Click cover to read a sample

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

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.

"Patroclus’ story was always there in the background calling to me. I wrote on weekends, on holidays, every scrap moment I could find."

Explore the other winners

Shortlist announced - 21 Apr

Stay in the loop

Enter your email to be the first to know the latest news from the Women's Prize For Fiction

VOTE

Vote for your favourite #WomensPrize winner

Cast your vote for your favourite #ReadingWomen book and decide who will be our Winner of Winners in our 25th year.

Favourite book Live

  • A Spell of Winter
    5% 118 / 2.2k
  • Fugitive Pieces
    1% 45 / 2.2k
  • Larry's Party
    1% 32 / 2.2k
  • A Crime in the Neighborhood
    0% 16 / 2.2k
  • When I Lived in Modern Times
    0% 17 / 2.2k
  • The Idea of Perfection
    0% 13 / 2.2k
  • Bel Canto
    4% 93 / 2.2k
  • Property
    0% 10 / 2.2k
  • Small Island
    8% 203 / 2.2k
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
    7% 183 / 2.2k
  • On Beauty
    3% 74 / 2.2k
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
    19% 458 / 2.2k
  • The Road Home
    2% 55 / 2.2k
  • Home
    2% 52 / 2.2k
  • The Lacuna
    2% 63 / 2.2k
  • The Tiger's Wife
    1% 32 / 2.2k
  • The Song of Achilles
    11% 265 / 2.2k
  • May We Be Forgiven
    1% 33 / 2.2k
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
    2% 59 / 2.2k
  • How to be Both
    4% 101 / 2.2k
  • The Glorious Heresies
    2% 59 / 2.2k
  • The Power
    4% 112 / 2.2k
  • Home Fire
    6% 145 / 2.2k
  • An American Marriage
    4% 105 / 2.2k
Win a set of our 2020 shortlist!

Sign up for the Women's Prize for Fiction newsletter and win a stack of this year's six shortlisted books.

(We will send you occasional emails full of author interviews, extracts and audio, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Please read our privacy policy for more information).