Cover Image: The Women of Troy

The Women of Troy

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Member Reviews

While I must admit I preferred 'The Silence of the Girls', this book is still a fantastic, feminist subversion of Greek myth. It is powerful, engrossing, and a rich illustration of a lost world and eternal characters. Its encapsulation of the fragility of masculinity is scathing and word-perfect. And, in true Pat Barker style, this book's portrayal of the brutality, futility and devastation of war is searing.
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I loved this book. I felt so much for the women it who had struggled so hard, and lost so much through no fault of their own. I really liked the dynamic between the women, which was helped by the main character's kindness towards all, even Helen who was generally hated by men and women alike.  Would thoroughly recommend to anyone who loves historical fiction.
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This novel is a follow on from the epic Silence of the Girls. I however read The Women of Troy first and had no problem following Bresius’ story. Barker has continued to reclaim women’s perspectives of classical myths in this modern retelling of the aftermath of the fall of Troy. The detail and passion with which she writes has brought the genre of classical historical fiction to a new level. Move aside Miller, Barker is back and my goodness is this the powerful, affirming novel that I hoped for.
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This continuation of the Greek myths regarding the Trojan war - told primarily from the perspective of Briseis, and majoring in the story of the Trojan women and how their lives progress, mixed with a couple of other ‘outsider’ perspectives - is another marvellous book from Barker. For me, the events after the Fall of Troy were predominantly new, and Barker uses the same techniques as in the silence of the girls to tell these stories with an admirable freshness. The female perspective is increasingly used to retell the myths do this is perhaps not as unique as it felt a few years ago - but that doesn’t matter when it’s done this well.
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The follow up of the silence of the girls I enjoyed this and ran through it. I would have enjoyed an epilogue to finish breisis story.
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I was intrigued to read this book after having read the author’s previous book, The Silence of the Girls. I’d been really excited to read that one, but must admit, I found it a little bit of a slog - I’d hoped this new book would be a bit redemptive, but it was quite similar to its predecessor and I ended up not finishing it. 

It’s not that they aren’t well written, because they are: I like the characterisations of the women, and the author does well in depicting the men in the tale as brutes (which I imagine they would’ve been in those times!), with a few having a bit more depth and interest to them. However, it’s got quite a slow pace to it and just feels quite futile. It may be that it’s because of its time period, and that it’s just not for me, but having laboured through the first book, I couldn’t make myself continue with this one.

The Silence of the Girls felt like a love song to Achilles, rather than focusing on the actual girls (women) enough themselves. I liked that Breseis was a strong character and held her own, despite all that she goes through; there’s just too much focus on the men of the story and how they feel/what they do. I thought it needed to put much more emphasis on the other women of the story and what was happening to them. The Women of Troy does focus somewhat more on the women, but still not enough, in my opinion.

If you’re into historical fiction, I’d say give it a go - it’s not really my bag, in general, but the caption pulled me into the first one.

Disclaimer: I was provided an advanced copy of this book to read through NetGalley
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This sequel to The Silence of the Girls continues the story of the Trojan War ,told once again from the viewpoint of Briseis and additionally this time from that of Pyrrhus ,the son of Achilles.
The quality of the writing is superb; the opening chapter ,told as Pyrrhus waits inside the wooden horse ,is particularly memorable. For all that the story is set so long ago, it feels very modern and is still relevant to women who are victims of war in the present day.
It seems that there will be a third book to continue the story ,which I will look forward to reading.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest review which reflects my own opinion.
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A book about the women of Troy starts out with an amusing chapter about men... specifically soldiers stuffed uncomfortably inside the Trojan Horse and what it must have been like to stay in there, waiting for over a day with a lot of sweaty bodies, no toilet and the danger of getting burned alive.

It doesn't take too long to get to the pov of Briseis and her interactions with other women, like Helen, after Troy has fallen. Some have been placed in forced marriages, others sold as slaves. The women of Troy who survived the battle have no choice about their fates. Many committed suicide during the battle rather than being taken.

I found myself curious about historical accuracy on this one, but it is not a time and place I know well. Was Helen returned to her husband? Apparently historical accounts differ on this and other points so the author was free to choose which account to model her story against. It's certainly more accurate than the movie with Brad Pitt.

My one complaint is the changes of tense and perspective from one chapter to another. We see through the eyes of different characters, which is fine, but first person, third person, past tense, present tense, change constantly and many chapters took me a while to work out which character we were with at the time. At least there weren't any of the dreaded first person-present tense combination that I abhor.

I found the experiences of the various characters interesting, though I spent much of the book wondering if the story was going to go anywhere. It felt like a static moment in time with the female characters just adapting to life as captured property.

We don't see the actual battle of Troy, but begin at the aftermath. Achilles is dead. Briseis is pregnant with his child, whom all the soldiers assume is a son. She's been given in marriage to a high ranking officer. 

The ships cannot leave the shores of Troy for an extended time because of storm winds that would endanger them at sea. The soldiers get antsy and use the lesser ranking women badly, as they are common slaves. The better off women like Briseis have to be accompanied when they walk in some areas to avoid harassment or worse.

It's a powder keg of tempers and power shifts while those in charge try to work out what they've done to anger the gods and cause this weather. It will eventually become clear.

Despite the tense and pov changes, I found it an interesting read. It did take a little while for me to get into it, but the characters were very distinctive and I had sympathies for some of them and derision for others. I felt the ending wrapped it up well. I would certainly recommended it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
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Troy lies in ruins, but the Greeks remain stranded on the shore. The sought for wind to fill their sails homeward will not come. The gods have forsaken them.

Briseis, pregnant by the now-dead Achilles, has been given as wife to Alcimus. Through her eyes we feel all the fear and claustrophobia of being a woman in the Hellenic period. While wary of the male characters, her inner dialogue cuts these heroes down to size.

With no war to fight the Greeks' unity fractures. A sporting event organised by Alcimus papers over the cracks, but for how long can Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, keep control.

Barker's contemporary vocabulary and gorgeous imagery brings the women's story to the fore. The dual (Briseis-Pyrrhus) narrative is effective. On occasion, however, this leads to over-explaination. For instance, where Andromache has begged Pyrrhus to let her baby be buried in his father's (Hector) shield.

A worthy sequel to The Silence of the Girls.

My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for the ARC.
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This continues the story of Briseis, begun in The Silence of the Girls, and opens with the fall of Troy.  Briseis, originally captured and kept by Achilles who then fought over her with Agamemnon, is now pregnant with Achilles' child and married to a Greek lord.  After being one of only a few captive Trojan women in the Greek camp, the fall of Troy means that she is now one of many, and in a unique position, being accorded respect as the wife of a Greek and the future mother of Achilles' child which the recently captured women do not have.  

The action covers a relatively short period, when the Greeks are initially dizzy with the joy of having defeated their enemy and sacked Troy, but become increasingly angry and frustrated when adverse winds prevent them sailing home.  Once again Barker focuses on the lives of the captive women, some well-known, like Hecuba, Andromache and Cassandra, and others unknown but all in mourning and shock after the fall of their city and massacre of their men and children.  

These women, ignored by the men, nonetheless take part in what follows.  This mix of agency alongside complete powerlessness is well drawn by Barker.  They are clever enough to outwit the men, but their lives are closed and circumscribed.  Briseis uses her position to move more freely around the camp, helping the women out where she can and observing the power games of the men.

It's a gripping read and I finished it in one sitting of fabulous reading.  I hope there is another and many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy.
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Absolutely loved the silence of the girls and good no wait to finally get to read this! Pat Barker is amazing at modern storytelling of Ancient Greek and Roman history. It was a joy to devour more stories focused on women when you mainly hear about men ‘ Demi-god and heroes of this war and women are reduced to beauties or damsels or beasts. I loved reading this digitally but also cant wait to get my hands on a physically copy to read it all over again! I hope pat barker continues to write more like this as I love her style fo writing and I can’t wait for her next release already!
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The Women of Troy continues on from where 'Silence of the Girls' ended, but I think it could be read as a standalone book if you are familiar with the stories of the Trojan War. 
The story is told through the female lense by the narration of Briseis, a beautiful young woman once given as a prize to Achilles but now the wife of Alcimus. Once again her social standing has changed, she is now a wife, pregnant with Achilles child and offered a kind of respect by those around her but she is only too aware of how quickly that can change. Around her are the Queens and noble women of Troy reduced to that of slaves and concubines after the Greeks defeat Troy.
Now the battle has been won, all Trojan males including those in their mothers bellies have been murdered as well as King Priam. Pyrrhus refuses to allow King Priam a funeral leaving him for the birds to feed on outside their camp. Prepared to sail home to their families after their victory they are forced to remain in their camps as a storm rages day and night. The Gods are not happy and must be appeased before they can leave.
The book deals really well with the precarious position women hold in war, used as pawns, trophies and spoils of battle. Each woman deals with her situation differently, some would rather jump to their deaths than have to share a bed with their families murderers while others do whatever they have to in order to survive. All are left traumatised and their anxiety and fear is palpable throughout the novel, they are slaves to the moods and whims of the men around them. Briseis is a strong woman who tries to help the women around her and keep them safe often putting herself in great danger. 
With the war won and little to keep them occupied the men in the camp are dangerous and tightly wound, there is little respect for women who are often underestimated thought of no better than animals. Pyrrhus lives in the shadow of his father Achilles, who in his death has now earned a Godlike status among the men. He battles with his own demons trying to live up to a reputation of a man he has never actually met and carve his own path in life.
I really hope that there will be another book continuing Briseis tale.
Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this novel in return for a fair review.
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Troy is defeated but the winning armies cannot return home as strong w8nds will not allow the ships to sail. What do warriors do when waiting to escape and what do the women do?
This novel reveals all from the viewpoint of Briseis who is carrying Achilles’ child. Excellent read and great to see Greek history from a woman’s point of view. Enjoy.
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Pat Barker’s new book ‘The Women of Troy’ is a retelling of the aftermath of the fall of Troy. The Greeks successfully defeated the Trojans; they have looted all of the treasures of the city and have divided the women amongst them as their prizes and slaves. But their actions have deeply offended the gods and no wind blows to allow them passage back home. The Greek camp is fraught with tension, fighting and danger and the Trojan women live in constant fear.

This book predominantly follows the story of Briseis, the pregnant former slave of Achilles and Achilles’ son Pyrrhus who was instrumental in the fall of Troy and constantly wants to prove his worth as the son of the greatest Greek warrior. The story is told from Briseis and Pyrrhus’ perspectives and provides an interesting insight into the claustrophobic and terrifying life within the camp. All of the key characters in this myth are present in this book and Barker skillfully brings them to life. The dramatic fast-paced opening to the book moves on to a much slower-paced narrative which mirrors the stagnant atmosphere within the camp itself. Barker expertly weaves the stories of the characters into a tapestry, and if you liked her previous novel ‘The Silence of the Girls’, many of the key themes that are found in that book are also present in ‘The Women of Troy’ including female subjugation, slavery, women as mothers and their lack of a voice in a male-dominated world. The style of the narrative reflects the mood of frustration, anger and tension amongst the soldiers on the camp. The brutality of the world of this Greek myth is beautifully captured by Barker and her ability to give voices to the women of these stories is engaging, emotive and powerful.

If you loved ‘Song of Achilles’, ‘The Women of Troy’ is the perfect read for you. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for my honest review.
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“If you loved Song of Achilles... A skilful and engaging story of the aftermath of the Trojan War”
Hardback edition
by Tracey McHardy
Following on from the great Silence of the Girls, this book continues the story of Briseis a woman of Troy. There may be some spoilers in the following review.

It starts very dramatically with the men inside the Trojan Horse seen through the eyes of Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son. He feels like he has much to prove. In Barker’s more realistic “earthy” way, the physical details of this incident are described. Pyrrhus then slays Priam the Trojan leader in a brutal and savage way.
Does this incident displease the gods wonders the priest Calchas as the Trojan party is then stranded by an unrelenting wind and unable to return home.
The style here reflects the mood of frustration and tension in the camp as it becomes inert. During this time Briseis is adjusting to being the woman “given” to Alcimus, one of dead Achilles’ loyal commanders. She still visits the tents of the women but her role is more ambiguous even with her beloved friend the healer Ritsa Here she also encounters Amina who has a role to play in what unfolds, as does Priam’s widow, Hecuba, who was definitely an intriguing character.

Barker continues to explore the roles of women and the “silence of the girls” who are invisible because of their gender. Reflections on women’s roles as mothers are apparent in the grief of Andromache, a hidden pregnancy and Briseis herself must contemplate the possibility of motherhood.

The brutal world of the Trojan War and its aftermath is well portrayed and I am keen to read a possible concluding book. Many more people have read The Song of Achilles and Barker’s books cover some of the same themes and events albeit through a different lens, but one that has equal skill and power

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Women of Troy is the sequel to the bestselling, much appreciated Silence of the Girls. Once again we are introduced to Briseus, now married to Alcimus, pregnant with Achilles' child. 
The sack of Troy is over; fathers, sons, entire families decimated by the victorious Greeks. The remaining women, those who weren't killed or threw themselves to their deaths from the walls of Troy, are taken as slaves. The Greek warriors are unable to return home due to unrelenting winds, and they are restless. They entertain themselves with drink and games, whilst in the midst of this the women are dealing with the trauma of  what has happened to them.

Briseus does her best to look after the women and we are introduced to some interesting characters as a result - Amina, who is determined to bury the desecrated Priam, as well as Cassandra and Hecuba. They are all interesting , strong women despite their grief and circumstances. I was intrigued by the character of Hecuba - she stayed with me more so than Briseus, and I wish more had been written about her. 

Pyrrhus, Achilles' son, is a pale shadow of his glorious warrior father, and even his killing of Priam fails to impress. It is interesting that Barker  chooses him to question masculinity, as the other prominent male character is the priest Calchas, who is portrayed  as someone who is not all that he appears to be. 

There is much to say about this novel. The characterisation is excellent. The multi faceted personalities draw one in, as well as the tense situation that abides as the frustrated Greeks are unable to return home.  It would seem that a third novel will follow, as the ending leads one to believe that Briseus' story is just beginning. I look forward to reading that too.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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I love Pat Barker's work and had read The Silence of the Girls which is the first book in this series. I loved that book and loved this one also. It continues the story of Briseis,  widowed slave wife to Achilles, pregnant with his child, married to Achilles' fellow soldier Alcimus and freed from slavery. The long Trojan War is over and the Greeks are ready to leave but the winds are not favourable and the camps must wait to set sail. The story is about this time of waiting - everything is in limbo, and bored minds turn to why the gods are displeased and sending winds to keep them on shore. Is it because King Priam lies dead and unburied? Briseis moves around the camp helping her friends and other slave women. 

The story is so powerful in its quiet description of the horrendous conditions that the women lived. The characters were finely written and the ending left me in tears. It's an amazing book, a must read.
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As with all of Pat Barker's books, this is well written, engaging and accessible.  It continues the story begun in The Silence of the Girls and gives an insight into the minds of the conquered women from the fall of Troy, the often forgotten 'colateral damage' of war.  Its parallels with contemporary use of exploitation and violence against women as a weapon of war are chilling.  However I did feel this was not a stand-alone novel, and required the backround of Barker's previous book in order to give enough context.  This was fine for me, as I enjoyed the first enormously, but it did not move the story or characters on as much as I would have hoped.  Its narrative was very similar to the first with the expectation of a third title (if not more?) in the series to complete it.  I'll still watch out for the next instalment, as this was - as ever - an excellent read by an excellent author.
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I loved The Silence of the Girls and couldn’t wait to read this. I love myth retellings, especially Greek ones so this book was guaranteed to be a treat. I’ve read other books that focus on the Trojan war and the aftermath but none quite like this which is told from the viewpoint of women when most I’ve read have been about the men. I also haven’t read a book which imagines what happened after the Trojan War so I enjoyed this aspect. I loved the way the author explores the complex relationships between men, women, Greeks and the people of Troy. This is a corker.
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As a direct sequel to The Silence of the Girls, I do feel like you would gain more from having read the first book, but if you have a knowledge of the story of Troy and the Greek Myths in general, you will be fine, I snatched at the chance to read this one when I saw it, and I’m glad I did. Finding out more of what happened to Briseis after the first book and learning more of her story is exactly what I wanted, and it was interesting to get more from the women you might not have heard about before as opposed to Helen, etc. 

It was such a good read, and I’d be even more ecstatic to hear if there was going to be another book following Briseis after the end of this one - come on, make it a trilogy!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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