The Song of Achilles Book Summary - The Song of Achilles Book explained in key points
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The Song of Achilles summary

Madeline Miller

A Novel

4.3 (43 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a captivating retelling of the Trojan War, focusing on the legendary hero Achilles and his companion Patroclus.
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    The Song of Achilles
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    Patroclus and Achilles grow up together, and fall in love.

    Patroclus and Achilles grew up together, and they’re both sons of kings. But they’re not brothers – they’re lovers.

    They first met years ago, as children. Patroclus came to live at the palace of Achilles’s father. 

    Even then, Patroclus found himself drawn to Achilles, without knowing exactly why. 

    The prince had a brilliance, a beauty … something that burned like a flame. Patroclus would look at Achilles across the dining hall and feel a jolt of electricity, his skin prickling as though a storm were coming.

    And the interest was mutual. The two boys soon became close friends – and then something more.

    So when Achilles left the palace, naturally, Patroclus followed. He joined Achilles in the woods, which was where the prince had been sent for his education – lessons with a wise centaur named Chiron.

    For a while, the two boys live together in Chiron’s cave. 

    They spend their days studying with the centaur, exploring the woods, and bathing in the river. In the evenings, they eat by the campfire and stargaze, learning the stories of the constellations. And in the cave, they fall asleep side by side.

    Their bond gradually deepens. When Patroclus looks into Achilles’s eyes, he feels a sense of absolute certainty. “I will never leave him,” he thinks.

    Two years pass by peacefully. But they both know that this idyllic existence can’t last forever. They’re now 16 years old, and this is the last year of their childhood. It’s only a matter of time before Achilles is called back to the palace.

    And then there’s the prophecy. It is said that one day, Achilles will be the greatest warrior of his generation. He was born to be a hero.

    Beyond these woods, Achilles’s destiny awaits him. The boys savor the precious time they have left.

    One day, they walk through the woods until they reach a grove of olive trees. There, they sit and talk of their families and the future.

    Achilles asks Patroclus if he can name a hero who lived happily.

    Patroclus thinks, but he can’t come up with a single example. In one way or another, they’ve all had tragic lives. There’s no such thing as a happy hero.

    But then Achilles says to Patroclus, “I’ll be the first. And you’re the reason.”

    With Patroclus by his side, Achilles feels invincible. 

    And it’s just as well, because war is on the horizon.

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    What is The Song of Achilles about?

    The Song of Achilles (2011) is a creative retelling of Homer’s Iliad. The epic tale of the Trojan War is transformed into a moving love story, told from the perspective of Patroclus, the beloved companion of the Greek hero Achilles.

    The Song of Achilles Review

    The Song Of Achilles (2011) offers readers a fresh perspective on the Trojan War and the timeless story of Achilles. This compelling novel stands out for its:

    • Unique portrayal of Achilles and Patroclus, exploring their deep bond, love, and loyalty.
    • Richly imagined world that immerses readers in ancient Greece, its heroes, and its myths.
    • Emotional depth that brings new life to the epic tale and resonates with modern audiences.

    Experience the powerful and moving story of The Song Of Achilles today.

    Who should read The Song of Achilles?

    • Hopeless romantics
    • Fans of Greek mythology
    • Anyone interested in the Iliad and the Trojan War

    About the Author

    Madeline Miller studied Classics at Brown University and went on to teach Latin and Greek. Her novels, The Song of Achilles and Circe, are adaptations of Greek myths and were both New York Times best sellers.

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    The Song of Achilles FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Song Of Achilles?

    The main message of The Song Of Achilles is the power of love, loyalty, and the human side of legendary heroes.

    How long does it take to read The Song Of Achilles?

    It takes approximately 9 hours to read The Song Of Achilles, while the Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is The Song Of Achilles a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Song Of Achilles is a beautifully written, emotionally engaging retelling of a classic tale.

    Who is the author of The Song Of Achilles?

    The author of The Song Of Achilles is Madeline Miller.

    How many chapters are in The Song Of Achilles?

    The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller has 34 chapters.

    How many pages are in The Song Of Achilles?

    There are 352 pages in The Song Of Achilles.

    When was The Song Of Achilles published?

    The Song Of Achilles was published in 2011.

    What to read after The Song of Achilles?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Song of Achilles, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Mythos by Stephen Fry
    • The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
    • The Iliad by Homer
    • Mythology by Edith Hamilton
    • The WEIRDest People in the World by Joseph Henrich
    • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    • The Daily Laws by Robert Greene
    • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers
    • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
    • Aristotle’s Way by Edith Hall