The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
October 15, 2020 7:54 AM EDT

To say that The Song of Achilles is simply a retelling of Homer’s Iliad from a different perspective would be to overlook the depth of emotion that Madeline Miller spent 10 years infusing into the tragic romance that drives her debut. With their fates already written—and inexorably entwined—the story follows exiled prince Patroclus and famed warrior Achilles, “best of all the Greeks,” from their childhood training with the centaur Chiron through their years laying siege to Troy as soldiers in Agamemnon’s army. In the tradition of renowned historical novelist Mary Renault, whose work centered on ancient Greece, Miller crafts a heartbreaking backstory for two of the most pivotal players in Homer’s Trojan War. Miller is by no means the first to suggest that the nature of the relationship between her narrator and Achilles was that of lovers, but it’s her willingness to chart a course that strays outside established myth that brings new life to these legendary heroes. —Megan McCluskey

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