As I pack my bag for a short visit to Northern Ireland tomorrow, I hesitate about only taking the kindle, having been caught out before on a 5 hour TGV train ride and a flat battery. But with the announcement that Madeline Miller has won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction with her debut novel ‘The Song of Achilles’, my decision is made, it has been tempting me all day and I have picked it up a few times, willing it to share its secret. So into the bag it goes.
While the international women’s writing prize will continue to be celebrated, this will be the last year that it is sponsored by the telecommunications company Orange, so we shall wait and see what name and new look next year’s prize will emerge with.
So what can we expect to find within the covers of Madeline Miller’s ‘The Song of Achilles’? According to the blurb:
Greece in the age of Heroes.
Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Inspiration indeed in this year of the Olympics!