Summary and book reviews of A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

A Thousand Ships

by Natalie Haynes

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes X
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
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  • Published:
    Jan 26, 2021, 368 pages

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Book Summary

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction, a gorgeous retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women involved in its causes and consequences - for fans of Madeline Miller.

This is the women's war, just as much as it is the men's. They have waited long enough for their turn...

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all...

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war.

A woman's epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world's great tale ever told.

1
Calliope

Sing, Muse, he says, and the edge in his voice makes it clear that this is not a request. If I were minded to accede to his wish, I might say that he sharpens his tone on my name, like a warrior drawing his dagger across a whetstone, preparing for the morning's battle. But I am not in the mood to be a muse today. Perhaps he hasn't thought of what it is like to be me. Certainly he hasn't: like all poets, he thinks only of himself. But it is surprising that he hasn't considered how many other men there are like him, every day, all demanding my unwavering attention and support. How much epic poetry does the world really need?

Every conflict joined, every war fought, every city besieged, every town sacked, every village destroyed. Every impossible journey, every shipwreck, every homecoming: these stories have all been told, and countless times. Can he really believe he has something new to say? And does he think he might need me to help him keep track of all his characters, or ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The Telegraph (UK)
Haynes is master of her trade...She succeeds in breathing warm life into some of our oldest stories.

The Guardian (UK)
Absorbing and fiercely feminist…this subversive re-seeing of the classics is a many-layered delight.

Publishers Weekly
[E]xcellent...Haynes shines by twisting common perceptions of the Trojan War and its aftermath in order to capture the women's experiences. Readers who enjoyed Madeline Miller's Circe will want to take a look.

Booklist
A witty, unapologetically feminist story of women's suffering, courage, and endurance…Haynes' freshly modern version of an ancient tale is perfect for our times.

Library Journal
If there is any need for one more trip down this well-traveled road after Madeline Miller's Circe and Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls, this lively reinvention is worth the journey.

Author Blurb Madeline Miller, author of Circe
With her trademark passion, wit, and fierce feminism, Natalie Haynes gives much-needed voice to the silenced women of the Trojan War.

Author Blurb Suzannah Lipscomb, author of 1536
Here, in this treat of a book, the women take centre stage—and how brilliantly...Natalie Haynes brings them to witty, lyrical, scintillating life...A book to both savour and devour.

Author Blurb Catherine Nixey, author of The Darkening Age
Breathtaking...Her writing isn't merely clever, or elegant, or (at times) extremely funny—though it is all of those things. It's also viscerally vivid.

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