A Thousand Ships

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes is a unique retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women who were affected by the events which occurred during the siege of Troy and the sacking of the city. It serves as a compelling reminder of the cost of conflict.

The novel begins with an introduction to the muse, Calliope, goddess of Epic poetry, and the bard who pleas for inspiration. The bard expects a story oriented around the men of the war, but Calliope has other ideas; ‘this is a women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s  and the poet will look upon their pain - the pain of the women who have always been relegated to the edges of the story, victims of men, survivors of men, slaves of men - and he will tell it, or he will tell nothing at all. They have waited long enough for their turn.’

The reader is then introduced to a woman named Creusa, who is attempting to escape the burning city of Troy. The event follows a ten-year besieging of the walled city by the Achaeans. The last Creusa heard, the Greeks had given up and sailed away in their tall ships, leaving in their place a large wooden horse. The young woman searches the flaming city for her husband Aeneas and their son- a tense and thrilling beginning to the tale.

Highly recommended for those who love the classics and retellings of myths and legends, Natalie Haynes’ A Thousand Ships is a thoroughly enjoyable yet poignant read. Each chapter encapsulates the experience of a different woman, making it engaging and fast-paced.

Submitted by Laura