The book starts in the belly of the beast, as the Greek soldiers wait, silently inside the wooden horse. Amongst them is Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, and now the leader of the Myrmidons, desperate to prove himself worthy and living in the shadow of the great warrior, he sets out to kill King Priam to avenge his father. Once the City falls, and the Greeks have looted it and distributed its remaining women amongst themselves they are eager to set sail for home. Unfortunately, the winds are not in their favour. As the weather becomes increasingly erratic, the conquers begin to wonder which of the Gods they may have offended and how they will placate them to get safe passage home.
Elif Shafak is an ambitious writer and in this book, she deals with topics such as race, identity, loss, grief and intergenerational trauma. She does all of this with warmth and humour and in the inimitable style, much loved by readers.
Even though Riley and Jen have a shared history, from infancy, it’s heart-breaking that Riley from a relatively young age learnt to filter her experiences from Jen. For me, this didn’t take away from their friendship, it added a dimension, of love and protection, but one that Riley carried on her own.