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Publisher's Summary

NATIONAL BEST SELLER

"Gorgeous.... With her trademark passion, wit, and fierce feminism, Natalie Haynes gives much-needed voice to the silenced women of the Trojan War." (Madeline Miller, author of Circe)

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a gorgeous retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women involved in its causes and consequences - for fans of Madeline Miller.

This is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s. They have waited long enough for their turn....

This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all....

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war. 

A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world’s great tale ever told.

©2019 Natalie Haynes (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about A Thousand Ships

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A new Golden Age

The author of "A Thousand Ships", Natalie Haynes, has said that The Iliad is rightly considered “one of the great foundational texts on war and warriors, men and masculinity”. She is entirely correct, but as more and more people are finally allowed their voices in the spheres of literature, film, television, and pop culture we’re beginning to revisit classics from the point of view of those that were rarely considered in the past. Indeed, we seem to be living in a wonderful golden age of reinterpretations of The Iliad and The Trojan War. In the last ten or so years we’ve been given a pantheon of stellar interpretations of one of the western worlds greatest epics.

Madeline Miller (Circe and Song of Achilles), Pat Barker (The Silence of the Girls and it’s upcoming sequel The Women of Troy), Colm Toibin (House Of Names), and even the great Stephen Fry (the soon to be released Troy) have shown or will soon show one of our oldest stories in an entirely new way. With that new perspective we’re finally seeing history’s greatest war from the point of view of the women who fought, died, or survived it. It’s far too commonly forgotten that women weren’t just slaves, servants, or prizes of war during the conflict. They were warriors, goddesses, and queens. The roles of women in the Trojan War were as diverse and eclectic as the men's. Their heroics were just as laudable, their sacrifices just as profound. A woman fought Achilles, a woman killed High-King Agamemnon, a woman helped save the kingdom of Ithaca, a woman brought the war to a standstill. It’s baffling that it’s taken this long for them to get their due.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a physical copy last year and I quickly found that Natalie Haynes was ably continuing the work Madeline Miller started with "Circe". "A Thousand Ships" is a vague sort of anthology that gives the forgotten women of the Trojan War their voices at long last. We learn about them as people and come to understand and sympathize with their plight with incredible swiftness. Haynes has a remarkable read on the culture and weaves multiple story threads deftly and precisely and I was compelled to finish the entire book in one sitting. While there is the cruelty, casual misogyny, and sexual violence that would've been an unfortunate reality of that era, "A Thousand Ships" is also surprisingly funny and witty at times. Especially where Penelope is concerned. While I still think the aforementioned "Circe" is the gold standard of the modern/feminist retellings of The Trojan War, "A Thousand Ships" has definitely earned its place of honor next to "Circe", "Song Of Achilles", and "The Silence of The Girls". Give it a read and pray to the gods we get more like it.

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Marvelous Perspective!

I enjoyed every minute of this book. It was fascinating to hear well-known stories from previously unknown perspectives. An ambitious undertaking for Natalie Haynes and she pulled it off beautifully!

Normally I'm not a fan of authors narrating their own books... There are a few notable exceptions to this, and Haynes is one of them. It was definitely the right choice.

I just finished the book and am tempted to immediately listen to the whole thing again.

36 people found this helpful

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Read it twice before stopping!

Once in awhile you find a book that you want to keep reading even when you run out of pages. This is such a book . It is scholarly, intelligent, creative, and imaginative, and fits in perfectly with what we already know about the unfortunate women of the Trojan War. As soon as I finished it, I started back at the beginning again. I am already looking forward to the next time I read it.

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Epic poem

The story of the voiceless women of Troy...more of a epic poem version than a novel...luckily I listened to the book or I would have given up after chapter 1...a Myriad characteristics very difficult name to try and keep straight made this difficult going for me...I much preferred Circe.

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Worthy of much praise and more stars.

I miss these incredible characters already and will read this book again. Something I rarely do.

8 people found this helpful

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Great Book for anyone who likes Greek myths

Amazing read/listen. Author does a great job of orating. The premise of the book is very interesting and I learned a lot about the interconnection between the myths.

Only lost one star in story for me because I personally didn't feel as though it needed so many Calliope chapters and just wanted to get back into the other stories which were so entertaining

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Amazing and forceful

For lovers of Circe and Silence of the Girls, here is another showstopper. This fabric of narratives is beautiful, sad, resolute and enduring. Women are braver and stronger and smarter and more flexible than they ever believe. Intoxicating narration!!

7 people found this helpful

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Transformative and transportive!

It is about time someone gave breath and depth to the the women who stay home when men go to war. And those women who continue to pay the cost of those wars well after it is finished.

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Fun new lens for Greek mythology

Well performed, entertaining new lens for Greek mythology. humor and tragedy. the new look tells the fuller tale

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The Other Half

Tired of hearing the story of great men and heroic battles? Natalie Haynes offers an inventive tale of ancient women woven together from her deep knowledge of Antiquity.

5 people found this helpful