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The Songs of the Kings by Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth retells the Greek myth of Iphigeneia in his latest novel The Songs of the Kings. Set just before the Trojan War, the Greek fleet is stuck at Aulis as unfavorable winds keep the troops grounded. The Mycean king and commander of the army, Agamemnon, knows his troops will rebel if they think that he isn't in the gods' favor. Odysseus manipulates the king and the situation to his benefit and tries to convince Agamemnon that he must sacrifice his daughter, Iphigeneia, to win the gods' favor and let the ships sail. It's a story that's been told many times, but its themes of greed, power struggles, love, and betrayal are universal for any era. The Boston Globe says of this book, "The novel replicates what Greek literature was in the first place: heroic fantasy, historical 'truth,' sharp political commentary, and unwitting anachronisms, all jumbled together in a fascinating muddle of craft and accident."
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New York Times review by Richard Eder

San Francisco Chronicle review by Christine Thomas review by Laura Miller

The Guardian review by Alfred Hickling

New York Times review by Neil Gordon

The Observer review by Stephanie Merritt

Barry Unsworth
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