nem, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by nem)
Ransom is a lesser-known novel about the Trojan war. It's of just a small amount of time during the fighting, following Priam and Achilles as Priam asks for Hector's body back. The story is beautiful and poetically written. It's a short read as well, but long enough to get you caring about the characters in the novel. Definitely worth the read!!
nem, September 8, 2011 (view all comments by nem)
This is a fabulous book. David Malouf has perfected the art of storytelling, and this is abundantly clear in Ransom, the story of how Achilles and Priam meet because of the death of someone they cared about. I love this brief glimpse of the Trojan war!
bibliofille, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by bibliofille)
A beautiful retelling of King Priam's efforts to ransom the desecrated body of his son Hector from the Greek warrior Achilles. Malouf's lyrical prose humanizes the warrior, the king, and even the god (Hermes) who assists Priam on his journey. Ultimately, the story is a poetic and moving exploration of loss, honor, humility, and familial love. Highly recommended...
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Revisiting scenes from The Iliad and delving into the hearts of two ancient heroes, Malouf (Remembering Babylon) evokes the final days of the Trojan War with cinematic vividness. After Achilles withdraws his forces from combat, a move that cripples the Greek army, his best friend, Patroclus, persuades Achilles to let him take the Myrmidons back into combat and to wear Achilles' armor. After Trojan king Priam's beloved son, Hector, kills Patroclus, guilt, rage and grief drives Achilles on a frenzied quest for revenge that sees him slay Hector and then tie Hector's corpse to his chariot and drag it around the besieged city. Priam, desperate to stop the desecration, decides to visit the enemy camp and offer money in exchange for Hector's body. He hires a humble cart driver and, aided by Hermes, they set out on a journey that takes Priam into the unknown and toward a meeting with Achilles. Though Malouf's sparingly deployed details, vigorous language and sly wit humanizes these tragic heroes, the story is unmistakably epic and certainly the stuff of legend." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Brian Doyle, The Oregonian,
"Malouf may fairly be called Australia's greatest novelist, and the reasons why are all here, in an economical package — the penetration of his mind into hearts and motivations; the limpid, lucid prose; the bracing immediacy of the story, the art of his artlessness. A simple tale, cobbled from a few lines of an ancient text, but Malouf brings Achilles and Priam and the wagon driver to turbulent life: Achilles escaping the prison of his grief and rage, Priam escaping the prison of his regal dignity, Somax the driver itching to get back to the city with some gift for his toddler granddaughter. A remarkable feat." (read the entire Oregonian review)
A tale of suffering, sorrow, and redemption, Ransom is a retelling of one of the most famous stories in all of literature — Achilles's slaughter and desecration of Hector, and Priam's attempt to ransom his son's body in Homer's The Iliad.
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