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The Women of Troy

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Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors - all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo - camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it. The women of Troy. Helen - poor Helen. All Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors - all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo - camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it. The women of Troy. Helen - poor Helen. All that beauty, all that grace - and she was just a mouldy old bone for feral dogs to fight over. Cassandra, who has learned not to be too attached to her own prophecies. They have only ever been believed when she can get a man to deliver them. Stubborn Amina, with her gaze still fixed on the ruined towers of Troy, determined to avenge the slaughter of her king. Hecuba, howling and clawing her cheeks on the silent shore, as if she could make her cries heard in the gloomy halls of Hades. As if she could wake the dead. And Briseis, carrying her future in her womb: the unborn child of the dead hero Achilles. Once again caught up in the disputes of violent men. Once again faced with the chance to shape history. Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker's extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.


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Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors - all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo - camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it. The women of Troy. Helen - poor Helen. All Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors - all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo - camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it. The women of Troy. Helen - poor Helen. All that beauty, all that grace - and she was just a mouldy old bone for feral dogs to fight over. Cassandra, who has learned not to be too attached to her own prophecies. They have only ever been believed when she can get a man to deliver them. Stubborn Amina, with her gaze still fixed on the ruined towers of Troy, determined to avenge the slaughter of her king. Hecuba, howling and clawing her cheeks on the silent shore, as if she could make her cries heard in the gloomy halls of Hades. As if she could wake the dead. And Briseis, carrying her future in her womb: the unborn child of the dead hero Achilles. Once again caught up in the disputes of violent men. Once again faced with the chance to shape history. Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker's extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.

30 review for The Women of Troy

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    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, 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

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    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 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Spencer

    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 comm 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Helena Paris

    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 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

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    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 shortli 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

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    3*** 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 b 3*** 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    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 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 (view spoiler)[the sacrifice of Polyxena, Hecuba's revenge (hide spoiler)] with foreshadowings from Cassandra's prophecies (view spoiler)[such as the death of Agamemnon, murdered by Clytemnestra, on his arrival home (hide spoiler)] . Instead we have another non-Trojan Greek myth woven into this story (view spoiler)[Antigone's defiance in burying her brother, Polyneices, is adopted in as Amina insists on burying Priam (hide spoiler)] . 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: (view spoiler)[Homer and Euripides are far more sympathetic to Helen than this book is where she is a hated figure, and the Menelaus becomes a stock-figure monstrous husband, quite unlike the Menelaus from the The Odyssey when we visit their Sparta home. (hide spoiler)] 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    3.5*** 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. 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). I’m Briseis POV we get to see h 3.5*** 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. 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). I’m 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, soecifically 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. I enjoyed how the author continued Briseis’ kinship with getting to know the Trojan slaves, not just the ones from the royal family, 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. Also the author alludes to the events mentioned in the Odyssey, where Helen wants some herbs to make Menelaus “forget”. 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    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 rei 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    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. Thi 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

  11. 5 out of 5

    nastya

    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 fe 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    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 Bark 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    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 bickerin 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bookphenomena (Micky)

    3.5 stars Headlines: 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 3.5 stars Headlines: 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Pat Barkers’ remarkable followup to her bestselling ‘The Silence of The Girls’ is truly a masterfully written and powerfully poignant look at the aftermath of war from the POV of the unrecognised,historically silenced (and primarily female) victims. Troy has fallen, the Greeks have won their decades long war. Finally being able to return home with their spoils (in gold and in women), wind in their sails—except the wind doesn’t arrive, for the Gods are offended. The former King Priam’s remains sti Pat Barkers’ remarkable followup to her bestselling ‘The Silence of The Girls’ is truly a masterfully written and powerfully poignant look at the aftermath of war from the POV of the unrecognised,historically silenced (and primarily female) victims. Troy has fallen, the Greeks have won their decades long war. Finally being able to return home with their spoils (in gold and in women), wind in their sails—except the wind doesn’t arrive, for the Gods are offended. The former King Priam’s remains still lies unburied, desecrated. Restlessness starts take hold, as the victors—unable to return home, are trapped in the haunting ruins of city they destroyed. Hierarchies and alliances start to unravel and old feuds (and new) begin to fester. Briseis, left (rather unnoticed )in the Greek Camp, has begun to make alliances of her own, with naive Amina, defiant Trojan Queen Hecuba and disgraced Priest Calchus in the hopes to secure vengeance on their captors. But safety isn’t guaranteed just yet, for peacetime can be just as dangerous as War. An exceptionally riveting sequel, I really enjoyed it and dare I say more than it’s predecessor, it’s told in first person by Briseis as was the case in The Silence of The Girls, but we also get a (third person) glimpse into the lives of the men, through Calchus and Pyrrhus (son of Achilles) I did feel there was less action here than in Barkers’ previous book, though the narrative is still firmly focused on the women and the grief of their loss (not just their freedom but also the lives of their families). I was absolutely captivated by the heart-breaking, humanness of it all. Briseis was an incredibly well written character and her strength was particularly empowering,seeing her try to comfort these women in the face of their grief was incredibly moving. But I’d say the echoes of war and the ghosts of the dead play a huge role in the narrative, especially for Pyrrhus living in the shadows of his dead father and Agamemnon, whose fear of Achilles still haunts him. I’d also thought I’d say though there is violence in this,there’s not nearly as much violence as In The Silence of the Girls and I enjoyed this one more for it. I’d definitely Recommend to fans of Madeline Miller and Jennifer Saint, Greek mythology or historical retellings. Also a huge thank you to Penguin/Hamish Hamilton and NetGalley for the digital ARC.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    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 anacronistic 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. 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 anacronistic 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Going into this review, I *just now* realized this is a sequel to a novel I haven't read yet. My disappointment is my own fault, since the siege of Troy took place in the first novel! Oh well. Now I'm even more motivated to read The Silence of the Girls. I enjoyed this book, but the plot was kinda boring. After the sacking of Troy, the victors have divided up the surviving women as slaves for themselves. Many were formerly nobles, and even Queen Hecuba does not escape this fate. Her husband, Kin Going into this review, I *just now* realized this is a sequel to a novel I haven't read yet. My disappointment is my own fault, since the siege of Troy took place in the first novel! Oh well. Now I'm even more motivated to read The Silence of the Girls. I enjoyed this book, but the plot was kinda boring. After the sacking of Troy, the victors have divided up the surviving women as slaves for themselves. Many were formerly nobles, and even Queen Hecuba does not escape this fate. Her husband, King Priam, was savagely murdered during the war and Priam's daughter seeks to bury him according to the old gods in defiance of the Greeks. These slave women, a group without any sort of ownership of their own lives, show great honor, loyalty and courage in their efforts for their deceased king and each other. This was a very quiet, introspective novel told from the POV of Briseis, the woman who became Achilles' concubine as a spoil of war. Pat Barker has woven a story with such clarity and detail that every scene comes to life in your mind's eye. The slow pace and meandering story kept me from being excited to continue, but every time I picked it back up I was immediately swept away - a book I enjoyed more in the moment than in retrospect.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    I loved The Silence of the Girls so was really excited to read this sequel. It is the perfect continuation of the story of Briseis, introducing new characters and picking up the stories of some from the first book too. The story starts not long after where we left Briseis at the end of The Silence of the Girls as she settles into her new position and place in the hierarchy as a prisoner in the Greek camp after the death of Achilles, whose child she is now pregnant with. With the war over, the Gre I loved The Silence of the Girls so was really excited to read this sequel. It is the perfect continuation of the story of Briseis, introducing new characters and picking up the stories of some from the first book too. The story starts not long after where we left Briseis at the end of The Silence of the Girls as she settles into her new position and place in the hierarchy as a prisoner in the Greek camp after the death of Achilles, whose child she is now pregnant with. With the war over, the Greeks are waiting to begin their journey home and many of the women live in uncertainty about what this means for them. Told from the alternating perspectives of Briseis and Pyrrhus (Achille's son), who now rules over the camp, the story explores the impact of this limbo state through the eyes of two characters with vastly different experiences and positions in the camp. The story is not overly plot driven because of the situation the characters are in but there is plenty of tension, drama and complex relationship dynamics which kept me hooked and wanting to read on. I love Pat Barker's writing, particularly how she digs deep into her characters so we understand their motivations and what drives them. This was much needed for the women who are the heart of this story who have experienced horrific things yet still embody a sense of hope. I would suggest reading The Silence of the Girls before this one but would highly recommend both of them. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin UK for the ARC.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sid Nuncius

    I thought The Women Of Troy was very good. It’s perhaps not quite as brilliant as its predecessor, The Silence Of The Girls, but Pat Barker has produced another superbly told, humane and completely real story here as she continues her retelling of the fall of Troy and its aftermath through the eyes of Briseis, once Achilles’ Prize Of Honour, now married to Achilles friend. The events here are, of course, very well documented in the Iliad, the Aeneid and in countless retellings since. What makes t I thought The Women Of Troy was very good. It’s perhaps not quite as brilliant as its predecessor, The Silence Of The Girls, but Pat Barker has produced another superbly told, humane and completely real story here as she continues her retelling of the fall of Troy and its aftermath through the eyes of Briseis, once Achilles’ Prize Of Honour, now married to Achilles friend. The events here are, of course, very well documented in the Iliad, the Aeneid and in countless retellings since. What makes this special for me is Barker’s remarkable ability to convey the human experience of her characters, most notably the Trojan women who are now enslaved by the Greeks. The Greeks themselves are stranded on the plain of Troy by a persistent hostile wind and the growing atmosphere of discontent, lawlessness and violence is beautifully evoked – partly in the behaviour of the men, but most powerfully in its effect on the women, who are never safe from male whim and violence. It’s a timely portrayal which has strong echoes today, but one which is never heavy-handed which makes its impact all the greater for me. All of this is done in lovely, unflashy prose. It is writing which is extremely evocative without ever drawing attention to itself, so the real, day-to-day experience of these characters from a heroic tale is quite remarkably vivid. Briseis’s voice is especially good, with her intelligent observation of the monstrous inhumanity with which the women are treated, coupled with her fatalistic acceptance that she cannot resist it and her quiet, determined resilience. Once or twice there is a flash of genuine anger, for example when the Greek men are concerned because many women, including priestesses, were raped in temples and that the desecration of the temples has angered the gods. “B- that, I thought, what about the women?” is Briseis’s response and it hits you in the face. Her characters are excellently portrayed – especially the adolescent Pyrrhus, for me. There are also some genuinely moving moments, like the birth of a child to a slave and a long-delayed hero’s funeral. Perhaps because the idea is now more familiar, this didn’t have quite the impact of The Silence Of The Girls for me, but it’s still an excellent, engrossing read with some very important content, expertly developed. Warmly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett

    Pat Barker is amazing! I loved her style in The Silence of the Girls and this felt so magnificently familiar and equally stunning. My love for all ancient history plays a part in why I enjoyed this book so much, but there's no denying how effortlessly the story flows. I always talk about writers who can create an atmosphere that draws you in and you feel like you are RIGHT THERE! It's extremely difficult to do that, so I only have a short list of those who managed to do it. Pat Barker is one Pat Barker is amazing! I loved her style in The Silence of the Girls and this felt so magnificently familiar and equally stunning. My love for all ancient history plays a part in why I enjoyed this book so much, but there's no denying how effortlessly the story flows. I always talk about writers who can create an atmosphere that draws you in and you feel like you are RIGHT THERE! It's extremely difficult to do that, so I only have a short list of those who managed to do it. Pat Barker is one of them. Major part of both of these books is the silence of women and by the end of The Women of Troy I wanted to yell just so that I could feel heard. That emotion was with me throughout the book - I felt grateful that my voice can be heard today, but I also could understand the sheer powerlessness of being a woman in what was, truly, a men's world. It translates so easily to what all of us felt at some point of our lives. In this book, we follow Briseis, pregnant with Achilles's child, but we also get to see that aftermath of the Troyan war. Greeks have won (sorry if this is a spoiler), but they can't leave the shore due to bad sea traveling conditions. They all feel stuck, frustrated, angry and Greeks and Troyans live together in a strange limbo. There are Andromache, Hecuba, Cassandra, and many other women who lost so much during the war and now we see how this affected them. Hellen of Troy is also a brief sight in the book, but easily my favorite character. We are following their daily routines, but it is absolutely never boring. The range of personalities is so entertaining! The one thing I didn't particularly enjoyed are several chapters from male POV. There's Achilles's first son, Pyrrhus and the priest, Calchas. Not sure how this contributed to the story, they were not very likeable or entertaining. Okay, I may be biased because Pyrrhus was a complete jerk, but I couldn't see how this enriched the story at all. Overall, great book! I got my e-readers copy through Edelweiss.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aoife

    I received this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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 I received this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I NEED THIS BOOK NOW

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    The Women of Troy is the riveting, long-awaited sequel to Barker’s 2018 epic The Silence of the Girls. It's a daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it— 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 a The Women of Troy is the riveting, long-awaited sequel to Barker’s 2018 epic The Silence of the Girls. It's a daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it— 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. This is an exquisite and masterful continuation of Barker’s feminist slant on the Trojan War and Homer’s Iliad after the city of Troy has fallen after being besieged for a decade and the Greeks have won the war. The story, more character as opposed to plot-driven, is told predominantly from the perspective of Briseis, who does not hold back in her descriptions of the violence inflicted on her own and other women’s bodies. The men are depicted as almost the antithesis of heroes: as captors, slave owners and of individuals who devalue the lives of the women around them. Barker has transformed what was once a supernatural fable of heroism during wartime into an age-old exploration of female subjugation. It's a powerful, important and memorable book that tells of the desire the Trojans had to avenge the war, especially royals Hecuba and Cassandra who are now enslaved. It's engrossing and gritty and is peopled by a large and idiosyncratic cast who come alive on the page before you. She not only uses blunt prose but also anachronistic phrasing which updates the story for the current audience and creates a different atmosphere to the original. This is fiction at its finest - challenging, deeply satisfying and thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charli

    “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.” The Women of Troy picks up right where it left off at the end of The Silence of the Girls with Breseis continuing as the narrator of the story, which only adds to the strength of a female voice talking about the enslaved women who were grieving after the war, feeling powerless and traumatised. This is the story we all wish we had after reading The Iliad, “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.” The Women of Troy picks up right where it left off at the end of The Silence of the Girls with Breseis continuing as the narrator of the story, which only adds to the strength of a female voice talking about the enslaved women who were grieving after the war, feeling powerless and traumatised. This is the story we all wish we had after reading The Iliad, and I was hooked and reeled in right from the very first chapter. It starts off with the soldiers inside the Trojan Horse concerned that they will be discovered and massacred and not able to carry out the plan of opening the gates to the City to let the army in. Of course we all know what happened in Troy, and that the Greeks were successful in sacking the City. What I loved most about this book is reading how Breseis met with the women who were taken captive either during the war, or after the fall of Troy, and helped them to adjust to their new lives (and dare I say, freedoms… ) You can’t help but feel for Breseis, what with her being married off to Alcimus while being pregnant with Achilles’ baby (oopsie!) and just how did no one suspect anything? Then again… I’m not confident on just how much brains the men of the ancient world had when it came to women and sensing changes in their bodies, because lets face it, they were property for the most part and nothing more. It seems like there will be a third book in the series, rather than this book being the sequel in a duology, and I desperately need that to be true because I love what an absolutely badass fantastic woman Breseis is and the world needs more content of her than what we have. I’m negating talking about the men in my review, because with books like The Iliad and The Song of Achilles I think we’ve read enough about them to be able to make up our minds about their characters and intentions. This book is 95% focused on the women, as it should be. Parker just keeps on releasing outstanding modern classics and I couldn’t be more excited for what she has in store next. Would I recommend this book to everyone? Yes. Will I smack them in the face if they don’t take my recommendation seriously? You betcha. Pick it up, read it, NOW. You won’t regret it. Now, I received an audiobook version along with my hardback and let me tell you, the narrator Kristin Atherton?… FABULOUS. I loved her performance and I’ll be going straight to Audible to purchase the audiobook for The Silence of the Girls to relive it. Thanks so so much to Penguin Random House for sending me a review copy, and to Netgalley for sending me an audiobook to review in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. It is no secret that Pat Barker is a master storyteller. Her way of weaving words into vivid imagery and immersive world-building is second to none. After loving The Silence of the Girls I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into The Women of Troy but my biggest issue with this book was the lack of scale. Both books are pitched as an introspective examination of the women behind the anc I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. It is no secret that Pat Barker is a master storyteller. Her way of weaving words into vivid imagery and immersive world-building is second to none. After loving The Silence of the Girls I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into The Women of Troy but my biggest issue with this book was the lack of scale. Both books are pitched as an introspective examination of the women behind the ancient Greek myths and admittedly they both do that but are paired with POV sections from the male figures, in The Silence of the Girls it is Achilles we read from and in The Women of Troy it is Pyrrhus. My question is: why not keep these books as a unique and bold take on Greek myth solely from the female viewpoint? If scope was something Barker wanted to portray I would have preferred the other POVs to be from women in the camp not from the men as I would argue they've had their time- for centuries. Unfortunately, since The Women of Troy is a direct continuation of the story from the first book it felt too similar in terms of plot and setting so much so that the story was repetitive and plotless. I was expecting to see more of Briseis' journey beyond the war encampment and her new life as a 'free' woman. Perhaps another book is to come which would explain why this book feels lacking and has fallen prey to the disappointing 'second-book syndrome'. Although the bones of the book are a bit of a letdown Barker still has a fantastic way with words and is capable of crafting an excellent picture of the brutality and horror of Ancient Greece.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    The women of Troy is the sequel to Pat Barker’s, The Silence of the Girls and picks up almost immediately where the first ended. Pat Barker has once again written an incredible book and although I did feel it was a little slower at times and maybe not as 'impactful' than silence of the girls it was just as gripping and brilliant written - Barker's writing really draws you in! Overall, I really enjoyed this book and 100% recommend it! Thank you to the publisher for sending me an early copy of this b The women of Troy is the sequel to Pat Barker’s, The Silence of the Girls and picks up almost immediately where the first ended. Pat Barker has once again written an incredible book and although I did feel it was a little slower at times and maybe not as 'impactful' than silence of the girls it was just as gripping and brilliant written - Barker's writing really draws you in! Overall, I really enjoyed this book and 100% recommend it! Thank you to the publisher for sending me an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    GONZA

    In this recent revival of Greek epics I really enjoyed "The silence of the girls", but I must admit that I also read "A Thousands ships" by Natalie Haynes, whose protagonists are roughly the same as in this novel, so much so that I can't be sure which stories belong to one book and which to the other. I liked them both, but the stories all get mixed up in my memory now. In questo recente revival dell'epica greca ho apprezzato molto "The silence of the girls", ma devo ammettere che ho letto anche In this recent revival of Greek epics I really enjoyed "The silence of the girls", but I must admit that I also read "A Thousands ships" by Natalie Haynes, whose protagonists are roughly the same as in this novel, so much so that I can't be sure which stories belong to one book and which to the other. I liked them both, but the stories all get mixed up in my memory now. In questo recente revival dell'epica greca ho apprezzato molto "The silence of the girls", ma devo ammettere che ho letto anche "A Thousands ships" di Natalie Haynes, le cui protagonista sono grossomodo le stesse di questo romanzo, tant'é che non posso essere sicura di quali storia appartengono ad un libro e quali all'altro. Mi sono piaciuti entrambi, ma le storie ormai si confondono tutte nella mia memoria. I RECEIVED A COMPLIMENTARY DIGITAL ADVANCED REVIEW COPY FROM THE PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE FOR A HONEST REVIEW!

  28. 5 out of 5

    l.

    It didn't work quite as well as the silence of the girls for me, but I still really like Pat Barker. I think what she does with the story is what adaptation should be about. It didn't work quite as well as the silence of the girls for me, but I still really like Pat Barker. I think what she does with the story is what adaptation should be about.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    I love Greek Mythology. Whether it comes in the form of an epic children's adventure like the Percy Jackson series, a teen angst fest like "Starcrossed" or something spellbinding like "Circe"...I am totally here for it. Pat Barker's "The Silence of the Girls" was one of my favourites of the many retellings I've read over the years. It was brutal yet beautiful and unsurprisingly so too is "The Women of Troy". Told during the time after Troy had fallen, when the Greeks were prevented from sailing I love Greek Mythology. Whether it comes in the form of an epic children's adventure like the Percy Jackson series, a teen angst fest like "Starcrossed" or something spellbinding like "Circe"...I am totally here for it. Pat Barker's "The Silence of the Girls" was one of my favourites of the many retellings I've read over the years. It was brutal yet beautiful and unsurprisingly so too is "The Women of Troy". Told during the time after Troy had fallen, when the Greeks were prevented from sailing home in glory by angry, vengeful winds, we follow Briseis once again as she navigates a new set of trials and tribulations now that she's married to Alcimus and no longer a slave. Briseis is still our main narrator and it's her quiet resilience and support towards the women of the camp that I like most about this book. I also enjoyed the glimpses into life after the war through Calchus and Pyrrhus's POV that offered a different flavor to the story. Although I was never expecting or really even needing a sequel to "The Silence of the Girls" I have thoroughly enjoyed this installment and can't help but want another to follow Briseis now that they've left behind the shores of Troy. Thank you NetGalley and Penguin General for providing me with a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    I have to say, this is the first time I've read anything by Pat Barker, so didn't realise that this book was a sequel to The Silence of the Girls until a colleague at work told me. I didn't read the first and feel you could easily read this as a standalone. This is a re-telling of the aftermath of the Trojan war and told from the perspective of Briseis - who was once the war prize of Achilles. This is a well written, evocative story of the survival of the women who endured after seeing all they kn I have to say, this is the first time I've read anything by Pat Barker, so didn't realise that this book was a sequel to The Silence of the Girls until a colleague at work told me. I didn't read the first and feel you could easily read this as a standalone. This is a re-telling of the aftermath of the Trojan war and told from the perspective of Briseis - who was once the war prize of Achilles. This is a well written, evocative story of the survival of the women who endured after seeing all they knew and loved destroyed, and are now kept as slaves to the Greek men. I did enjoy this and will probably read The Silence of the Girls at some point. Thanks to Netgalley and Publisher for the ARC

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