10 Myth-Legend Books About Achilles

Troy & Trojan War Novels

In the eighth century B.C. in ancient Greece, that was a great poet named Homer. He had two significant poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Those powerful poems are considered essential in Greek literature and Homer’s Iliad, one of his two great poems. We find the story of Achilles and the Trojan War. The story focuses on a dispute between Achilles and his king Agamemnon. But the story also touches on the Trojan War that has been going on for about a decade.

The story features Greek heroes like Achilles, King Agamemnon, the Trojan princes Hector and Paris, and the excellent Helen. She was the cause of all of this chaos. Like most mythological heroes, Achilles had a very complicated family tree. Achilles was born a mortal, and the mother wasn’t happy with it. She was constantly worried about her son’s mortality. She didn’t want to see him die, so she plotted a way to make him immortal. This being a Greek myth, you can be sure that she found the way.

According to the legend, the Trojan War began when the Greek god Zeus wanted to reduce the population on Earth by starting a war between the Greeks and the Trojans. To do that, the gods persuaded the young and naive children, Prince Paris, to take us his wife, Helen, the most beautiful wife there ever was.

The only problem was that Helen was already married to somebody else, Manila Alice, the king of Sparta, part of Greece. This wouldn’t end well when Manila assembled a massive army abroad, Achilles with him, and went straight for Troy. So that’s the background of Achilles’s story.

Books about Achilles allow you to learn ancient legends and immerse yourself in a world of gods, heroes, and epic battles. They offer friendship, love, grief, loss, identity, and the existential questions that arise in the face of war and mortality.

10 Books About Achilles (Troy & Trojan War)

In Greek mythology, one man can make a real difference. Achilles vowed to get revenge and kill Hector. He went all the way to Troy’s gates. But Hector was in front of the city gates, and because Achilles was immortal, he eventually killed Hector.

Then he further humiliates Hector by dragging his body down to the Greek shores. That’s a decision to humiliate Hector and eventually give back the body to his father for a proper burial. It’s a nice turn of the story. To know more, here I will talk about ten books about Achilles. These books offer a deeper understanding of the mythological tradition, historical contexts, and the evolution of Achilles’ character throughout literary history. Let’s go!

1. The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles is about Achilles and Patroclus. It follows their relationship as they grow up and eventually go to war against the Trojans. Achilles is the son of a sea nymph and a mortal human. There was a prophecy about the sea nymph that her child would be greater than their father. So the gods forced her to be with a mortal so her son would not be greater than the other gods.

The sea nymph hates humans pretty much and only likes her son. He is greater than all the other humans. Patroclus is the son of a king but is exiled, so he has no status. He has always been a weird one, and he has never been accepted into any friend group. So they’re both a few outsiders. Achilles is amazing at everything, Patroclus is weird, and people don’t like him. But the two eventually find each other, becoming fast friends and soul mates.

There were relationships between two men in ancient Greece. They weren’t in a positive light, but they didn’t exist. They were there, and they happened. But Achilles was so great that people needed things from him anyway. So they treated him better than if he was a regular guy in a relationship with another guy. This book is written from the point of view of Patroclus. His filter on what was happening in Achilles’s life was exciting and compelling, and I wanted to keep reading.

The Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Literature & Fiction, Classic American Literature (Best Seller)
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

2. The Iliad

The Iliad follows two warring armies. These people have become enemies because one woman left her husband for another man and caused all this devastation. That is pretty despicable, as a whole war for one woman. So the Iliad has so many characters: the gods, Warriors, Kings, and queens.

All of them play a role in this story. There are many terms for people, their armies, and their lands. Army personnel has three different names, so it gets a little confusing. In a way, it was nice because it was straight to the point. No man or woman born coward or brave can shun his destiny. Fate, war, glory, pride, rage, and divine intervention are some of the themes of the Iliad in this graphic novel adaptation. The story of Achilles versus Hector is entertaining. Also, it is one of the best books on Achilles, I must say.

The Iliad

Author: Gareth Hinds
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Category: Greek & Roman Myths & Legends, Epic Poetry
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

3. The Silence of the Girls

The Silence of the Girls is a story that follows the women slaves in the Greek camp during the Trojan War. So this book is done from the point of view of a female captured and given to Achilles as his war prize. All the women in that town were taken as slaves. The men were killed straight away, and most kids were also killed.

Perseus does cause the rift between Achilles and Agamemnon. There’s this whole thing with Agamemnon and his woman, who was captured from a different town. However, she was the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Apollo is not happy about this when he finds out because he’s a God. He finds out that they have crises and wants them to return to the crisis. So he sends a plague down to the Greeks. They’re all dropping dead, and everybody has to send back crisis. Everybody else in the camp has a war prize, and he doesn’t harm his ego.

The Silence of the Girls

Author: Pat Barker
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Ancient History Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

4. Ransom

King of Troy (Priam) travels Greek to plead with the warrior Achilles to release his son’s body, Hector. Achilles has spent each day desecrating the body of Hector as revenge, despite Achilles’s refusal to give up Hector’s body. Priam is convinced there must be a way of reclaiming the body by pitting new ways against the old and forcing the hand of fate.

Ransom suggests that revenge is not the answer to grief. It’s always important to think before you execute. This is a theme-based prompt because the keywords revolve around revenge and grief. You will see Achilles’s soft side and hard side and his braveness and morality. The author focuses on the character and life history rather than war; you will love it.


Author: David Malouf
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Fairy Tale Fantasy, Military Historical Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

5. A Thousand Ships

A Thousand Ships is a retelling of the Trojan War from the perspective that the women involved are connected somehow to the war. The book covers all of the key parts of the Trojan War, including but not limited to the golden apple and the plague on the Greek camp.

Natalie Haynes covers the events of the Iliad, which is the largest source of information on the Trojan War we have. She also covers the aftermath of the war, Achilles, including the Trojan women who spend most of their time in this book in a Greek prisoner camp. This book covers many myths and legends in great detail without overpowering them with too vague information.

This is not how women were often portrayed in ancient literature unless it led to a downfall. But in a thousand ships, these brutal actions do not lead to Huckabee’s downfall, as she cannot get much lower than she already has. We got to see the clashing natures of horror, Athena and Aphrodite. We got to read about the anger, disgust, and loneliness of Eris, and we also got to see a portrayal of the mental and physical pain of Gaia and the desire to help from Smith’s one goddess.

A Thousand Ships

Author: Natalie Haynes
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Ancient History Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

6. The Rage of Achilles by Terence Hawkins

This novel explores the life of Achilles from a modern perspective, merging historical fiction with fantasy. It focuses on Achilles’ tumultuous relationship with his mother, Thetis, and his struggle to reconcile his divine heritage with his mortal existence.

7. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character by Jonathan Shay

This non-fiction work examines the impact of war on the human psyche. It analyzes the concept of moral injury and the challenges faced by soldiers returning from war. The author Draws parallels between Achilles’ experiences in the Iliad and the psychological trauma of Vietnam War veterans.

8. Achilles: A Novel by Elizabeth Cook

This novel is set against the Trojan War backdrop and offers a fictionalized story of Achilles’ life. It shows his complex relationships with fellow warriors, his internal struggles, and the choices he makes that ultimately shape his destiny.

9. Achilles and the Tortoise by José Saramago

In this philosophical novel, Nobel laureate José Saramago presents a reimagining of the myth of Achilles and the tortoise. The book explores time, identity, and the nature of art through a nonlinear narrative that challenges traditional storytelling conventions.

10. Achilles: Paradigms of the War Hero from Homer to the Middle Ages by Corinne Jouanno

This scholarly work represents the evolution of the Achilles archetype in various literary and cultural contexts. It examines how the portrayal of Achilles as a hero has changed over time and explores his significance in different historical periods.

Romance Books About Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: This novel beautifully depicts the deep bond and love between Achilles and his companion, Patroclus. Their relationship evolves from childhood friendship to a profound romantic connection, which drives the narrative.

Achilles – A Novel by Elizabeth Cook: This book covers various aspects of Achilles’ life, including his military prowess and romantic relationships. The novel explores Achilles’ interactions with women such as Deidamia and Briseis, shedding light on his life’s complexities of love and desire.

Achilles – Paradigms of the War Hero from Homer to the Middle Ages by Corinne Jouanno: This book explores the romantic elements in the portrayals of Achilles in different historical periods. It analyzes the romantic connections between Achilles and characters like Penthesilea and Helen of Troy, providing insights into how romance was portrayed in Achilles’ character.

Books About Achilles For Kids

Achilles – The Story of a Little Mouse Trapped in a Big War by Yayo Kawamura: This picture book tells the story of Achilles through the eyes of a little mouse who witnesses the events of the Trojan War. It introduces young readers to the characters and key moments of the epic tale in a relatable and engaging way.

Achilles and the Trojan War by Rosemary Sutcliff: This retelling of the Trojan War is part of the “Greece and Rome: Texts and Contexts” series. It presents the story of Achilles and the events of the war in a simplified narrative suitable for older children or young teens.

The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War by Emily Little: This book introduces the Trojan War and Achilles’ role. It explains the legend of the Trojan Horse, which was instrumental in the Greek victory and touches upon the key characters, including Achilles.

The Iliad for Boys and Girls by Alfred J. Church: This classic adaptation of Homer’s “The Iliad” is simplified for younger readers. It condenses the epic into a more manageable length and presents the main events and characters, including Achilles, engagingly.

Achilles: The Brave Warrior (Graphic Mythical Heroes series) by Martin Powell: This graphic novel aimed at middle-grade readers provides an illustrated and action-packed introduction to Achilles. It retells his story, highlighting his bravery and role in the Trojan War, making it an appealing choice for young readers.

Books About Achilles In Order

If you’re interested in reading books about Achilles in chronological order, based on the events depicted in Greek mythology, here is a suggested order:

The Iliad by Homer: Start with the epic poem that is the primary source for Achilles’ story. It introduces his character, rage, and involvement in the Trojan War.

The Odyssey by Homer: This epic poem by Homer provides some additional context about his post-war fate and the impact of his actions on others.

The Trojan Women by Euripides: This tragedy book explores the aftermath of the Trojan War and its impact on the women left behind, including Briseis, Achilles’ war prize.

The Aethiopis (Lost Epic): Although this epic poem is lost, it is worth mentioning as it was considered a continuation of the Iliad and depicted Achilles’ final battles and death.

The Little Iliad (Lost Epic): Another lost epic was a sequel to the Aethiopis, continuing the Trojan War and Achilles story.

The Nostoi (Lost Epic): This book follows the Trojan War, including Achilles’ son, Neoptolemus, and his role in the war.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: This novel reimagines the story of Achilles from the perspective of Patroclus, exploring their relationship and Achilles’ journey during the Trojan War.

Ransom by David Malouf: This novel offers an imaginative retelling of Achilles’ encounter with King Priam of Troy and explores themes of grief, loss, and redemption.

From ancient epics to modern novels, these books offer diverse interpretations and retellings of his story. Each author brings their unique perspective, style, and themes to the narrative, providing fresh insights into the legend. They cover scholarly analysis and literary interpretations, providing intellectual exploration opportunities.

If you enjoyed reading about Achilles and are looking for similar books or characters that capture the essence of his story and themes, here are some recommendations:

  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Aeneid by Virgil.
  • Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton.
  • The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Read More Greek Mythology:

Books On Greek Mythology For Beginners

Greek Mythology Retelling Books

Homer Retellings Books About Helen Of Troy

Books On Aphrodite

Books On Zeus

Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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