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15 Wondrous Books Like The Song of Achilles: Ultimate Book Guide

One word, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is devastating.

This book was recommended to me by a very close friend but prolonged myself in getting into it.

Finishing the book, I am not surprised that it won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2012 (now called The Women’s Prize for Fiction).

A retold of the infamous relationship of Achilles and Patroclus written by the brilliant Madeline Miller.

In the novel, we follow the life of Achilles from his childhood to his fateful destiny as a warrior.

The story is narrated by Patroclus, a young prince who becomes Achilles’ loyal companion and lover.

As they grow, we can find how their bond deepens budding into a boys love story.

Miller skillfully weaves together elements of romance, mythology, and historical fiction, creating a rich and immersive narrative.

She explores the deep emotional connection between Achilles and Patroclus. This is book is an prime example of helplessly banking into their vulnerabilities, desires, and sacrifices.

The novel captures the essence of their relationship, portraying it as a profound love story that shapes their lives and ultimately leads to tragedy.

With beautifully lyrical prose and a deep understanding of Greek mythology, The Song of Achilles offers a fresh and compelling perspective on a timeless tale of heroism, love, and the human condition.

And while you can enjoy the love in between, be prepared for a heart-wrenching ending.

Now, you’re a fan of The Song of Achilles and can’t get enough of epic tales set in ancient Greece, this reading list is for you!

Books Similar to The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

A quick list of the books like The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
  • The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
  • The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough
  • The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
  • The House of Names by Colm Toibin
  • An Arrow’s Flight by Mark Merlis
  • The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier
  • The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
  • Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby
  • The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin
  • Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  • The King Must Die by Mary Renault
  • The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

In Circe by Madeline Miller, the story begins with Circe’s childhood in the halls of her father, Helios, the Titan sun god, and her nymph mother, Perse. However, Circe is different from her divine family, lacking the godlike beauty and voice of the immortals. She discovers her affinity for witchcraft and potions, and her transformational abilities become her source of power.

As Circe grows older, she encounters different mythological figures, including the famous hero Odysseus, who spends a year on her island, Aiaia. Circe and Odysseus develop a complex relationship, and their interactions have far-reaching consequences. Alongside Odysseus, Circe encounters other mythical creatures and navigates the challenges of motherhood.

Circe is praised for its lush prose, intricate character development, and its ability to breathe new life into a lesser-known character from Greek mythology. It offers a fresh and empowering perspective on Circe’s story, providing readers with a deeper understanding of her motivations, struggles, and triumphs.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker is a powerful retelling of the Trojan War from the perspective of the women involved. The novel focuses on the story of Briseis, a queen who becomes a slave to Achilles after her city is sacked by the Greeks.

Barker explores the experiences of women during times of war, shedding light on the often silenced and overlooked voices of those who are forced into the background. The novel delves into the psychological and emotional impact of war on women and their resilience in the face of adversity.

The Silence of the Girls offers a fresh and thought-provoking take on the Trojan War, challenging traditional narratives and highlighting the importance of giving voice to those who have been silenced throughout history. It is a must-read for fans of The Song of Achilles who are interested in exploring different perspectives on this timeless myth.

Related: 10 Books Like When Breath Becomes Air By Paul Kalanithi

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood is a retelling of the ancient Greek epic, the Odyssey, from the perspective of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. In this novel, Atwood gives a voice to the often overlooked character of Penelope and explores her side of the story.

The Penelopiad delves into the challenges and experiences Penelope faced while her husband was away fighting in the Trojan War and his subsequent ten-year journey back home. Through Penelope’s narration, Atwood examines themes of gender, power, and agency, shedding new light on the well-known myth.

Atwood’s vivid and insightful storytelling brings Penelope to life as a complex and resilient character. The novel challenges traditional narratives and offers a fresh perspective on the ancient tale. It explores the mythological world of ancient Greece while also addressing contemporary issues and themes.

For readers who enjoyed The Song of Achilles, The Penelopiad provides a unique and thought-provoking exploration of Greek mythology and the impact of these stories on women’s lives.

The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough

The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough

The Song of Troy is a historical fiction novel by Colleen McCullough that retells the story of the Trojan War. McCullough brings the characters and events of Homer’s Iliad to life, providing a fresh and engaging perspective on the legendary tale.

In The Song of Troy, McCullough delves into the complex relationships and motivations of the key figures in the Trojan War, including Achilles, Hector, Paris, and Helen. She skillfully explores their personal struggles, desires, and sacrifices, adding depth and nuance to their characters.

McCullough’s vivid descriptions and richly detailed world-building transport readers to ancient Troy, immersing them in the sights, sounds, and emotions of the time. Her meticulous research and attention to historical accuracy make The Song of Troy a compelling and immersive reading experience.

For fans of The Song of Achilles, The Song of Troy offers a similar blend of action, romance, and mythology. McCullough’s storytelling prowess and her ability to capture the essence of these legendary characters make this book a worthy addition to any reading list.


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The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee is a historical fiction novel that takes readers on a journey through 19th century Paris, following the life of Lilliet Berne, a famous opera singer. The novel explores themes of love, betrayal, and the pursuit of freedom.

Lilliet Berne is a captivating protagonist, with a complex and mysterious past. As she navigates the elite world of the opera, she becomes entangled in a web of secrets and intrigue. The Queen of the Night is a richly detailed and atmospheric novel, with lush descriptions of the opera houses, salons, and ballrooms of Paris.

Similar to The Song of Achilles, The Queen of the Night delves into the lives of fascinating historical characters and immerses the reader in a vividly portrayed historical setting. Both novels also explore the themes of love and betrayal, as well as the role of women in society.

If you enjoyed the lyrical writing and historical backdrop of The Song of Achilles, The Queen of the Night is a book you should add to your reading list.

The House of Names by Colm Toibin

The House of Names by Colm Toibin

The House of Names is a captivating retelling of the Greek myth of the House of Atreus. In this novel, Colm Toibin explores the tragic story of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and their children, Orestes and Electra.

Toibin delves into the complex motivations and emotions of each character, offering a fresh perspective on familiar mythological figures. The story is told from multiple perspectives, allowing readers to witness the events unfold through the eyes of each family member.

The House of Names combines elements of Greek tragedy with Toibin’s signature lyrical prose, resulting in a compelling and thought-provoking narrative. It delves into themes of power, betrayal, and the consequences of revenge.

If you enjoyed The Song of Achilles for its exploration of Greek mythology and its reimagining of well-known characters, then The House of Names is a must-read. Toibin’s masterful storytelling will keep you captivated from beginning to end.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt is a gripping and atmospheric novel that delves into themes of friendship, obsession, and the dark underbelly of academia. Set at a fictional New England college, the story follows a group of eccentric and secretive students studying ancient Greek. As the narrative unfolds, secrets, lies, and the consequences of their actions begin to unravel.

Tartt’s novel shares similarities with The Song of Achilles in its exploration of Greek mythology and the complexities of human relationships. Both books delve into the themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the tragic consequences of obsession.

The Secret History introduces readers to a cast of morally ambiguous characters, much like the intricate portrayals of Achilles and Patroclus in The Song of Achilles. Tartt’s atmospheric writing style and meticulous attention to detail create a rich and immersive reading experience.

If you enjoyed the lyrical prose and exploration of mythology in The Song of Achilles, The Secret History is a must-read. Tartt’s masterful storytelling and complex characters will keep you engaged from beginning to end.

An Arrow's Flight by Mark Merlis

An Arrow’s Flight by Mark Merlis

“An Arrow’s Flight” by Mark Merlis is a thought-provoking and beautifully written novel that reimagines the classic Greek myth of Achilles and his companion Patroclus. In this modern retelling, the story is set in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS epidemic, exploring themes of love, sexuality, and the complexities of identity.

The novel follows the life of Pyrrhus, a young gay man who becomes entangled in the world of New York City’s gay subculture. As he navigates his own desires and struggles, Pyrrhus finds himself drawn into a web of relationships and encounters that mirror the timeless tale of Achilles and Patroclus.

Merlis’s writing is lyrical and evocative, capturing the emotional depth and complexity of the characters. Through Pyrrhus’s journey, the novel tackles important themes such as love, loss, and the search for identity in a society that is often hostile to those who are different.

“An Arrow’s Flight” is a powerful exploration of the human experience and a beautiful homage to the original myth. It is a compelling read for fans of “The Song of Achilles” looking for a contemporary take on ancient mythology.

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The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier is a historical novel that explores the untold story of the Amazons, a legendary tribe of warrior women. The novel follows the journey of Diana Morgan, a young scholar who is determined to uncover the truth about the Amazons and their connection to her own family history.

Fortier weaves together past and present narratives, taking readers on a captivating adventure that spans from ancient Greece to modern-day Turkey. Through vivid descriptions and meticulous research, Fortier brings the world of the Amazons to life, delving into their rituals, traditions, and the challenges they faced in a male-dominated society.

The Lost Sisterhood explores themes of female empowerment, identity, and the enduring power of myth. It delves into the complexities of female relationships, the bonds of sisterhood, and the sacrifices women make to protect what they hold dear.

If you enjoyed The Song of Achilles and are looking for another captivating historical novel with strong female characters, The Lost Sisterhood is a must-read. Fortier’s rich storytelling and attention to detail will transport you to a world of ancient legends and fierce warrior women.

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The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault

The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault

The Last of the Wine is a historical novel by Mary Renault set in ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War. It follows the story of Alexias, an Athenian aristocrat, as he navigates the political and social upheaval of his time.

The novel explores themes of love, friendship, and personal growth against the backdrop of war and political turmoil. Renault’s meticulous research and vivid storytelling bring ancient Greece to life, making it a compelling read for fans of The Song of Achilles.

Similar to The Song of Achilles, The Last of the Wine delves into the complexities of same-sex relationships in ancient Greek society. It portrays a nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of these relationships, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of love and desire in a society that often frowned upon them.

Renault’s writing style is lyrical and immersive, capturing the essence of ancient Greece and the spirit of its people. The Last of the Wine is a captivating novel that will transport readers to a fascinating era in history and leave them pondering the timeless themes it explores.

Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby

Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby

Love and War in the Apennines is a memoir by Eric Newby that chronicles his experiences as a British prisoner of war during World War II. After escaping from an Italian prison camp, Newby spent months hiding in the remote Apennine mountains of Italy, helped by local villagers and resistance fighters.

The book offers a unique perspective on the war, focusing on the relationships and friendships that Newby formed during his time in hiding. It explores themes of love, resilience, and the human capacity for kindness and compassion in the face of adversity.

Newby’s vivid descriptions of the Italian countryside and his encounters with local Italians provide a rich backdrop for the story. His writing captures the beauty of the landscape as well as the hardships and dangers of life on the run.

Love and War in the Apennines is a compelling and heartfelt memoir that offers a different perspective on the war and the resilience of the human spirit. It is a recommended read for fans of The Song of Achilles who are interested in exploring other World War II memoirs.

The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin

The Serpent’s Tale, written by Ariana Franklin, is a historical novel set in medieval England. It is the sequel to The Mistress of the Art of Death and follows the adventures of Adelia Aguilar, a female physician and forensic investigator.

In The Serpent’s Tale, Adelia finds herself in the midst of a dangerous plot involving political intrigue, murder, and dark secrets. As she unravels the mysteries and navigates the treacherous world of medieval England, Adelia must rely on her intellect and skills to solve the crimes and protect those she cares about.

Ariana Franklin’s engaging storytelling and meticulous attention to historical detail make The Serpent’s Tale a captivating read for fans of historical fiction and mystery genres. The book explores themes of power, gender roles, and the complexities of medieval society.

Readers who enjoyed The Song of Achilles for its historical setting and rich character development will appreciate The Serpent’s Tale as a compelling and immersive read.

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces is a novel by C.S. Lewis that explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the nature of beauty. The story is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche from the perspective of Psyche’s older sister, Orual.

The novel delves into the complex relationships between the characters and delves into the depths of human emotions and motivations. It raises profound questions about the nature of love and the choices we make in the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.

Like The Song of Achilles, Till We Have Faces offers a richly woven narrative with vivid descriptions and deep emotional resonance. It explores similar themes of love and sacrifice in a mythological context, making it a compelling read for fans of The Song of Achilles.

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

The King Must Die is a historical novel by Mary Renault that retells the legendary story of Theseus, a hero of Greek mythology. The novel explores Theseus’ journey from his humble beginnings as a young prince to his rise as the king of Athens.

Renault’s vivid and detailed writing brings ancient Greece to life, capturing the political intrigue, power struggles, and mythical world of gods and heroes. The novel delves into themes of destiny, honor, and the complex relationships between mortals and immortals.

The King Must Die is a gripping and immersive read that will appeal to fans of The Song of Achilles. Like The Song of Achilles, it offers a fresh and nuanced perspective on a familiar mythological tale, delving into the emotional and psychological aspects of the characters and their relationships.

Readers who enjoy exploring ancient mythology and historical fiction will find The King Must Die to be a captivating and thought-provoking read.

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

The Heroes is a gritty and realistic fantasy novel by Joe Abercrombie that shares similarities with The Song of Achilles. Set in a world filled with war and political intrigue, the story follows a cast of flawed and morally ambiguous characters as they navigate the brutal realities of battle.

Abercrombie’s writing is known for its dark and compelling narrative, delving deep into the complexities of human nature and the cost of power. The Heroes explores themes of heroism, sacrifice, and the futility of war, creating a thought-provoking and emotionally charged reading experience.

If you enjoyed the epic and tragic elements of The Song of Achilles, The Heroes will captivate you with its richly developed characters, intricate plot twists, and gripping battle scenes. It offers a fresh and unique perspective on the fantasy genre, highlighting the complex relationships and moral dilemmas that arise in times of conflict.

Other notable works by Joe Abercrombie include the First Law Trilogy and the Shattered Sea Trilogy, which further showcase his talent for crafting nuanced characters and exploring the complexities of human nature.

Why is The Song of Achilles so popular now?

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller has gained popularity for several reasons. Published in 2011, it was recent it gained traction through BookTok. The novel is a beautifully written and engaging retelling of the mythological story of Achilles, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, and Patroclus, his depicted lover.

Did Thetis really hate Patroclus?

Thetis, the mother of Achilles, did not have a positive relationship with Patroclus. Thetis disapproved of Patroclus and his influence on Achilles, as she believed he weakened her son’s warrior spirit. However, it is worth noting that different versions of the myth vary in their portrayal of Thetis and her feelings towards Patroclus.

Were Achilles and Patroclus lovers?

The nature of Achilles and Patroclus’ relationship is a subject of debate and interpretation. In Greek mythology, they are described as close companions and friends, but the exact nature of their bond is not explicitly stated. Some interpretations, both ancient and modern, suggest that they were lovers, while others view their relationship as purely platonic. The interpretation of their relationship as lovers gained prominence in modern retellings, including The Song of Achilles.

Why did Patroclus sleep with Deidameia?

Patroclus slept with Deidameia, who was his captive during the Trojan War, because Achilles had temporarily abandoned him after a dispute. Patroclus sought solace and companionship with Deidameia during Achilles’ absence. This act is often seen as a reflection of Patroclus’ vulnerability and longing for emotional connection while separated from Achilles.


First published on October 01, 2023
Updated on March 14, 2024 – write more comprehensive yet short introduction, added photo covers, and FAQs