Shorlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Costa Novel Award and the Gordon Burn Prize
Booker-winning novelist Pat Barker imagines the untold story of the women at the heart of history’s greatest epic
‘Magnificent… You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers’ Evening Standard
‘Chilling, powerful, audacious… A searing twist on The Iliad. Amid the recent slew of rewritings of the great Greek myths and classics, Barker’s stands out for its forcefulness of purpose and earthy compassion’ The Times
‘A stunning return to form’ Observer
When the Greek Queen Helen is kidnapped by Trojans, the Greeks sail in pursuit, besieging the city of Troy. Trapped in the Greek soldiers’ camp is another captured queen, Briseis. Condemned to be bed-slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her family, she becomes a pawn in a menacing game between bored and frustrated warriors. In the centuries after this most famous war, history will write her off, a footnote in a bloody story scripted by vengeful men – but Briseis has a very different tale to tell . . .