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The greatest war story in literature, retold by our greatest living storyteller on war - in the voice of the forgotten woman who lived through it.

Queen Briseis has been stolen from her conquered homeland and given as a concubine to a foreign warrior. The warrior is Achilles: famed hero, loathed enemy, ruthless butcher, darkly troubled spirit. Briseis's fate is now indivisibly entwined with his.

No one knows it yet, but there are just ten weeks to go until the Fall of Troy, the end of this long and bitter war. This is the start of The Iliad: the most famous war story ever told. The next ten weeks will be a story of male power, male ego, male violence. But what of the women? The thousands of female slaves in the soldiers' camp - in the laundry, at the loom, laying out the dead? Briseis is one of their number - and she will be our witness to history.

Formats & editions

  • The Silence of the Girls
    Pat Barker

    Paperback

    9780241983201

    June 18, 2019

    Hamish Hamilton

    336 pages

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • Hardback

    9780241338070

    September 15, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    368 pages

    RRP $55.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • Trade Paperback

    9780241338094

    September 3, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    336 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • The Silence of the Girls
    Pat Barker

    EBook

    9780241983218

    August 30, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Extract

I

Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, godlike Achilles . . . How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him ‘the butcher’.

Swift-footed Achilles. Now there’s an interesting one. More than anything else, more than brilliance, more than greatness, his speed defined him. There’s a story that he once chased the god Apollo all over the plains of Troy. Cornered at last, Apollo is supposed to have said: ‘You can’t kill me, I’m immortal.’ ‘Ah, yes,’ Achilles replied. ‘But we both know if you weren’t immortal, you’d be dead.’

Nobody was ever allowed the last word; not even a god.

I heard him before I saw him: his battle cry ringing round the walls of Lyrnessus.

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