Achilles, son of the goddess Thetis and King Peleus, and one of the greatest of all the Greek heroes of the Trojan War, is the focus of this slender novel.
As a boy, Achilles was tutored by the centaur Chiron, and then hidden away disguised as a girl at King Lycomedes’ court. Found there by Odysseus, he joined the war against Troy as the leader of the Myrmidons, and achieved glory by defeating Hector. Others played a part in his passionate drama: bitter Menelaus and the fabulously beautiful Helen, sly Paris, all-knowing Cassandra, the Amazon Queen Penthesilea, his lovers Patroclus and Briseis, and determined Agamemnon.
Cook’s work is in three parts: the first deals with Achilles’ life and death, the second with the aftermath of his death, including the fall of Troy, and the third concerns a meditation composed by John Keats on Achilles’ life and death. Written in lyrical and beautiful prose, Cook’s descriptions are vibrant and colorful, her characterizations are insightful, and she provides the reader with a memorable portrait of a legendary hero.