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The Song Of Achilles [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio Cassette]

Madeline Miller , David Thorpe
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (454 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2011

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (1 Dec 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1445014904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445014906
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (454 customer reviews)

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

Product Description


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)

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)

A retelling of The Iliad with entertaining and joyful exuberance ... You may know the story but you've never heard it told like this. A gem (Stylist) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic and simple retelling 3 Nov 2012
This is very much a 'mainstream' retelling of a story a lot of people are vaguely familiar with. The author seems determined to keep everything about it as simple as possible. The characters are very thin. You could probably find out more about them with a quick glance at an encyclopaedia. I though this was a massive missed opportunity to deal with these stories in a more grown up way. The actual prose is deliberately (I hope) simple to reflect the age of the boys but I found this really irritating. With my very limited knowlege of these stories I had hoped to find out something new but was really disappointed. The love story, which is central to the novel, was fine I suppose but unconvincing.

Worth a read but generally disappointing and forgetable
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145 of 161 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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96 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Star 23 Sep 2011
By Hiraethus o Gymru VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Song of Achilles is the first novel (hopefully of many more) by a very talented author, Madeleine Miller. Anyone who has read The King Must Die and The Bull From The Sea by the legendary Mary Renault will lock in immediately to the style of this narrative. Achilles is brought to life from his childhood to his exploits at Troy, but this version of his life is told from the view of Patroclus, his friend, companion and lover. The love aspect of the relationship is handled sensitively and in a manner that will not offend the most sensitive of readers and the action scenes and characters of the heroes, both Greek and Trojan, are well addressed. Once started, I found it difficult to put this book down, and was reluctant to close it at the end. A very different approach to Homer's immortal story has hopefully launched a new literary star into ascendancy and I look forward to more of this lady's work in the near future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Part of this book is spellbinding and the whole is entertaining and good value. Having read the Iliad in translation a long time ago, I recall Achilles as some sort of spoilt teenager, his heroic exploits tangled in complex sub-plots and poetic complexity. Madeline Miller retells the story from the vantage point of his closest companion Patrocles and imagines the Greeks and Trojans as real people. The characters who are centaurs and Gods are dealt with plainly and the story of one boy's brilliant potential and the tricks of the gods moves forward at a good pace. For me, the pages come alive when Odysseus is centre stage, and the gritty realism of the siege of Troy is engaging. A brilliant holiday read. Recommended to anyone with an interest in Greek myth. PS If you enjoyed watching Troy with Brad Pitt, this is probably not the book for you but it will do you good to read it!
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A love short but glorious 27 Sep 2011
By Selene
Those who pick up this novel expecting the sort of rousing martial adventure usually associated with the name Achilles will be in for a shock. This is a same-sex love story; achingly tender and as fraught with fate as that of Romeo and Juliet.

Patroclus is used to being a disappointment. His father is "a king and the son of kings", but his son is scrawny and unprepossessing: "I was not fast. I was not strong. I could not sing". The ideal son is like handsome, athletic Achilles, a boy his own age who takes the winner's garland at the games held by Patroclus' father. "His father comes to claim him, smiling and proud. My own father watches in envy. He turns to me. `That is what a son should be.' I watch King Peleus embrace his son. I see the boy toss the garland in the air, and catch it again. He is laughing, and his face is bright with victory."

Little wonder that when he's exiled to King Peleus' court at the age of ten, Patroclus bitterly resents charismatic, golden-haired Achilles with his preternatural skills and admiring sycophants. No one is more surprised than Patroclus when Achilles chooses him as his companion. Achilles recognizes a kindred-spirit, he too is lonely - who can a prince trust? As their cautious alliance develops into true friendship, Patroclus blossoms; for the first time in his life he has someone who values him, cares about him. The two grow up together, inseparable, and during three carefree years spent studying in isolation with the wise centaur Chiron, they become lovers as well as friends. But inevitable war with Troy brings an end to their idyll, and Patroclus must watch his soul-mate fulfill his implacable destiny as "the greatest warrior of his generation".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a fab book with a great story and very well written
Published 4 days ago by Nicola Numbers
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!
I was totally engrossed by this book. The characters really come to life in the book and the relationships between them felt honest and real. Read more
Published 10 days ago by AngelaJW
1.0 out of 5 stars not my cup of tea
I've read many a good book but I did not like the detail the author went through to show Achilles as being gay, broke back mountain was less descriptive.
Published 17 days ago by tina markey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought as a gift well appreciated
Published 17 days ago by Lynda Mawdsley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent and well written
Published 18 days ago by Barbara Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars The Song Of Achilles
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it. It is a great book and well worth a read
Published 22 days ago by Anna28
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My sister-in-law recommended this book. I enjoyed it greatly.
Published 25 days ago by Mrs. Marie A. Hancocvk
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply epic...
Contrary to some other reviews, I actually believe the simplistic style of prose to be this novel's greatest strength. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Sophie Syms
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful
This is simply one of the most beautifully written books that I have ever read. Each sentence is weighted for maximum impact, and the ending is so perfect it is almost painful
Published 28 days ago by Dee J Kirkby
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
In the end, the book had me nearly crying. Excellently written throughout with a compelling ending. I have no words for how good it truly is.
Published 1 month ago by Tom Slominski
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