Patroclus is exiled from his home as a young prince in punishment for killing another boy. He is weak and awkward but somehow befriends the son of King Peleus, Achilles. When Achilles chooses Patroclus as his companion, their friendship grows into something more, yet the sea-nymph Thetis, mother of the future hero, disapproves. She does not want shame brought upon her son, yet she does not want the prophecy hanging over him to come true. The Song of Achilles, follows the two boys throw their childhood, their training with Chiron, the days before the Trojan War and into battle.

I’m so glad fellow bloggers have praised this book otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up. Whilst I love Greek mythology, I’ve always found Iliad related stories quite hard going, yet The Song of Achilles is surprisingly tender. Maybe it helps that I’ve now come to remember many of the sprawling cast of characters but Madeline Miller’s writing is an accessible way to learn the story. She manages to put incredibly human motives behind the events of the Iliad,that had previously seemed a bit bewildering.

Yet knowing what ultimately happens, doesn’t take anything away from Patroclus’ personal telling. It is a much more intimate look at Achilles than any other writer has attempted. Yes, he may turn into a great warrior, but underneath is still the boy that fell in love with Patroclus. It’s one of the most expected yet touching love stories I’ve ever read.

And how do centaurs sleep?

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