Cover Image: The Women of Troy

The Women of Troy

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Member Reviews

Pat Barker returns to the city of Troy and Greek myth in this sequel to the wonderful The Silence of the Girls to which I gave five stars back in December 2018 – and it was also interesting to see how the format of my blog and my reviews has changed since then!

Can Barker repeat her success with that previous novel? Can she recreate the brutality and shocking realism of hearing Briseis’ voice enslaved by Achilles? The delicate balance between mythology and history which was the hallmark of that novel?

In short, no… or perhaps, closer to the truth might be that she intended this novel to be something different to the first. The source material has changed from Homer to Euripides, from epic to tragic, from warfare to its aftermath and in particular that strange hiatus between the end of the Trojan War and the return home – and as almost every reader who picks this up, a return home which will be “difficult” to say the least for so many of these Greek heroes.

We continue with Briseis’ narration – albeit interspersed with the occasional third person point of view from some of the men in the camp – and her position has changed too: no longer a slave, she is married to Alcimus and pregnant with Achilles’ child whom everyone assumes to be his son, which affords her a position of (tenuous) security and even respect within the Myrmidon camp from which she tries to support, console and protect the Trojan women enslaved when Troy fell: characters we know from the myths like Hecuba, Cassandra, Andromache and of course Helen, but also lesser characters created by Barker (I think, correct me if I am wrong) like Maire and Amina. And it on these less mythic characters that Barker focuses.

The story does suffer a little from a lack of direction, as Briseis and the Trojan women and the Greek fighters languish in the war camp outside the devastated fallen city of Troy, waiting for the winds to change direction. This in itself did create a sinister atmosphere: the last time Agamemnon had been befouled by weather (or by Artemis) he had sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia in order to secure favourable winds for Troy! Within this wait, Priam’s corpse becomes the focus for tension: the Trojans who loved their King deeply want him buried; the Greek’s and in particular Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son and Priam’s killer / executioner / murderer depending on your point of view, refuses and his rotting corpse lies on the beach where Amina and Briseis are greeted by

“the buzzing of flies, thousands of them, covering the body like a fuzz of black bristles. As my shadow fell across them, they rose up”

Unlike his son, Hector, there is no miraculous preservation, no nightly reconstruction, just simple rot. And that contrast again shifts this narrative away from the epic and mythic to the human – and is that not what the stories of Troy did for the classical world?

Hands seem potent images in this novel at it is the image of Priam’s hand “with the gold thumb ring he always wore… lying dishonoured on the filthy ground” that affects Briseis – the same hand that she recalled playing magic tricks with a silver coin for her when she was in Troy and upset as a child. Hands that can hold and caress and protect but also harm and be brutal. Many of the women in this novel carry the marks, bruises and welts inflicted on them by the Greek warriors by whom they have been enslaved. Briseis escapes this, but Helen and Cassandra and others carry them. Troy itself – in a simile that is picked up by the image of it’s King’s body (well played, Ms Barker!) – is a victim of the war with “black and broken towers, like the fingers of a half-buried hand pointing accusingly at the sky.

Troy and the events of its fall haunt the narrative too. It opens with a wonderful depiction from Pyrrhus point of view of the Greek soldiers inside the horse. The waiting, the fear, the discomfort – the sudden urge Pyrrhus has to relieve himself (“Oh my god, he needs a shit”) and the soldiers determination not to be the first to use the latrine buckets in the rear (“arse end”) of the horse. And Pyrrhus’ pursuit of Priam inside Troy, the bungling of his death, the desperation to live up to the his father Achilles’ reputation and the inevitability of his failure to do so were extraordinary. And the atrocities inside Troy – the deaths of the Trojan men and boys, the horror of the fate of any pregnant Trojan woman, for fear that they may be carrying a son who might lead reprisals, the murder of infants and babies.

All of this came to be embodied by Hecuba, wife of a murdered king, mother and grandmother to two generations of murdered children. Defeated but unbowed, taken by Odysseus as a slave but still with the demeanour and perspicacity of a Queen.

So in conclusion, I loved this book but it is different to the first and – with unborn babies and hidden Trojan newborns – does feel a little like it is bridging the gap within a series. Bridging it well, but lacking some of the drive and pacing that it perhaps needs. It does make me wonder where the next novel – and I am sure there must be a next – will take us. A re-imagining of the Odyssey will be tricky as Odysseus has left for Ithaca and Briseis didn’t. But Briseis and Alcimus are not key players in the post-Troy myths and could end up anywhere… I wonder whether we will be heading back to Greece to witness the death of Agamemnon. That is a bloody and emotional story I’d like to see in Barker’s hands!

What I Liked

Hecuba who is lying “in her filthy rags on a slave’s bed, she’s still, in her own mind, a queen” – so much so that towards the end of the novel she summons Odysseus and he attends her!

Barker’s imagery – that subtlety of the broken hands of both Troy and its King is delightful.

The wonderful recreation of the world of Greece and Troy that is three thousand years old made as vivid and sharp as the world around us today.

The plight of the silent and invisible women: when mysterious hands try to bury Priam, the idea that it might have been a woman does not even enter the men’s heads. This is a novel that feels terribly pertinent in some ways in the light of Sarah Everard, the #metoo movement – and perhaps most currently the withdrawal from and Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Cassandra – her fevered visions of the future that could be true prophecy or just the antics of a child seeking attention. She has, however, predicted for Agamemnon the outcome of his marriage to her.

The knowingness of the author, shared with a reader familiar with the story of Troy. For example, there is the tiny comment about Odysseus when the wind finally changes and the storm ceases, that he was “the first to leave. He’d always been the one chafing at the bit; the one most desperate to get home”. We know how well that goes, Odysseus!

What Could Have Been Different

A tauter narrative structure and drive.

Slightly less of the deliberately crude and anachronistic language – soldiers talking to Odysseus, a King, about arses and shitting was a little jarring, and Pyrrhus’ recollection of the rape of Andromache as “like sticking your dick in a bag of greasy chicken bones”
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This book starts right where The Silence of the Girls finished off. Pat Barker has become one of my auto buy authors, and this book is proof of why. It’s fast paced, grips you from the first page and successfully tells this epic story of the relatively unknown women in mythology. Fans of this period will know of Briseis, Hecuba, Helen and Cassandra, but you need to read this to hear the stories of the everyday women that the poets forgot. I really enjoyed this book, and this series is one of my favourites! If you like historical fiction, especially based on Greek Mythology, you’ll need to read this when it’s out this week! I was so lucky to get an arc for The Women of Troy, so thank you to @netgalley and @penguinukbooks !!
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Women of Troy is the sequel to Silence of the Girls, Park Barker’s retelling of the siege of Troy, primarily from the point of view of less well known female characters.  I hadn’t read Silence of the Girls and, though Women of Troy works as a standalone novel, I think it would have been a more satisfying read if I had done.
The book continues the story of Briseis, once bed slave to the deceased hero Achilles, now carrying his unborn child.  The story is told in the weeks following the battle of Troy as the Greek army and  the women they have taken prisoner wait for the storm to break so they can sail back to Greece..  Briseis must navigate the different factions within the camp as the various Greek Kings and Achilles’ son Pyrrhus  jockey for position.  She makes allies with slave girls and fallen Trojan noble women alike and begins her fight for survival.  
I really loved this novel,.  It was wonderful to revisit these stories from a fresh perspective, I have already bought Silence of the Girls so I can delve into  Briseis’ earlier life.
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The Women of Troy picks up from where The Silence of the Girls left off. Achilles is no more, the Greeks have won the war but the lack of a fair weather wind is preventing them from setting sail and heading home to revel in their victory.  In this period of limbo, which is not quite war but not quite peace either, we continue to follow Briseis who we met in the earlier novel. 

She is now a wife, having been married off to the respectable Alcimus, and is carrying Achilles' child. No longer limited by slave status, she takes on the role of protector of the Trojan women whose lives have been so irrevocably changed by the war. It is through her eyes that we see the strength that can come from female friendship and how that strength can be underestimated by the men around them. 

What drew me to this book (and to The Silence of the Girls before it) was the idea of retelling the Greek myths through the eyes of the women who have traditionally been denied a voice. In The Women of Troy, I thought the character of Briseis was really well developed and there were glimpses of a sense of humour that came through every now and then which was good to see. 

We do also hear from the point of view of some of the men most notably Pyrrhus - son of Achilles - who now bears the weight of living up to his father's reputation as a great man of war. Pyrrhus, not much more than a child himself, struggles with this burden and often acts out as a result. Watching his descent into what I can only describe as a sort of narcissistic madness was troubling and even though he does some terrible things, I could see that it stemmed from a place of insecurity and fear. I thought Pat Barker did a great job of helping us to feel some empathy for what could otherwise have been a wholly unlikeable character. 

The plot of the novel is fairly thin. Trapped on an island that has been ravaged by war isn't exactly the setting for fun and adventure. Instead there are a rancid smells of death and decay. People are drinking and dancing to forget the horror of their situation and to simply survive is task enough for each day. While this is no doubt realistic for the time and setting, it does not make for a compelling read. At times even I, as someone who likes a slow read, struggled to understand the point of the book. The writing style was odd too, often feeling rudimentary and overly crude for a writer of such skill. 

I'm keen to read the Regeneration Trilogy from Pat Barker which I believe also deals with themes of war to see what she did with that.  She clearly has a talent for writing about how war can impact the individual as well the society they exist within but The Women of Troy fell a little flat for me. The writing style wasn't impressive enough to keep me reading purely for the magnificent prose and the plot wasn't compelling enough to keep me reading to find out what happens. The result was a perfectly fine reading experience but not one that will stay with me.
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This book is a continuation of The Silence of the Girls after the fall of Troy, particularly focusing on the treatment, just like its predecessor. I was excited to read it because I enjoyed the first book but unfortunately I didn’t like it much.

It’s not that I think a sequel discussing the consequences and aftermath of war can’t be interesting, it’s just that this book wasn’t interesting. It doesn’t overturn the ending of the first book but it certainly didn’t add much to the story, in my opinion.

Like I said before, the themes could have been executed well, but the book was dull. It lacked something that the first book had, which made it disappointing in comparison.
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I literally devoured this feminist retellings. The are some incredibly sad scenes and some very thought provoking lines had me spiralling for a few hours. I promise no other book will have you hooked over a retelling the way this does.
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Reasons to read The Women of Troy: 
- It’s the sequel to The Silence of The Girls but also works as a standalone novel; whilst it does concern all of the same characters and it picks up right where the first novel left off, it's not essential to read The Silence of the Girls first. 

- If you enjoy feminist retellings which lend previously marginalised female characters a strong and well-developed voice, this is the book for you. Briseis is pregnant with Achilles's baby after being his bed slave in the first book. Her dread of birthing a child she feels she can't love looms heavy throughout the book. We are also shown her views on the Greek soldiers, the tragic sense of loss she feels following the slaughter of her family and, more recently, the sacking of Troy. 

- If you enjoy character driven stories over plot driven stories you might appreciate that this is like a character study of Briseis and Pyrrhus (son of Achilles) who is the second point of view character.

The Women of Troy has some really sad moments, it really focuses on the unfairness of slavery, it explores grief and loss, and offers an interesting and varied portrayal of the way these characters might cope in such situations.  

When one book directly follows the other you can’t help but compare them and this fell slightly short for me. I enjoyed the first book more because I felt like it had more of a plot – not a lot happens in The Women of Troy. The characters are simply waiting around until the weather is fair enough to sail home from Troy. The point was obviously to give us a sense of how meandering and drawn out life was for the slaves who have no say in where / when / how they do anything.

I also found Pyrrhus's sections of the book far more interesting than those of Briseis. She is less likeable in this book - her observations about other characters were often irritating. Overall, I read the book to the end and enjoyed most of it.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***
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The long siege of Troy is finally over - the Trojan men are dead, the women have been captured and now the Greeks wait. They wait, and wait for the winds to change so they can finally sail home with their spoils of war. But they seem to be stuck, and no-one knows why - are the Gods angry at them? Briseis, former slave of Achilles, and now the mother to his unborn child, narrates the events as tensions grow in the Greek camp and she continues the story we were first introduced to in The Silence of the Girls.

I really enjoyed this as I did the first book, The Silence of the Girls - I think this moment in legend, the standstill between the end of the siege and the Greeks going home, is something people know about but I'm not sure there's as much actual stories about - and certainly not from the eyes of the slave women who were, as always, in a terrible space between leaving the camp but also leaving their home land for enemy territory.

Briseis is a fantastic protagonist, and I continued to love her voice and her narrative as we saw what was happening in the camp from the actions of Pyrrhus, the desecration of King Priam's body, and
the arrival of Cassandra to the camp and her prophecies. We also see a different version of Briseis as this time, she is respected and revered among the men for carrying the child of their hero, and she is now a wife and not a slave. She has a bit more power than we'd seen in the previous book, and she carried it well.

I do think this type of book is not for everyone - it's quiet, and slow - and it doesn't really follow the battles or the arguments within the leader's tent. Instead we see how the women entertain themselves in their own tent, how they protect a male baby lest he be killed for being a Trojan boy, how they care for an ailing queen even though she is now but a slave herself. But I love all of that. I'm just as happy following Briseis on her errands as I am following Pyrrhus on the battlefield.

I do think the ending was abrupt for me but that's also because I was really enjoying the flow of the story, and would have liked to have kept going. I really hope we eventually get a third part of Briseis's story, as I would love to know what happens next in her life.
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I first came across the idea that ′men are afraid that women will laugh at them, and women are afraid that men will kill them′ in The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, and this is touched upon throughout this book. Although it is more that men and particularly young men crave respect and are dangerous when they feel they do not receive it. 

The book starts with the viewpoint of Pyrrhus, the 16 year old son of Achilles, inside the Trojan Horse, frightened but desperate to do something to equal the fame of his father. The fear of death is intermingled with the fear of losing face, and leads to the butchery of an old man. Most of the book is narrated by Briseis who is pregnant with Achilles′ child, and so was given the protection of a husband, Alcimus. This gives her more status than the newly enslaved women of Troy but not enough to protect anyone, so she has to advise and scheme to try and keep them safe from harm. Some of the women are defiant, some despair and they are all grieving for lost family.  There is a moment when the Greeks say, ′there are only two Trojans in the camp′, but what that really means is there are only two male Trojans, so the women have also lost their identity. The book is a story of interwoven tragedies, and as in the earlier book, the author extends that to the men as well, but it is the women who have the strongest voices.

It′s perhaps not surprising that a book rooted in a story from thousands of years ago is still so relevant, I thought often of the Yazidi women and the girls stolen by Boko Haram, but there are also phrases that suggest scenarios closer to home. When Cassandra talks of her prophecies, she says, ″I′ve learnt not to be too attached to my own prophecies. They′ve only ever been believed when I could get a man to deliver them.″

This is a sequel that matches the power and insight of its predecessor The Silence of the Girls.

I had a copy of this book early through Netgalley
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Wow! I absolutely loved Barker's follow up to 'Silence of the Girls.' I don't think it is necessary to have read the first book to enjoy this as it works well as a standalone story, but I did find myself referring back to my copy to remind myself of events as it is some time since I read it and I couldn't recall the events being referred to. 

This book follows the 'fortunes' of Briseis who is pregnant with Achilles child and married to a man she does not love, and arguably would not have willingly chosen her as his wife, though Alcimus treats her with respect and solicitude in deference to his dead friend. The book contrasts to the violent battle action that takes place in 'Silence of the Women' where relatively little happens after the initial tense scenes as the horse is wheeled into Troy and the city falls to the might of the Greeks.

I thought the relationships between the women were well developed and skillfully drawn out. Barker shows the powerlessness of their situation but the steely determination within: from Amina's deep-set desire to see her king buried, regardless of the personal consequence to her own well-being; Cassandra's need for her prophecy to be fulfilled at any cost, the smuggled Maire, Hecuba, Helen.... the list goes on! It was interesting to read of the women's agency in an imbalanced world.

If you have enjoyed some of the recent myth retells (Circe, Song of Achilles, etc) you will enjoy this. I have just finished Stephen Fry's version 'Troy' and can honestly say that I prefer the Briseis that Barker describes - a strong, honourable female who remains unflinching despite all that the Greeks have subjected her to.

Warning: the book contains rape and violent scenes.
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I absolutely loved this book. It was such a quick read for me, and a brilliant way to get into Mythology more than I already am. This book was also a great way of bringing the women of Mythology into the limelight!
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Pat Barker publishes another success with Briseis's POV after the fall of Troy!

Following on from The Silence of the Girls, Barker does not fail to provide another compelling tale from the perspective of the Briseis, a former Queen turned slave of Achilles during the fall of Troy. In The Women of Troy, Troy has fallen and Achilles is dead, whilst Briseis carries Achilles's child. She struggles with the turmoil of carrying the child of her enemy - who imprisoned and raped her. (TW: rape and abuse and slavery.) T

This piece is more subdued than Barker's previous work, as without the glory and struggles of battle, we are left with the weary survivors. his brutally honest tale explores the effect on women, who are forced to suffer losses and pains, and yet are far too often left out of the narrative. 

This story has a focus not only on Briseis and women, but also on Pyrrhus (Achilles son). Like in The Silence of the Girls, where Part 2 focused on Achilles himself. Personally, I find it disconcerting to have a male voice be so prominent in a story about the forgotten women. I would prefer to hear more of the honest and raw stories from other women in the encampment. That being said, Barker manages to make his tale interesting, as he has his own struggles, living in the shadow of his father, whilst being a teenage warrior. 

(Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin General UK for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review)
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Content warnings for this novel:  violence including sexual violence, torture, murder
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for ARC. 

Troy has fallen.  The conquering soldiers are restless and ill at ease, without purpose and unable to return home as victors until the wind changes.  The camp women are at the mercy of the mens' moods as well as the weather.   
Briseis, formerly Achilles' and Agamemnon's prize, latterly married off to Alcimus, is once again the main narrative voice, in this follow up to The Silence of the Girls.  
You don't need to have read the first to understand The Women of Troy, nor do you need to know a lot about Greek mythology and history, although I expect it helps.  
The writing is beautiful, the atmosphere of dread and defiance building through the narrative, and the women of Troy are beginning to come into their own.  There is empathy here for some of the men, too, forced into impossible choices at very young ages.  
I found this much more readable than The Silence of the Girls - still grim, but with some respite, some focus on rest from battle.
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Troy is burning-All of the men have been slain, and the women have been kept as slaves or as prizes for the Greek men. The horse worked, but to get home they need to use their ships, but there is no wind....have the gods been offended? 

We follow Briseis Achille's wife before his death who is now married to Alcimus, she is trying to look after the women of Troy and ensure that everyone is safe, but the Women of Troy are not ones for lying down and will cause some issues along the way. 

I really enjoyed this read, it was more about the day to day life after a war has been won, and how the women were underestimated by some of the powerful men. It was written in a way that you felt their fear when they were scared, you felt their joy when they were happy. 

I would definitely recommend this for anyone that enjoys Greek history and wants to see more about the women.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and PenguinUK for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

First up, trigger warnings, because there's a few... There are a good few harrowing scenes mentioned and depicted throughout the book that involve sexual assault, rape, murder, suicide and torture. I would add that none of these are graphically described and are not used frivolously.

I went into The Women of Troy having not yet read Silence of The Girls, and I was a little worried I would need to. Luckily, I think having already been in to my Greek Myths helped a little and it wasn't necessary; there's enough backstory included to remind a reader of the events that occurred prior to this novel. That being said I will definitely be picking up SOTG to read after enjoying this. 

There's very little action and we are primarily driven by the first hand perspective of Briseis, first gifted to a Achilles as a slave and now married to Alcimus as she navigates her pregnancy whilst giving insight in to the plight of the women left behind after the sacking of Troy. Our secondary Protagonist is Pyrrhus, the adolescent son of Achilles who is desperately trying to make his own name whilst living up to the reputation of the father he never knew. If you're here for plot alone, I'm not sure this book is for you. This is very much a character driven novel that occurs in the limbo after war and before the Greeks are able to go home. If you enjoyed Madeline Miller's Circe, I think you'll be right at home here. 

This is a solid 4 out of 5 stars for me. 
Would I reread? Yes. After I finished Silence of The Girls I plan to reread to see if my opinions alter.
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Pat Barker's follow up to The Silence of the Girls is nothing short of remarkable. Once again she has written an incredible book that is extremely gripping and so well written you feel yourself being drawn in with every page. 

The retelling of the fall of Troy is nothing short of brutal, ruthless & heartbreaking, primarily told from the perspective of Briseis, once a slave, now carrying the late Achillies child & a wife to Alchimus. 
I loved Briseis in TSOTG & I loved her just as much in this. After being a slave herself, her need to care & look out for the other girls is just so heartwarming. 
Her constant conflict of carrying the child of a man who slaughtered her family plays a big role in her character growth in this book & was something I found really interesting. 

We also get to follow the stories of Pyrrhus & Calchus in more detail which admittedly, I feel would have been better spent with some of the different women in the encampment, but nevertheless added a different dynamic to the story & they were so well written you can let Barker off with it.

Pyrrhus, the son of Achillies I found more interesting out of the two. (No offence to Calchus but this is the son of Achillies after all).
After killing Piriam, the King of Troy, he's hailed a hero but feels he is forever living in his fathers shadow. I found the ongoing battles he had with himself around this really well written & it gave him a lot more character depth. It also made me feel sorry for him at points as well. Hard to remember he's only a teenager when he's off slaughtering people in battle...

I didn't find this book as action packed as the previous one, however it's primary focus was still on the women effected by the fall of Troy; their grief, loss, freedom & families & it was just as heartbreaking & soul crushing to read. Each one had such a wonderfully weaved back story/history that you felt like you knew them.

Overall I found this book incredibly captivating & the characters, even the side characters, extremely well written & with an incredible amount of depth. 
Anyone who enjoys historical retellings/historical fiction & books like The Song of Achillies or A Thousand ships should give both this & The Silence of the Girls a read. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you to the publishers & NetGalley for the digital ARC.
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Pat Barker’s sequel to The Silence of the Girls begins with Pyrrhus, the young son of Achilles, waiting nervously inside the wooden horse.  Inside Troy he races to the palace where he drags the frail and old King Priam to the altar and eventually after being taunted by Priam for losing his nerve slays him.  He faces the humiliation of knowing he can never measure up to his father which makes him dangerous and unpredictable. 
But this is the story of the women of Troy, narrated by Briseis pregnant by Achilles now married to Alcumus. This gives her status and protection, it also, due in part to Alcumus’s kindly neglect, gives her freedom to visit and give voice to the other women of Troy from Hecuba wife of King Priam, to the common women scrabbling round the camp fire for scraps to feed their children. 
Through Briseis we learn it was not just the menfolk and male children who had been slaughtered but pregnant women speared between their legs just in case the baby might be a boy.  A nation was being erased.
Noble women were treated as spoils of war and forced to sleep with or be brutally raped by their captors. The other woman were forced to live in compounds doing menial jobs and used for sex by the drunken Greeks. 
The resilience of these women in the most awful of circumstances comes across well. Briseis with her practical caring nature at the centre of events, sometimes at great risk to herself in her endeavours to protect the less fortunate.
Unable to return home the victors are forced to camp in the shadow of Troy
until the weather changes.  Alliances fracture and feuds resurface.
Someone, going against Pyrrhus’s orders, has buried Priam’s mutilated and stinking body. The only two Trojan men in the camp are suspects, it doesn’t occur to the Greeks that there are hundreds of other Trojans who might be responsible because they are enslaved and female.

Set over a timespan of just a few months, this stark and brutal novel ends as the weather changes and the Greeks prepare to set sail taking their captives with them.
I enjoyed the book very much though it felt like there was a lot more to tell,
I can’t wait for Pat Barker to continue their story.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC.
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The Women Of Troy is another beautifully written story told from the point of view of the silenced women, which continues the series with a focus on the aftermath of the Trojan war.

I read The Silence Of The Girls in anticipation of this second book last month, which I would definitely recommend reading before moving onto this book if you’re interested in getting a full picture of this story.

Yet again, I love the focus of the resilience of women and Barker’s detailed prose, as she retells a familiar story from a fresh point of view. But while I enjoyed this second instalment and wholly appreciate Barker’s meticulous research into it, I just didn’t feel the same emotions this time around.

It’s a difficult setting when our characters are all stuck in this limbo stage of war, as there’s not really any action to direct the female’s narrative around. Even more so, Briseis has now accepted her role amongst the Greeks and has been lucky in her marriage to Alcimus who is very respectful of her, so it’s difficult to see this story from her standpoint when she’s more acclimatised to the situation than the other women involved.

And although Briseis speaks to these other women to allow us to understand their circumstances, this outsider perspective doesn’t allow the reader to feel their pain in the same way that the first book does. The men are much more subdued after using all of their energies in the war, as well, as they seem more occupied with massaging their own ego than really making a point, so the impact of the story just isn’t quite the same.

This second book may not have had the heart or humour of the first book for me, but I did love getting to learn so much more about this fictional history, and I would definitely be interested in seeing Pat Barker continue the series.
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I am a big fan of Pat Barker’s “Regeneration” series and I had hoped to be a similar fan of this book. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet read “The Silence of the Girls” and I feel that this detracted from the experience of reading “The Women of Troy.” I suspect I would’ve enjoyed it more if I had read the first book.

As it is, it’s still an intriguing book and I’m so pleased that the stories of these women are being told. The book starts at the fall of Troy with the victorious Greeks waiting to leave and return to their homeland. However, the Gods have been offended and they prevent the Greeks from leaving with poor weather. Briseis is the main narrator, as I assume she would’ve been in the first book, and she speaks of the difficulties for the women there but also of the difficulties of peacetime and how the victors squabble amongst themselves.

I assume by the ending that there may be a third book in the works as it feels like the characters have more to say. I hope by then that I will have read the first book and I would advise that others do the same and read the books as they are intended to be read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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The Women of Troy examines what happened to the female inhabitants after the fall of Troy. Predominantly following the life of Briseis as the victorious Greek armies await fine weather to sail home., Barker examines the everyday struggle to survive physically whilst retaining a semblance of personal truth. Some women's lives are barely altered as they pass from Trojan slaves to Greek slaves, other high born women are subjected to ridicule and a miserable existence, all bear the scars of experience after watching the brutal sacking of their homeland and murder of their male kin. Barker, skilfully steers the narrative away from what otherwise could have been a desperately horrific read to celebrate the resilience of these women - mothers, wives, daughters, lovers, friends - who engineer small, and significant, victories to bring solace to their broken hearts. 
A must read for any fan of this period of history - immerse yourself!
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