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Following her bestselling, critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths.
Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors - all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo - camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it.
The women of Troy.
Helen - poor Helen. All that beauty, all that grace - and she was just a mouldy old bone for feral dogs to fight over.
Cassandra, who has learned not to be too attached to her own prophecies. They have only ever been believed when she can get a man to deliver them.
Stubborn Amina, with her gaze still fixed on the ruined towers of Troy, determined to avenge the slaughter of her king.
Hecuba, howling and clawing her cheeks on the silent shore, as if she could make her cries heard in the gloomy halls of Hades. As if she could wake the dead.
And Briseis, carrying her future in her womb: the unborn child of the dead hero Achilles. Once again caught up in the disputes of violent men. Once again faced with the chance to shape history.
Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker's extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.
'Taut, masterly, wholly absorbing. Still one of the greatest stories ever written. A book that will be read in generations to come' Daily Telegraph on The Silence of the Girls
© Pat Barker 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
In a novel filled with names from legend, Briseis stands tall as a heroine: brave, smart and loyal. Barker's latest is a wonder.
This continuation of the Trojan woman's story feels like another victory for every person who was silenced by history, their story stolen from them
A stirring adventure set amid a misogynist dystopia
Barker is at her best when she evokes Hecuba's grief on the shore, surrounded by a group of female slaves with the ruined city behind them...
As a novelist, Barker has always looked on the world with the combination of a cold eye and a sympathetic understanding. Her characterisation is sharp, her sympathy deep. She extends it even to the often brutal men.
Her overall achievement is to have taken one of the great myths of European history, something that has permeated Western culture for 3,000 years, and made something new and immediate of it.
I'd still rather
read Barker's take on the gruesome
realities and costs of war - ancient
or modern - than any other novelist
Merciless, stripped of
consoling beauty, impressively bleak.
This is a powerful page-turner, bringing ancient characters and stories into full colour. Skip Homer, and just enjoy this epic read
Briseis . . . returns again in this rich, readable sequel . . . Barker brings to life the mythical Trojan women.
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In The Silence of the Girls, Booker prize-winning author Pat Barker gives voice to the voiceless characters of The Iliad