Bessie Book Club: The Song of Achilles

Dust off those Christmas cobwebs with our brand new Bessie Book Club!

Over the next few months on our blog we’ll be highlighting some of the brilliant winners and nominees for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, featuring bite-sized samples of each – equally perfect for your commute or for a lazy Sunday read.

We’re kicking off with the marvellous 2012 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. We will post 3 chapters over the next 3 days.

We challenge you not to be hooked by Monday.

Chapter One

My father was a king and the son of kings. He was a short man, as most of us were, and built like a bull, all shoulders. He married my mother when she was fourteen and sworn by the priestess to be fruitful. It was a good match: she was an only child, and her father’s fortune would go to her husband…

Chapter Two

I was summoned to the king. I remember hating this, the long walk up the endless throne room. At the front, I knelt on stone. Some kings chose to have rugs there for the knees of messengers who had long news to tell. My father preferred not to.

‘King Tyndareus’ daughter is finally ready for marriage,’ he said.

Chapter Three

I stood in the field. In my hands were two pairs of dice, a gift. Not from my father, who’d never think of it. Not from my mother, who sometimes did not know me. I could not remember who had given them to me. A visiting king? A favour-currying noble?