The Women of Troy is a daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it.
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.
“An important, powerful, memorable book.” —Emily Wilson, translator of The Odyssey
“[A] masterly continuation of her fiercely feminist take on Homer’s Iliad. . . . In a novel filled with names from legend, Briseis stands tall as a heroine: brave, smart and loyal. . . . Barker’s latest is a wonder.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Barker’s blunt, earthy prose strips the romance from Greek mythology, revealing its foundations in murder and oppression, yet she also understands—and conveys—the stark appeal of these ancient stories as she asks us to reconsider them through the eyes of their victims. As with her masterful Regeneration trilogy, the inconclusive close of this volume leaves readers hungry to know what happens next to a host of complex and engaging characters. Vintage Barker: challenging, stimulating, and profoundly satisfying.” —Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)
“. . . This continuation of the Trojan woman’s story feels like another victory for every person who was silenced by history, their story stolen from them.” —Refinery29
“Barker’s sequel to The Silence of the Girls (2018) continues the story of Queen Briseis, given as a war prize to Achilles. . . . Through Briseis’ eyes, readers experience the aftermath of the fall of Troy. . . . Briseis is an engaging character, both pragmatic and perceptive, providing keen insight into monsters such as Pyrrhus, as well as the women of Troy.” —Booklist