Anyone who knows anything about the Trojan War, or at least Homer’s version of it, knows that a story about Achilles and Patroclus is not one that’s destined for a “and they lived happily ever after” ending. In case you’re in the dark, the book tells you again and again that the ending will not be what you might wish for. So I knew what was going to happen, and yet…and yet…so in love with the characters I was that I dared to hope that events might go a bit differently from how Homer recorded them.
This book tells the story of the life of Achilles, greatest of the Greeks, through the eyes of Patroclus, his beloved. Now I have a friend who happens to be a Classics scholar (yes, they do have friends, some of them), and he assures me that the concept that A and P were a pairing was something added by the later Greeks. But who the Hades cares? Later addition or not it adds a great deal to the story.
And what a story it was! I’ve been a fan of Greek mythology since I was a wee lad, and I’ve seldom come across any version of it better told than this. It not only does a great job of humanizing some of the great heroes of the age, like Achilles, Odysseus and even Hector, but it also does a wonderful job of humanizing the gods, especially Thetis. In addition, there’s plenty of action and excitement to keep those who crave such things very happy.
I have no real complaints about this book, in fact, save that so far it appears to be the only one by this author. I really hope that’s something that changes soon, and I cannot recommend this work highly enough.