprise Hit 2 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I am sure I am not alone in being surprised by this novel. I did not expect it to be one I’d enjoy. I love films about Ancient Greece and Rome but I’m not insane about literature. I have read some of the Classics, The Iliad and The Odyssey but it’s never been my thing. I’d never choose a novel because it was focused on this period, it’s a little early for me. Chaucer is about as far back as I go out of choice, or perhaps to The Divine Comedy but nothing further than that. I expected The Song of Achilles to be a challenge but in the same breath I didn’t, as a what was the Orange Prize for Fiction winner, I assumed it must have some mainstream appeal. I wasn’t wrong.

Patroclus is a sensational narrator. I really enjoyed getting to know his voice and with my limited knowledge of Ancient Greek literature and legend, I only had a vague idea of who he was. I loved getting to know him and seeing his character grow throughout the novel. I loved his relationship with Briseis and even his scenes with Thetis. Miller’s control of Patroclus’ voice really is impossible not to enjoy, I got further and further drawn into his story and of course, his descriptions of Achilles make him sound every bit the hero, the perfect partner and beauty. I also love the way Miller doesn’t allow infallibility in her characters, even through his love for Achilles, Patroclus is able to see his weaknesses and through describing these their story feels even more real.

The pace of the plot is perfect. The characters travel across and around the Greek Empire and following them is nothing but a joy. The sense of tragedy is ever present, it’s inevitably coming but it’s impossible not to read on and see how things unfold. Miller’s playfulness with a well-known ancient tale is wonderful and though much of the story stays true to the myth I really loved reading Miller’s retelling. Impressive, especially as I wasn’t expecting much.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Love this book so much I have bought 5 copies extra to gift it to me friends
Published 1 day ago by Edgar Benavent
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Delightfully told tale on a familiar theme.
Published 4 days ago by Paula Diggle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
different - not what you expect from a historical novel
Published 4 days ago by larry graham
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in Parts
Enjoyed the historical parts but got rather fed up when it degenerated into a third rate love story
Published 7 days ago by A Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
beautiful tender personal take on the trojan war. His mother is very scary!!
Published 15 days ago by Mandy Hough
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
I loved it and I wanted it to go on and on. I sure hope Ms Miller writes more, and in particular writes more in this genre. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Siniolo
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read.
Miller brings the story of Achilles to life with artful portrayal of all the Greek characters we have heard of but don't know. An engrossing read.
Published 25 days ago by N. A. Mcguinness
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with for me the unexpected element of Achilles male lover.
I really enjoyed the book Greek myth etc and after reading Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella both books telling of Helen disappearance/abduction from differant aspects.
Published 25 days ago by Mrs J Riley
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told
I really enjoyed reading this book, I was swept into the life of Patroclus and enjoyed reading the story that we all know so well from his perspective. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Miss Maria Gibbs
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written traditional tale from a new aspect
Very well written and kept your interest even though the outcome of the story is well known. Certainly a different angle to the traditional story, but well worth the read.
Published 27 days ago by Peter Mercer
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