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Malouf, David: Ransom

Pantheon, 240 pages
1st published: 2009
5 stars

Note: Review copy received from publisher. Amazon affiliate: Links pointing to Amazon contain my affiliate ID. Sales resulting from clicks on those links will earn me a percentage of the purchase price.

David Malouf's Ransom is a re-imagining of the events narrated in book 24 of Homer's Iliad. Achilles, mad with grief over the death of his friend Patroclus at Hector's hands, has slain Hector in turn. But contrary to convention, still savage in his unquenchable grief, Achilles daily abuses Hector's body, dragging it behind his chariot around the Greeks' camp, the insult further sorrow to Hector's parents and to the rest of the Trojans. Hector's father, Priam, the King of Troy, is visited by the goddess Iris, who bids him travel to the Greek camp and ransom his son's body. Priam does this, Achilles relents, and Priam returns home with the corpse, which the gods have preserved from decay and Achilles' degradations. Book 24 ends with Hector's funeral.

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