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The Song of Achilles: A Novel | [Madeline Miller]

The Song of Achilles: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2012 Madeline Miller (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What the Critics Say

“[Miller] makes a persuasive argument for the timeliness of her subject. …Miller’s winning debut focuses on Patroclus, a young prince living in Achilles’ golden shadow. Miller also gives voice to many of the women who were also consigned to the shadows.” (Publishers Weekly, Spring 2012 Preview, Top 10 Literary Fiction)

“You don’t need to be familiar with Homer’s The Iliad (or Brad Pitt’s Troy, for that matter) to find Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles spellbinding....her explorations of ego, grief, and love’s many permutations are both familiar and new....[A] timeless love story.” (O magazine)

“A psychologically astute Iliad prelude featuring the heady, star-crossed adolescence of future heroes Patroclus and Achilles.” (Vogue)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (496 )
5 star
 (240)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.1 (449 )
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4.4 (451 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    joni 06-25-12
    joni 06-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting things I never knew"

    Really enjoyed this history and renewal of Greek mythology. I never knew that Achilles had a good friend in Promethius

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 06-02-12
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 06-02-12 Member Since 2010

    Rickapolis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Song of Wonder"
    Any additional comments?

    This is simply one of the very best Audible books I've yet listened to. Miller's prose and Douglas's narration are unsurpassed. I've read several books based on Homer's works, but this is the only one I can think of that I'd recommend to everyone and anyone. Yes, the details of the intimacy between the two men made me feel a little uncomfortable, but that tells you more about me than it does about the book. (All you macho guys that are afraid others will think you're gay because you listened to this book just pretend that you fast forwarded passed 'those' parts). The details of the violence of the battles made me feel even more uncomfortable, but I survived them as well. Knowing all but the details of how it was to end did not spoil a single minute. The story was moving, believable, and made me wish for more. I give this five stars only because I cannot give it six. A must listen. An absolute must.
    Rick

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arlene Chino Hills, CA, United States 04-19-12
    Arlene Chino Hills, CA, United States 04-19-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favorite type of story and story-telling."
    Where does The Song of Achilles rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very near the top. Loved the story line.


    What other book might you compare The Song of Achilles to and why?

    Comparing to Phillipa Gregory's type of presentation. Love the character personalities and the believability of them as individuals. Song of Achillies is a very well presented mythological story and if you are a myth buff, this is perfect for a listen.


    What does Frazer Douglas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice characterizations are very honest and distinctive. Easy to fall into each one of them with his narration.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I felt the entire presentation combined with the story line was great.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy the book. You won't be sorry. I will probably listen a second time.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Santa Rosa , CA, USA 06-17-12
    Doug Santa Rosa , CA, USA 06-17-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Bait and switch"
    Any additional comments?

    Before buying this title I listened to the first few minutes and was caught like a fish on a hook. It was fast paced and fascinating—historical fiction that promised to take me back to the birth of civilization. Turns out, that was just the back story. The rest of the book, or at least the rest that I could stand to listen to, was an insipid boy's account of his romantic homosexual desires for an impossibly perfect cliche of a character, who may or may not be a god. Yes the gods, not to mention centaurs, are real in this book. The plotting is tedious, merely an excuse to separate the lovers briefly, then conveniently unite them again. And when they are united BTW, the author jumps to the dawn every time. She hasn't the nerve or imagination to give account to the sex. But she's very good at describing pounding hearts and sweaty chests. The narration is not helped by the readers' attempts to portray feminine voices.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gordon 02-05-13
    Gordon 02-05-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    305
    9
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    "Achilles and his boyfriend Patroclus"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. The homosexual lust became more of a distraction than an enhancement. This book read more like a gay Harlequin bodice-ripper than an historical fiction. Although there have been centuries of speculation whether Achilles and Patroclus were lovers or just comrades in arms, Miller removed all doubt -- in more detail than I prefer. The first incident I dismissed as youthful androgynous fascination of the plain for the beautiful, regardless of sex. The second was more specific, and other occasions were even more graphic. An analysis of the fascination with feet would power a master's thesis for a literature major, or a psychologist. Although I commend Miller's ability to write about sexual encounters without devolving into crass profanity, I still would have preferred this story -- which is otherwise very well written -- to avoid the thrusting, sticky, strokes that occupied so much of the text.


    Would you recommend The Song of Achilles to your friends? Why or why not?

    No.


    What about Frazer Douglas’s performance did you like?

    He was able to vary the voices of the characters in ways that helped paint their personalities very realistically.


    Was The Song of Achilles worth the listening time?

    No. I would have preferred to read this book as text, so I could skip over the tedious grope and moan sections and get to the real story.


    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Pinson, TN, United States 01-07-13
    Cindy Pinson, TN, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "PLEASE advise of sexual content!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I only wish there had been even a HINT regarding the sexual content in this story so I wouldn't have used one of my precious credits on it. I should have read ALL the reviews instead of the first few. Will do that from now on!


    What was most disappointing about Madeline Miller’s story?

    I prefer heterosexual content.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    N/A


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Couldn't finish it...


    Any additional comments?

    There should be a sexual content rating system.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew Brooklyn, MI, United States 07-21-12
    Drew Brooklyn, MI, United States 07-21-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Homo Erotic Fiction"

    Inaccurate publishers description. The book is about the love between the 2 protagonists and not about the war which only occupies the last 1/3 of the book. Unless you want to listen to 2 guys loving each other this isn't for you. If 2 guys want to fall in love that's ok with me, I just don't want to read about it. The reader did well with different voices but was limited by the sappy material. This book is not recommended!

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary Bechtle Cincinnati, OH USA 06-15-12
    Zachary Bechtle Cincinnati, OH USA 06-15-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Completely Misleading"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like romance novels


    What could Madeline Miller have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Advertised the book accurately. It is pitched as a story between friends who go to war, not a romance novel between dudes (which is what it is)


    What three words best describe Frazer Douglas’s performance?

    Nuanced but breathy


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The prose style was eloquent, and her ability to delve into the psyche of the characters was admirable.


    Any additional comments?

    Disappointing. My first negative review on audible

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 04-25-13
    Teri Bremerton, WA, United States 04-25-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    91
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    "Golden"
    Where does The Song of Achilles rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really liked the story : it kept me going


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Song of Achilles?

    When they met the menator


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are so many parts it is hard to find just one


    Any additional comments?

    I couldnt stop listening : in car , at home , on patio I was really involved ; i wanted to hear more

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna United States 04-13-13
    Donna United States 04-13-13
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    4
    2
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    "Book contains homosexual sex"
    What disappointed you about The Song of Achilles?

    This book wasn't my style. There is homosexual sex described in detail. Sex scenes in such detail are not to my liking, gay or straight.


    Has The Song of Achilles turned you off from other books in this genre?

    This is not my style of story. I wouldn't have even tried it if I had known. I don't really go in for explicit sex in any story, so its inclusion in several scenes made me stop listening before the end.


    What about Frazer Douglas’s performance did you like?

    His voices and accent were good.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It could have been good. It wasn't a bad story at the start. Others may really enjoy it.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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