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Women of Troy #2

The Women of Troy

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A daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it—an extraordinary follow up to The Silence of the Girls from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Regeneration Trilogy.

Troy has fallen and the victorious Greeks are eager to return home with the spoils of an endless war—including the women of Troy themselves. They await a fair wind for the Aegean.

It does not come, because the gods are offended. The body of King Priam lies unburied and desecrated, and so the victors remain in suspension, camped in the shadows of the city they destroyed as the coalition that held them together begins to unravel. Old feuds resurface and new suspicions and rivalries begin to fester.

Largely unnoticed by her captors, the one time Trojan queen Briseis, formerly Achilles's slave, now belonging to his companion Alcimus, quietly takes in these developments. She forges alliances when she can, with Priam's aged wife the defiant Hecuba and with the disgraced soothsayer Calchas, all the while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge.

307 pages, Hardcover

First published August 24, 2021

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About the author

Pat Barker

34 books1,970 followers
Pat Barker, CBE, FRSL was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics.

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration; The Eye in the Door, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road, winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. She's married and lives in Durham, England.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,640 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,508 reviews30.9k followers
August 31, 2021
another great book to add to my greek mythology retellings bookshelf and a wonderful follow-up to PBs previous book, ‘the silence of the girls.’

i do have a feeling that some readers may find the content of this installment to be a bit boring, however. this story takes place from the moment troy falls up until the greeks leave to return to their various homes. and, objectively, not much happens during this time, so there really isnt much of a plot other than post-war logistics.

i didnt mind this, personally, as this part of the trojan war isnt often retold (theres not a lot of source material for it), so i found the speculations PB made about the characters and their actions to be very interesting. i think she does a wonderful job at making the characters her own, but staying faithful to the originals, especially when it comes to pyrrhus. and, as always, PBs writing is so, so pretty. so all of these things made the story a worthwhile and enjoyable read for me.

easily recommendable to fans of greek mythology, particularly those who want to read more about the characters of the trojan war.

a massive thanks to doubleday books for the ARC!!

4 stars
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
May 31, 2021
Pat Barker picks up from The Silence of the Girls, giving continuing voice to the silenced women, after the Greeks have emerged victorious from the terrors of the war with the fall of Troy, with all the males wiped out and King Priam left unburied. Laden with the spoils of war, the treasure, the women and the weaponry, they are unable to set off, prevented by the weather, an expression of the gods unhappiness. The scene is set for tensions, conflicts, feuds, suspicions, violence and frustrations to arise among the men as they drink copiously. We get some insights into male perspectives, such as that of Achilles's son, Pyrrhus, an insecure boy, feeling the pressure of his father's legacy. This novel can feel a little underpowered in comparison to the previous book, but it provides a more nuanced picture that illustrates that the dangers of peace can be as unnerving and troubling as war.

Briseis remains the narrator, having been the prize trophy of the now dead Achilles, she finds herself married to Alcimus, carrying Achilles's child. She is now a woman of status, but feeling a connection with the enslaved women, doing what she can to bring them together, looking to forge alliances. The traumatised, despairing and grieving women, are feeling powerless, resentful, anger, fear, humiliated, struggling to adjust to their circumstances and Barker excels in portraying women who have complicated and differing responses. This is a story of Briseis, the practicality of her nature in dealing with all that that has been thrown at her, this is at the heart of her approach to her current position, of women, their resilience, their ability to survive the most desperate, harrowing and precarious of situations. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
683 reviews1,049 followers
December 5, 2021
“Just pour the sodding wine and hope it chokes them.”

Really enjoyed this second instalment.

We join Briseis again, who is now married to Alcimus and carrying Achilles’ baby.
She is treated different by the other women as she is now a ‘wife’ rather than a slave like the others.

We meet many of the other Trojan women including Hecuba - Priam’s wife, Andromache - Hector’s wife and Cassandra - the daughter of Priam and Hecuba.

We see the stark reality the women faced. Particularly when one of the women reveals she is pregnant from a Trojan man and fears for the babies life particularly if it is a boy as all Trojan males are killed.

Overall an informative and gripping book full of powerful characters and strong women.

“Women are peculiar creatures. We tend not to love those who murder our families.”
September 3, 2021
After reading the first book in this series I was really excited to get stuck into this one, it did not disappoint.

The Women of Troy follows the story of Briseis and the other women who are taken as slaves when the Trojan Horse infiltrates the walls of Troy.

I absolutely love that Pat Barker has been able to give the women of Troy a voice through these books. Most stories focus on the Greek men involved in these tales, stories of heroism and bravery. They skirt over the atrocities that were committed and the suffering of the females they captured. This series gives a fresh but important perspective to the mythological tales.

I have two small issues with this book that slightly dampened my enjoyment of it. Firstly, there was some language used by Briseis that did not sit well with me at all. Upon reading it my mind started wandering else where as I tried to understand why it was used, I would have preferred it to have been left out. Secondly, I had the same issue with this book that I had with the first book. Most of the story is from Briseis perspective, but for random chapters the perspective would change to one of the men without making it obvious. This always threw me off and I sometimes had to reread passages to figure out whose perspective was being used. That being said, reading the first two books in this series back to back really added to my enjoyment. I can’t wait to see what Pat Barker does next!

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Greek mythology. I want to thank Tandem Collective, Penguin UK Publishers and Pat Barker for allowing me to read this book and give my personal thoughts.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,085 reviews30.1k followers
December 12, 2021
Oh my gosh, I LOVED Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, and I have been awaiting this follow-up, The Women of Troy. If you haven’t read The Silence yet, definitely read that one first because I think it makes the experience of book two even richer.

The story begins when Troy falls. The Greeks have won, but they can’t leave to go home with their victory because the wind is gone. So, they are stuck in Troy with all its women, including Helen, Briseis, Hecuba, and Cassandra. Briseis, the narrator, carries the child of the now late Achilles.

What I love most about these retellings are how the female characters are given a voice, not only through Briseis’s narration, but in their actions and how the story is told. Their strength and resilience when pitted against upheaval and unimaginable loss is in the foreground, as it should be. I have a feeling there’s going to be a book three and that there’s more to Briseis’s story, and I am definitely up for that!

I received a gifted copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Lucy.
413 reviews601 followers
August 25, 2021

After reading book 1 of the Trojan War through the eyes of Briseis, I was excited to see that Pat Barker was also writing a sequel.

Despite the war being over and the fall of Troy, the Greek armies are still based at Troy and cannot yet leave. It shows how bleak the aftermath of war is, the slaves and the fallen, as well as the victors all itching to get home. This book picks up after the events of book 1; Briseis is now married to Alcimus, pregnant with Achilles child and a free-woman.

This book included three POV’s: Briseis; Pyrrhus (Neoptolemus); and, Calchas (the prophet). In Briseis POV we get to see her struggle with her now “freed” status, especially as all of her friends and girls she knows are slaves to the Greek armies. Through Phyrrus, despite really wanting to hate him for his actions, we also get to see how a young man is struggling and trying to live up to the Legend that was his father, and constantly living in his shadow. Through Calchas we get to see through the eyes of the prophet, an outsider among the Greeks as he was originally from Troy dealing with bullying and falling out of favour from Agamemnon.

This book also featured the captured Trojan women, specifically the royal family; Hecuba, Andromache, Cassandra and Helen. How they’re treated by the Greek men and feeling the loss of their kingdom. I always feel so sorry for Andromache especially as she is repeatedly raped by the man who murdered her son, as his “prize”. Barker also examines the relationship between these royal women- not at all loving, particularly. This focuses on the story of the captured Trojan women takes inspiration from “The Women of Troy” as well as several other plays by Euripides.

I enjoyed how the author continued Briseis’ kinship with getting to know the Trojan slaves, not just the ones from the royal family, and how a sisterhood develops between all of the captives.

I also enjoyed the references/mirroring of Greek tragedy; one girls story mirrors that of “Antigone” by Sophocles as she tries to bury Priam, despite strict ruling forbidding this. Also the author alludes to the events mentioned in the Odyssey, where Helen wants some herbs to make Menelaus “forget”. As well as several inspirations from Euripides Greek tragedies.

The issue I had with this book is that it wasn’t captivating enough for me- I wasn’t drawn to this book/the events in this book as much as I was in Book 1. This is reflected in the rating- while not a bad book it isn’t memorable or had as much of an impact on me.

Thank you to NetGalley for this E-Arc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Amy | Prose Amongst Thorns.
90 reviews3 followers
August 3, 2021
This book felt so unnecessary. The Women of Troy isn’t really about the women of Troy, but about Briseis’ life now that she’s freed through marriage.

I said this in my review for the first one, but I do feel as if a book centred on ‘women’ should be voiced by them. Instead, it kicks off with a male narrator. And returns towel narrators throughout. If the novel didn’t claim to give voice to women, then I’d be able to rate it so much higher. But it certainly fails in that respect.

If you thought Briseis was dull in book one then prepare to find her even duller. In my opinion she just lacks character. She wants the captured women who are now enslaved to see her as one of them, but hates being a slave. She rejects her place of power through her husband but wants to have her position of power back. She loves other children but already feels no love for her own child. She achieves nothing.

And the plot? Well. It seemed to just rehash the end of Silence of the Girls; simply adding a little more detail and stretching it out. It lacked a key plot point to give the story momentum. It’s a slow, stagnant story about a group of people trapped after war.

What I wanted to see was Briseis attempting to stand up for and protect the other slaves, to attempt to make change. I wanted to see her as a mother. I wanted her to find her strength and use her husbands power to her advantage. Instead, like Hamlet, she spent the novel fretting and wishing people liked her.

Worst of all, was the way Briseis treated other women. A larger sized lady was locked repeatedly, called ‘lumpy’ and ‘ugly’. Briseis wondered why she’d even been chosen as a slave and when she was pregnant she commented how it’s hard to tell since she’s so fat. This disgusting treatment of someone who is not conventionally beautiful made me hate the book even more. Briseis is supposed to be different, she’s supposed to be the one giving women a voice and she uses it to shame others.

Once again Barker missed the mark here. Other books do this better and I’m not sure why people seem to think this is such an amazing representation. Fat shaming is never okay and it’s a repeated theme throughout. One that has no need to be included and had no bearing on the plot. For that reason alone, I would not recommend this book.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
365 reviews959 followers
Want to read
May 20, 2021
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


A SEQUEL TO The Silence of the Girls!?!?!?!?! ALL OF MY WISHES HAVE COME TRUE!!!

Briseis and Alcimus.
After the Trojan War.
Which books rarely cover because they stop after Achilles' death.
Written in Pat Barker's beautiful prose.
Already, I'm calling this as my most anticipated release of 2021!!! :DDD
Profile Image for Linda.
Author 2 books140 followers
November 22, 2021
The Women of Troy examines the grim realities of Bronze Age slavery wherein the victors kill their opponent's men and enslave their women and children. It is the second book in Booker winner Pat Barker's retelling of the Trojan War from a feminist perspective. The first novel, The Silence of the Girls, recounts Homer's Iliad from the point of view of Briseis, who Achilles selected to be his slave and concubine, his trophy prize for his achievements in battle. The second book draws from Euripede's play, Trojan Women.

Briseis's viewpoint remains dominant in The Women of Troy. She is no longer a slave because she was pregnant by Achilles and, to protect the child, was married to his chief lieutenant after his death. Consequently, she uses her "wife" status to roam the camps freely to help the other women adjust to their new roles as slaves and concubines to the men who had murdered their families. Throughout the novel, Barker's sparse tight prose causes the characters of Hecuba, Cassandra, Andromede, and Helen to come to life.

Barker also includes the voice of Pyrrhus, Achilles's 16-year-old son, to advance the narrative. Pyrrhus begins the tale from the belly of the Trojan horse. His father has died before his arrival, and he is desperate to prove himself worthy as a warrior. As a result, he actively participates in the brutal sacking of Troy, kills King Priam, and refuses to grant him a proper burial. These acts have angered to Gods who have stopped the winds so the Greeks could not return home.

Pyrrhus's hubris stands in stark contrast to the women's suffering. The novel revolves around daily life in the camps, the women's anguish, their attempts to maintain some sense of agency by thwarting Pyrrhus and gaining a proper burial for Priam.

The book had a sad, almost dystopian quality. The goal of Bronze age slavery is a kind of ethnocide, the physical destruction of the place and cultural destruction of the survivors. I kept wondering how women in this situation raise the children of their Greek masters. Do they secretly tell them the stories of Troy and their ancestors? And through them try to keep their cultures alive? How do they survive? It was a thought-provoking book. I recommend it, especially if you are interested in the ancient world.

Profile Image for Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer.
1,746 reviews1,194 followers
August 26, 2021
On the day Polxena died, I’d stood by Achilles’ burial mound and told myself that Achilles’ story had ended at the grace, and that my own story was about to begin. The truth? Achilles’ story never ends: whenever mean fight and die, you’ll find Achilles. And as for me – my story and his were inextricably linked.

This book is the sequel to Pat Barker’s (perhaps most famous for her Regeneration trilogy set in World War I) classical Greek/Trojan novel “Silence of the Girls”. That book was shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Novel Award, the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction, and the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award and was a book I read in 2018, 2019 (for a book group) and again in 2021.

And there are a couple of comments to draw from this:

Firstly I think there is every likelihood that this is less a sequel than the second book in a trilogy (or possibly even a longer series)

Secondly I think the book is best read immediately after “The Silence of the Girls”. On one level this can be read standalone – there is some temporal overlap with the previous book, some events re-recalled and others remembered in summary. And of course the characters of the first novel are, literally, legendary – and the plot drawn very heavily from classical sources, so that background reading can be done by Wiki/Google. However, the style of the book (particularly the very deliberate anachronistic elements – 21st Century dialogue and WWI style combat) is a complete continuation of the first, so that a reader of the first will immediately know what to expect. This novel also assumes that we know the characters – particularly the main first party point-of-view narrator of both books – Briseis, given as a bed-slave to Achilles. Most importantly the plot (the it has to be said rather limited plot) of this novel relies in a key point on an extended scene (and non-classical details in that scene) from the first novel.

Returning to the first novel, it ended in the period after the Sack of Troy (although with that sack somewhat overshadowed for Briseis – by the death of Achilles – the other occasional third party point of view character). Shortly before his death in battle, Achilles, who had always known his fate was to die in glory below the walls of Troy, marries the pregnant Briseis to his loyal friend Alcimus so as to ensure the safety of his unborn child.

One late arrival in that story is Achilles son Pyrrhus who arrives to late to see his father, but in time to join the sack of Troy and butcher Priam. About him Briseis observes after his arrival:

I watched him stagger across the floor, his fresh, young face slack with booze and shock, staring from one man to another, desperate for these men who’d known his father, who’d fought beside his father, to say how like Achilles he was …. But nobody did

She herself finishes the first novel saying:

Alcimus is here now, I have to go ….. I turn my back on the burial mound and let him lead me down to the ships …. Now, my own story can begin

And in this second novel, while Breisis remains the main narrator, the book actually opens (and continues at intervals) with the third party viewpoint of Pyrrhus in a scene which starts in the Trojan Horse and which, in line with the deliberate anachronistic approach, feels more like a scene from a D-Day or Commando movie, but which then quickly picks up on Briseis’s observation as Pyrrhus even at his greatest moment of military heroism is stunned by Priam’s casual dismissal of any resemblance between him and his heroic father.

The author’s decision to suddenly switch to Achilles a long way through the first novel caused some, I think partly deserved, criticism. Here, the decision to include male voices (a third being the Trojan Priest in Greek service – Calchas – a key component in the “bar-room brawl” between Achilles and Agamemnon over Breseis in the first novel) is more explicit and integral to the book.

I am still not convinced it is entirely the correct decision. It does mean we do see more of Pyrrhus’s insecurity, how he is convinced that people are laughing at him, and conspiring against him, behind his back – but to be honest I sometimes felt I gained greater insight into him with Briseis’s three line observation in “The Silence of the Girls” than I did in copious point of view sections here. And at times I felt that choosing the rather false-Priest Calchas, and emphasising his bonds with and similar upbringing to Cassandra, was an easier option than having to write the latter (with her unshakeable if belief both in her prophecies and in their destiny to never be believed).

Whereas the first book was about war as experienced by its female victims - this book is very much about its aftermath and effectively a period of stasis as the Greek fleet is prevented from sailing home by a supernatural wind (Barker has a little fun with Odysseus being the keenest to make the short journey home).

Much of the book has Breisis, largely constrained and silent in the first book, but much freer with movement and speech in this book as now the wife of a Greek (and with her links to Achilles) spending time with the Trojan women (of all classes) and helping them process the trauma of what they have been through – the loss of their husbands and children, the forced rapes and the loss of all status and freedom. Many, in a link to the first book, are too traumatised to speak. One, a servant, with Barker I think borrowing from the Antigone legend (although I was more closely reminded I have to say of Saul’s concubine – Rizpah) insists on trying to bury Priam’s body (which Pyrrhus has deliberately treated in the way his father intended to treat Hector’s).

Breisis increasingly realises that Achilles (via his unborn child, the whims of his son and the hold he still holds over her husband who sees his role as more of a Guardian) still dominates her life.

I have to say I was not fully convinced by her character in the novel in one aspect – I struggled really to remember that she was pregnant – it was as though she and the author only sometimes remembered themselves and she witnesses a harrowing birth scene with, as far as I can tell, any real sense of what it means for her imminent future.

The men, again in a link to the line Barker explicitly drew in her first book from Greek legend to WWI to modern day rugby misogyny – spend their time transferring their violent and competitive urges to organised games and races (debating for example the blindness of the referees), while also debating what they have done to incur the wrath of the Gods.

In a nice twist they conclude that, while the various rapes, violations and assaults they committed in Temple’s and Sanctuaries can probably be dealt with by a few good deeds – that (having already tried female sacrifice in the first book) the wind-producing gods must have been offended by a slight to a male guest, that the worst punishment to demand of a man is his animal-companion and that the greatest sacrifice a man can offer is his appearance. This part could I think have been taken straight from “Game of Thrones” (I was wondering at what point bread and salt would make an appearance). That is not meant to be derogatory: Barker I think is writing about exactly the kind of (my phrase) rape with honour war culture that Martin also draws on (with rather different motivations) and which has applied (and is even celebrated) through the ages in patriarchal societies.

The book ends cleverly at exactly the same place as the first book although a later time. Briseis realising her story has still not really started, takes a last look at Achilles burial mound and is lead to the ships by Alcimus.

Overall this is a much quieter book than its predecessor but still a worthy one with a lot on which to reflect.

My thanks to Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House for an ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,392 reviews2,382 followers
March 22, 2021
These were men who'd been living on their nerves for years and now, when things should have been easy, they were frustrated because the longed-for journey home was continually postponed. Every day began in hope, every day ended in disappointment. They'd just won a war. How could it be that victory, the greatest in the history of the world... had started to taste like defeat?

What I like about this is that Pat Barker keeps things quiet and resists the urge, so prevalent in classical retellings, of falling into melodrama. The whole book takes place in that liminal place and time when Troy has fallen but the winds prevent the Greek fleet from sailing home. The Trojan women are enslaved as concubines and are waiting to be shipped away from their homes, their fathers, husbands, brothers and male children all dead.

Briseis, now married, remains a first-person narrator, with continued PoVs from Calchas and now Pyrrhus, Achilles' son (also know as Neoptolemus in Athenian tragedy). The big stories are merely glanced at with foreshadowings from Cassandra's prophecies .

Instead we have another non-Trojan Greek myth woven into this story .

The big points being made here are the horribly timely and relevant axiom that men are afraid of women laughing at them; women are afraid of men killing them - dramatised via the boy-man Pyrrhus trying desperately to live up to the fierce warrior reputation of his father, Achilles. The fragility and vulnerability of masculinity is articulated; the recourse to violence to prop up ego is shown without need for additional comment from Barker.

Once again, there are moments when the Trojan War becomes a polychromatic kaleidoscope which highlights moments from other wars: the reaction of the men dropping out of the wooden horse, for example, feels like that scene from a million films when the commandos are inserted successfully behind enemy lines.

I had a few quibbles about the choices the book makes in dealing with the source material: But I love the irony of Odysseus being the most eager to set sail for home knowing, as we do, that it'll be ten years and many adventures before he gets back to Penelope.

Most of all, though, this is a book which is about female suffering and female endurance: raped and brutalised, with children and husbands killed sometimes before their eyes, enslaved and being sent away to Greece, these women are traumatised... but are also survivors.

Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.
Profile Image for Kalliope.
687 reviews22 followers
October 19, 2022

I liked Barker’s second volume on the Troy myth even more than the first one, contradicting the saying that second parts are never good.

Maybe I read The Silence of the Girls too soon after rereading the Iliad, but I think that a major factor is that in the second volume Barker has much more room to expand her version, a great deal more freedom. Silence is a parallel retelling of Homer’s epic in which the women of Troy are given a voice; they elaborate their own ‘Song’, but the novel remains too tied up to the main work. In this one, the reader is presented with the period just after the Greeks have completely vanquished Troy – the novel begins with the wooden horse, not included in The Iliad – but are stranded on their camp unable to go back home because the winds (the gods?) are not favourable. In this much more vague and malleable setting, Barker has succeeded in building up a plausible plot that will also allow her to elaborate what becomes the major appeal of this novel: the construction of the characters.

In Silence, Barker rested her narrative on Briseis, but she also had to tackle the intractable Achilles and the refractory Agamemnon. In The Women the characters are those who sit on the second row and offer therefore a greater promise in their development.

Barker’s Briseis continues to lead the narrative, but her versions of Hecuba, Cassandra, Andromaque etc, evolve fully through the pages and succeed in standing as complex figures. Together they present different angles of the Troy tragedy in very humane and harrowing tones.

Baker has also found a very effective pole around which to turn her story. Pyrrhus, the not-as-great-as-his-father character is a good anti-hero (he looked like a portrait of Achilles done in coarse read clay by a competent but mediocre sculptor) that offers the women who surround him more than a new voice, a new song. For as Briseis admits, I had thought ‘we need a new song’. And we did. We do. But a song isn’t new merely because a woman’s voice is singing it”.

This novel force lies in the literary acumen with which Barker has built this irrelevant episode in the Troy saga. In her version we can ponder a bit more about the various human values that Homer sang.
Profile Image for William Gwynne.
344 reviews1,321 followers
December 16, 2022
“Crows are ferociously intelligent birds. I used to watch them gather as the men set off for another day of war. Drums, pipes, trumpets, the rhythmical pounding of swords on shields—to the fighters, this music meant honour, glory, courage, comradeship…To the crows, it only ever meant food.”

The Silence of the Girls, book one of this series, was absolutely brilliant. One of the best books I read last year, and one that has stuck. It firmly cemented itself as one of my favourite ever reads with its incredible, subtle character exploration and fresh perspective on the Trojan War. Even though Pat Barker is certainly a brilliant author, I did double that this sequel would live up to the previous instalment, especially considering the fact that The Silence of the Girls wrapped itself up so well. But, The Women of Troy is also fantastic.

The Women of Troy continues immediately following the aftermath of The Silence of the Girls, and the fall of Troy. We see many of the same faces again, but also a cast of new characters taking a far more central role, such as Hecuba, Cassandra and Andromache. The title accurately portrays the story. It is about the women of Troy, and how they battle with the rapidly changing situations that they are thrust into, often having to face horrors on their own. This is a book focusing on much that is often overlooked in literature. This looks at the aftermath of war, and it does not shy away from the depravities of humanity.

“Achilles’ story never ends: wherever men fight and die, you’ll find Achilles.”

Pat Barker manages to achieve such a rich depth to this story once again, with so many themes being explored through the different characters, with Breseis acting as the driving force that pulls this story together. She is a brilliant central figure. One of the best in any book I have read. The way she suppresses her emotions and feelings to aid those around her, who she feels a duty for, as well as the pressures that you feel get heavier and heavier combine for a character you're rooting for, and an ever-growing tension.

Pat Barker is a brilliant writer, and whilst this is a retelling of Troy, she has created such a unique perspective with effortless flair. This focuses on the women are so often fade into the background as retellings focus on the satires of Achilles, Patroclus, Odysseus and the other major male players in the war. Pat Barker shows a fresh representation of these characters, but also allows the women to be the focus in an organic and natural way, sharing that happens to them whilst also showing their lack of agency.

A brilliant book, and a brilliant sequel to The Silence of the Girls. There are very difficult scenes, and this is a very powerful story, but one that I think is important to read. From the prose, to characters and plot and worldbuilding, Pat Barker shows a masterful grip on the elements of storytelling.

Profile Image for Paula.
637 reviews125 followers
January 21, 2023
A huge disappointment. I loved The Silence of the Girls so I had high expectations of this one.The writing´s still beautiful, although some anachronistic idioms jar, but beautiful writing isn´t enough to carry a book. No sense of direction-won´t speak of plot here-, repetitive.
A pity.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,010 reviews1,406 followers
August 30, 2021
Troy has fallen to the Greek invaders yet the heroes of war remain stuck upon their land. The weather fails them, day after day, and their ships remain bound to the shore and unable to carry them home. The initially joyous mood shifts to one of fear over the gods dissatisfaction and then discontent with each other. The men may brawl occasionally amongst themselves but it is the women in camp who bear the brunt of their overflowing emotion.

This is the second of Pat Barker's Greek mythological reimaginings, told from the perspective of the women slaved, raped, beaten, murdered, and mistreated during this time. I found this just as brutal and sorrowful a read as The Silence of the Girls and became just as invested in the story that unfolded.

This story gives voice to the silenced women and a new perspective on the renowned heroes whose names are immortalised from myth. It provides the reader with a human face of war and exposes all the bloody, fetid, brutal, and undignified parts of it that are often overlooked in favour of the battlefield heroics that are instead rejoiced.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Pat Barker, and the publisher, Hamish Hamilton, for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Marc.
3,040 reviews1,046 followers
February 21, 2023
As impressive as the first part of this Trojan cycle was, as flat this second part seemed to me. What a weird contrast. In The Silence of the Girls Barker delivered an imposing retelling of Homer's Iliad, especially from the perspective of the imprisoned Trojan princess Briseis. Shocking and captivating at the same time. 'Women of Troy' builds chronologically and thematically on that first part. We see Briseis – pregnant with Achilles who has in the meantime passed away – now wandering around in the Greek camp, after the fall of Troy. She systematically visits the other Trojan women and in this way Barker once again sketches their own, usually disconcerting story: it is an accumulation of humiliations, unfulfilled desires and expectations, but also of wounded pride and feelings of revenge. The Greek princess Helena, who was the cause of the Trojan War, shows her most narcissistic and manipulative side. Strikingly, more women take matters into their own hands, such as the imposing Cassandra (the Trojan princess with predictive powers that no one believes) or the slave girl Amina (an alternative Antigone). The male opponents fare even less well than in the first part. In particular the young Pyrrhus, the teenage son of Achilles, is portrayed as an overconfident adolescent who is tormented by his father's shadow.

This story takes place between the fall of Troy and the departure of the Greek warriors, a long period of time when gale-force winds (caused by the angry gods) delay departure. The lack of action weighs heavily in this novel, which keeps the reader rather unfulfilled all the time. Stylistically it is all a bit less, and story-wise Barker has left some striking gaps (for example, she does almost nothing with Briseis's pregnancy). Hopefully she can rectify that in the next part. Rating 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Paul.
1,160 reviews1,920 followers
July 31, 2022
This is a follow up to The Silence of The Girls and continues Barker’s retelling of the myths around the fall of Troy, Achilles, Odysseus, Helen, Paris etc. It is told form the point of view of the women involved and narrated, as before, by Briseis. This is now clearly going to be one of Barker’s trilogies (or possibly more) as there is another on the way. There are a few brief pieces of narration by Pyrrhus, the 16/17 year old so of Achilles. This jars a little with the female centred telling, but works on the whole because it gives the reader insight into his thinking which helps the telling: although entering the mind of a teenage boy is always messy!
The novel follows on from the sacking of Troy. The Greeks are unable to leave because of the prevailing winds and are getting restless in case the gods are punishing them. The women of Troy (that survive) have been distributed as slaves. Briseis is pregnant with Achilles’ child and married to his friend Alcimus as arranged by Achilles.

“So, what did I feel for this baby whose father had killed my husband and my brothers and burned my city down? I felt it wasn’t mine. At times, it seemed more like a parasitic infestation than a pregnancy, taking me over, using me for its own purposes — which were there purposes. Kill all the men and boys, impregnate the women — and the Trojans cease to exist. They weren’t intent on killing individual men; they meant to erase an entire people.”

And Briseis’s feelings for Achilles:

“Then – and now – people seem to take it for granted that I loved Achilles. Why wouldn’t I? I had the fastest, strongest, bravest, most beautiful man of his generation in my bed – how could I not love him?

He killed my brothers.

We women are peculiar creatures. We tend not to love those who murder our families.”

Priam’s body has been left out in the open and not given the proper funeral rites and a number of the plotlines revolve around this.
Barker has been examining war and all that surrounds it for many years and here there is no romance and no heroism. We look at slavery and the aftermath of war from the point of view of the women. The usual suspects are present, Helen, Hecuba, Cassandra, Andromache etc.
This is a well imagined novel and a good counterpoint to the usual tellings of the Greek myths and Barker gives voice to the voiceless. The voices are angry, tender, crude and grieving. There is an edge of humour as well, Barker translates the well known:

timeo Danaos et dona ferentes as ‘don’t trust the fucking Greeks’.

Barker, as she is dealing with myth, is able to adjust how the story progresses. Barker has also left much to be written about and I believe the next one is about Cassandra. This is a good retelling of the age old truths about war with a pointed feminist perspective.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,056 reviews352 followers
September 24, 2021
ARC received in exchange for an honest review 🌿

The Women of Troy is a direct continuation of Pat Barker's previous novel, The Silence of the Girls, where we follow Briseis and the other women of Troy after the city's destruction and the growing unrest amongst the Greeks.

Pat Barker does her best with very little plot here. The book is set during a rather sedate period in Greek history, a time when the winds prevent the Greeks from leaving the fallen city of Troy and everyone just starts bickering amongst themselves. Given that there are numerous factions of bored men stuck on a small plot of land, with no common enemy to fight against, it's no small wonder they start arguing with each other. Especially over the subject of burying Priam. Honestly, at times it felt like Priam was doing the hokey-cokey of burial - in, out, in, out, (don't) shake it all about. In the background, we have Briseis and the other women watching and chatting together, and there are a few nice intimate moments between the women who find themselves at the mercy of these men, but other than that there's not a whole lot going on. It's definitely more a character study, an examination on women from a very specific period of time, rather than a plot driven story.

Throughout the book, we mainly have Briseis' point of view, however it does occasionally give other perspectives. However, these chapters were often difficult to distinguish as the chapters are not titled, and the voices are not distinct enough to immediately tell that they are from another point of view. A few time I found myself confused by the sudden interruption of Briseis' story to hear from Pyrrhus - although he is a very interesting character, a boy frequently cast in the shadow of his father.

At times Briseis is a difficult character to warm too. She's often quite harsh in her opinions of the other women around her, dishing out mean or derogatory comments even though she has been in their position herself. She has learnt to adapt to her surroundings better than most, always listening and observing, sometimes able to manipulate what she knows to her advantage, and although is admire this resourcefulness in her, it also doesn't really endear to me either.

A decent 'filler' book that takes an odd moment in time and expands to include the women into the story. With such an abrupt ending, I'm hoping this means Pat Barker will continue to tell Briseis' story beyond the shores of Troy.
Profile Image for nastya .
409 reviews232 followers
August 29, 2021
First of all, this was my most anticipated new release of the year. I adored the first book.
This story was lacking for me for a few reasons:
1. I think it was a mistake to continue with Briseis pov. She was just very passive and considering the whole book is about greeks waiting for a wind to go home with their loot, I wished for a fish out of water perspective from Hecuba or Helen.
2. Amina felt a bit underdeveloped.
3. While I liked Pyrrhus' daddy issues in the beginning, they got old.

Idk this felt a bit uninspired and tired. The thing I loved was how different women deal with the same events and similar trauma differently. I know that some will hate Helen's characterization in this book, but I loved it. She is a woman trying to survive using what she has (beauty and sexuality) in the man's world when she can't turn to other women because they ostracized her and blame for all the horrors. Because when you feel helpless to resist your oppressor, you tend to find a weaker target for your hate, I noticed.
Profile Image for Lois.
314 reviews84 followers
October 28, 2021
2.5 stars

I loved 'The Silence of the Girls' when I read it last year, but this...this... Just so ehhh. First of all, Pat Barker, what planet are you on? As soon as you have the Greeks exclaiming "bloody hell", "he's a right (insert any word you like here), all the way to "fuck", "gobshite", "wank", "sucker", are we even in Ancient Greece anymore? I feel like I'm in a London pub. Even without the distracting language that is in no way reminiscent of the time or place, this book is just filler. Nothing really happens...if there is going to be a book after this, everything that happens in this one could have been condensed to fifty or so pages that could have featured in the next segment of the story. But I guess if it sells, it sells?
Profile Image for clara ✧・゚.
138 reviews276 followers
July 29, 2022
as a huge greek mythology enthusiast, i thoroughly enjoyed this retelling! i’ll admit that my preference goes to the first book—Achilles as a character is far more interesting than Pyrrhus—, however it was a pleasure to be reunited with my beloved Briseis <3

i was also pleasantly surprised to see that, while several chapters still offer us some of the men’s perspectives—namely Pyrrhus and Calchas—, The Women of Troy focuses a lot more on the actual women and their experiences on the camp. this isn’t to say that the first book didn’t, but the women as a community were predominant in the sequel, as opposed to Briseis being pretty much isolated amongst the men in The Silence of the Girls.

the third book will focus on Cassandra’s story, and it cannot come soon enough! i am so excited for it to be released!
Profile Image for Vanessa.
290 reviews725 followers
November 9, 2022
The Women of Troy is the follow up to The Silence of the Girls, a sort of retelling of the Iliad from Briseis' point of view. In this book, though, Troy has fallen and its women have been taken as prisoners and slaves. It is loosely based on the Greek tragedies Τρῳάδες (The Trojan Women) and Ἑκάβη (Hecuba), both written by Euripides.

Briseis has, then, to interact with Helen, Hecuba, Andromache and Cassandra, between other made up female characters. Particularly, I appreciated every scene with Cassandra present, which was magnificently brought to life. Since this is a retelling, I would have preferred to see Andromache, since her name means "she who fights men", stronger and less meek. I will talk about Hecuba later, because I was disappointed with the treatment of her character.

Pat Barker though, rather than following all the different myths and traditions, is more focused on telling what war does to women, how it destroys them and all the different reactions they can have in the aftermaths. This is one of the things I loved the most in this novel. This book is more of a "love letter" to Troy and you can sense each character's bond to the city that is now burning down. Here, both those Trojans who have survived and those who did not are the real moral winners.

If in The Silence of the Girls Achilles had chapters with his point of view, here both Pyrrhus and Calchas, men, have them. This will certainly attract criticisms and not without reason, since the focus should have been, almost exclusively, on women. I have to say that I liked Pyrrhus' chapters, because it always fascinated me how Achilles' son has always been presented to us as this weak, evil young man, not at all comparable to his father. In fact, this is also how he's presented here but there's an interesting psychological study on him that I appreciated reading about. Calchas' chapters are, though, completely useless: I liked him as a character but he definitely did not need personalised chapters.

My first criticism is followed soon by my thoughts on the way certain plot points have been played. Rather than focusing on Hecuba as I would have wanted and tell us about Polyxena (this story happens after her sacrifice and has been briefly touched in the previous novel), one of my favourite characters in "Hecuba", Polydorus and his killing which burns Hecuba up with rage and revenge, revenge taken on Polymestor and his children, we follow a reimagination of Antigone by Sophocles. Why am I saying this?

Because Pat Barker makes up this character called Amina (p.s. I don't know how accurate it is to give an Arab name to a Trojan citizen but I may be mistaken? Give me your opinions if you want) who wants to bury Priam who has not been given this honour (definitely something made up and not found in any tradition) and does so anyway because she believes the laws of the gods to be infinitely more important than those of men. But that is Antigone's plot! It has no reason to be in this book! One thing is to re-imagine myths, another is to create things from thin air! I deeply disliked these chapters because they were completely useless and did not serve this book at all. Rather, we are given less time with other characters so to follow this stuff for pages and pages.
This book also has no reason, with the way the plot has been structured, to be 300 pages long. It should have been 150 pages long so to avoid all the repetitions and the same things written over and over and over.

In conclusion, I would have handled some characters and stories in a different way but, in the end, The Women of Troy and its heart, meaning women's different reactions to catastrophic events such as war, something really timeless, and the power with which some characters have been written are better than the previous book, The Silence of The Girls.
Profile Image for Jessica.
599 reviews
September 16, 2021
As the saying goes, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Even with the evidence of The Silence of the Girls staring me in the face, I chose to believe that this book would be different. The title wouldn't be a lie. The story wouldn't have the jarring anachronistic dialogue and speech patterns that were so off-putting in Girls. Shame on me

The thing is, despite the minor annoyances I had with the narrative shared in Girls, I did manage to enjoy the story. But this? This, friends, was a slog, and I find myself annoyed by that.

The title: the WOMEN of TROY. But who does this book follow? The book opens with Pyrrhus - neither a woman nor a resident of Troy. The next chapter re-introduces Briseis, who is at least a woman, but again, not Trojan. And the final person you're forced to follow is Calchas, who is also male and not Trojan. The women of Troy - the actual women who lived their whole lives in the city before it fell - were relegated to side characters, who only showed up when it mattered to the storylines of Briseis, Pyrrhus and occasionally Calchas.

And the story! The majority of this book was uninteresting, to put it mildly. I initially found a bit of comfort in seeing the author reference some of the mythos she created in Girls, but that wore off right quick. The story itself was weak - everyone, from kings to warriors to slaves - moping about and constantly complaining of the weather, the Gods and their lot in life. For almost 400 pages.

I even found myself disliking Briseis, which is incredible and incredibly disturbing. I had nothing but love for her character, based on all the other books I've gobbled up over the last several months. But here, in these pages, she was vacant, needy and confusing (she even dropped a "that's not my problem" [a very modern phrase, wouldn't you agree?] on something that really should have been her problem). She didn't really seem to fit here, and I feel like she was chosen strictly because of her role in the first book.

Do not get me started on the incessant too-modern dialogue that was peppered throughout the book. While it was an issue in the first book, it was easily overlooked. Here, though, it's like the author forgot that she was trying to create a book set in a certain period.

Period I think that's where my mind tapped. According to my friend Google, though the word "period" is rooted in Greek, it wasn't introduced as a slang term for menses until the 1800's. These characters had no business referring to menstruation as their "period". Sprinkle in the incredible number of paragraphs starting with "Look" and the many "ah, come on!"s, and your recipe for an anachronistic disaster of a story is complete.

I've learned my lesson, thank you. And now I feel like I need a palate-cleanser to rid myself of the sour taste this one left in my mouth.
Profile Image for Emma.
971 reviews966 followers
July 22, 2021
Picking up right after The Silence of the Girls, The Women of Troy is a smaller, more tightly focused novel. It is intensely claustrophobic; a story of men trapped by circumstances of their own and of the gods' making; a story of women suffering the consequences, in their minds and on their bodies.

'They'd just won a war. How could it be that this victory, the greatest in the history of the world - and it was, there's no denying it - had started to taste like defeat?'

There are no heroes here. This is epitomised in the destruction wrought by the petty tantrums of Pyrrhus, who tormented by the knowledge that he could never live up to the heroic ideal of his father, serves to illustrate the ways in which men's personal demons can shatter women's lives. In this, the novel makes no attempt to hide the parallels it makes to today. Men fight and drink and obsess about their manliness, their reputation. Women watch and step carefully and fear for their lives. Briseis, now 'wife' rather than slave, has more room for commentary, her voice and presence much larger throughout the novel. Yet Barker's choice to, once again, incorporate the male voice through Pyrrhus is less convincing. It certainly emphasises his many failures, his causal violence and cruelty, but his actions seen through female eyes could have done the same, and with more immediacy. My main issue with The Silence of the Girls was their ongoing silencing in the portioning of the space of the novel. Here, it felt less problematic, but I still wonder at the necessity. That doesn't mean that Barker was unsuccessful in her attempt to showcase female experiences and their varied responses to war and enslavement. Each of the women in the novel use the little space they have for agency to feel and act as they choose, from wordless despair to deadly resistance. There is no one way to survive. For all that Briseis urges the women to do so, the novel shows that choosing not to survive can be a potent act in itself.

The Women of Troy succeeds in being a much more powerful novel thanks to its genuine focus on the female experience. Most of all, it poses questions that need modern answers as much as ancient ones.

ARC via Netgalley
Profile Image for Neil.
1,007 reviews625 followers
May 4, 2021
This is the sequel to Pat Barker’s “The Silence of the Girls” and it picks up where its predecessor finished. For those who love these books, the good news is that, given what happens here and what doesn’t happen here, there must be more to come.

We begin in the Trojan Horse with soldiers crammed in together worrying about whether they will be discovered and massacred or will remain hidden and successfully open the city gates to allow the army in. We know what will happen.

What follows is Pat Barker’s re-imagining of the story of the Greek army stranded on the beach unable to return home. As with the preceding novel, the main narrator is Briseis, but we also spend time with Pyrrhus (Achilles’ son) and Calchas, the priest. The whole novel, especially the first half, is filled with a sense of waiting - this is almost a dead time in the ancient story when nothing can happen: Troy has fallen but the army is stranded by a supernatural wind. What this means is that Barker can focus on the politics, the games that people in power play, the fight for survival for those less fortunate (especially the women). It’s a quieter book than its predecessor, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In The Silence of the Girls, I wasn’t sure about the occasional chapters that skipped away from Briseis as narrator and moved to one of the men. In reality, this was the only way Barker could tell the story because there are parts of it that Briseis simply could not have known about. Here, the mix of narrative viewpoints feels a lot more balanced. The focus is still Briseis and the story of the women, but the inclusion of Calchas and Pyrrhus feels more natural to me.

I am by no means an expert on these stories. In fact, I barely really know the basic details other than what I have pieced together from the many re-tellings that have been published over the last few years. However, even to me, it is clear that Barker is not opting for a simple re-telling. I’m pretty sure the story of Antigone gets re-told here, for example, with different characters. And a key plot point is taken from Priam’s visit to Achilles as related in some detail in The Silence of the Girls. Here, I did go back and re-read that section of the first book and Barker has clearly thought about these two books (and the one to follow) together and laid the foundations in the first.

In the first half of this book, I found myself struggling to get engaged properly. I wasn’t sure if it was due to my lack of knowledge of the original or just that the book takes a while to get going. But the second half of this book is, for me, a lot stronger. It’s not simply that there is more drama/action in the second half, but more that it felt to me as though the book found its purpose.

As the book draws to a close, it is clear that the story is not done. To me, it feels like there has to be a third book. And it also feels like the best approach would be to read all three together as one long book. This book could be read standalone, I think, especially if the reader had a working knowledge of the original story. But I think it works far better read in conjunction with its predecessor.

My thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Ophelia.
276 reviews8 followers
September 29, 2021
I officially dislike historical fiction. I must remember this and not keep trying. The End.
Profile Image for Rachel.
550 reviews863 followers
October 1, 2021
Set in the liminal days following the Trojan War, The Women of Troy follows Briseis, who the reader may have met in this novel’s precursor, The Silence of the Girls. Briseis begins that story as a free married woman in Troy and ends up a captive and slave of Achilles, the Greek fighter to whom she was given as a war prize when her city was sacked. Though Pat Barker begins The Women of Troy right where the last book left off, the sequel reads comfortably as a standalone. The two novels together, however, form a fuller picture of the life of Briseis.

You can read my full review HERE on BookBrowse and a piece I wrote about Cassandra of Troy HERE.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
416 reviews170 followers
December 11, 2021
This is a book about waiting: waiting for winds to change, waiting for babies to be born, waiting for fresh horrors to fade into the monotony of daily indignity. Achilles is dead, Troy is sacked, and the triumphant Greeks are stuck in their war camps with their loot and enslaved Trojan women because of the weather. Or the gods. Or both.

Loosely based on a play by Euripedes, The Women of Troy is even less of a hero story than its predecessor. It's a somber slice-of-life, female-oriented look at What Came After. Achilles's absence in this one makes it clear just how magnetic - and propulsive - he was in The Silence of the Girls. Without him, this is the story of a bunch of people trying to piece their broken lives back into something that they can endure. These are intimate, uniquely devastating portraits of the post-Troy lives of women: of Hecuba, Andromache, Cassandra, and yes, even Helen. Briseis, no longer a slave due to her marriage to Alcimus, narrates much of the book with her characteristic dry-eyed factualness.

I almost returned my copy unfinished, and only the fact that the library auto-renewed kept me reading to the end. The writing is beautiful, but the horrors (all kinds, none graphic, but none elided) compound on each other. They start to seem as claustrophobic as the war camp itself, and there is little sense of catharsis, even at the end.

My favorite passages take place outside, in Troy, even though the deserted city is now a place of many small tragedies:

Looking around, I realized that everything here - every herb, flower and vegetable - had been planted by men who expected to see the next season, the next spring. Everywhere, there were signs of a normal day disrupted. A spade, its blade crusted with dry soil, lay at the end of a freshly dug row. On the bench, there was a square of red-and-white cloth wrapped round somebody's half-eaten lunch: a hunk of bread and a slab of mouldy pale-yellow cheese with a bite taken out of it. Whoever it was, he must have been just starting his meal when the gates opened and the wooden horse was dragged inside - and he'd left, just like that, carelessly, without a second thought, expecting to return. He'd vanished into the shouting, celebrating crowds...

Somber stuff, but a bit rudderless overall.
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,378 reviews374 followers
August 30, 2021
3.5 stars

Intensely detailed retelling
The rise of women
Tragedy and heartbreak

The Women of Troy picked up the story immediately after the end of The Silence of the Girls. It amazed me that a successful outcome of the war didn’t really change dynamics in the camp. The men still treated the women terribly, used and abused them with zero respect. The men across the ranks were petty and egotistical, none more than those who were senior. Again, with this installment, I found there was hardly a man to cheer for. Expect to feel emotions of anger at the misogyny and abuse.

I enjoyed hearing the story from Briseis’ perspective; she really was a character to admire. She was all about survival but she maintained a degree of integrity and compassion for her female companions and occasionally for some men. When the story flipped on occasion to one of the male’s perspectives, I was less invested but Briseis carried the majority of the story.

The narration was superb and the emotional temperature of the camp was translated well.

This story definitely is on the heavier end of spectrum for Greek mythology/ancient history fiction. The detail was both welcome but also at times slow in pacing. I did prefer the first installment of this series but I’m also glad I saw this story through to it’s completion. It ends in a place of possiblity of more but I’m not sure if this is the plan.

I do want say there are bucket loads of triggers in this book and that there were two issues I struggled with: the use of the 'R' word twice (why?) and fat-shaming ancient greek-style. Both unneccessary, in my opinion.

Thank you to netgalley and Penguin Audio for the early review copy.

Find this review at A Take From Two Cities Blog.
Profile Image for Myc.
Author 4 books
April 24, 2021
These comments are for an advanced copy of The Women of Troy, which I was sent in exchange for a review.
The sequel to The Silence of the Girls, I went into this novel with incredibly high hopes expecting some of that same magic. But, unfortunately, this is markedly less interesting than the original. Lumbering and frequently boring, Barker manages to somehow write well below her abilities here, making most of the characters into condescending and unsympathetic stereotypes. Then there’s the issue of problematic portrayals. Barker has an entire section dedicated to Briseis mentally fat shaming a side character who is apparently so large that her pregnancy goes unnoticed until delivery (to say nothing of several characters being identified as “retarded”). So. There’s that.
Briseis still delivers a coarse presentation of women’s experiences in the aftermath of the Trojan War (gritty and horrifying, complete with the anachronistic language idioms readers of The Silence of the Girls would expect), but she now comes across as more of a shallow reflection of the world happening around her, never really offering the depth of characterization that was expected. Pyrrhus, the least likable character by far, somehow comes out of this as the most complicated and fully developed.
In the ever-growing pantheon of myth retellings (The Song of Achilles, Circe, The Children of Jocasta, A Thousand Ships, The Witch’s Heart, and on and on), this highly anticipated entry misses the mark and was, ultimately, pretty disappointing.
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