The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Book Review)

13/09/2011 § Leave a comment

Miller retells the Iliad through a Patroclus who is both companion and lover to Achilles. Together they journey through lives that culminate in the Trojan War. In focusing on the romantic element of the central relationship Miller diminishes Achilles into a swooning character more suited to the Twilight saga than a retelling of an epic poem. This novel adds nothing to the pre-existing story; rather using it as a template for an insipid love affair. It contains a few boastful references to peripheral knowledge of Homer that will slightly bewilder your average reader and do nothing to excite a classicist.

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield Review

11/06/2011 § Leave a comment

Xeo is the sole Spartan survivor of the bloody battle of the Thermopylae, held captive so his defeaters may learn how 300 men kept the Persian hoards at bay, only to be vanquished by betrayal. Reading Pressfield, it’s easy to understand why producers of 300 considered basing their picture on Gates of Fire. The factual basis of the ultimate underdog story is expertly utilised to envelop readers in an alien world, where war and death were a way of life. Intimately researched, with a narrative as relentlessly engaging as its subjects, Gates of Fire is a gloriously rampant gore fest.

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