Patroclus is not sure where he got the two pairs of shiny dice. He knew the gift was not from his father the King nor his simpleton mother. He does remember feeling special for having them and very protective of their use.
While tossing them against a tree in the field, Clysonymus, the son of a nobleman, came lumbering by on the rocky path. He stood over Patroclus wanting to know what he was doing. Patroclus did not like the large, fleshy loud mouth of a boy and did not answer him. A couple years older, he was known to tease Patroclus in front of others by calling him stupid like his mom.
Patroclus gathered the cubes and placed them behind his back but it was too late. Clysonymus had caught a glimpse of sparkle in the sun and wanted to get a closer look.
“Let me see them.”
“No.” Patroclus did not want the grubby boy’s hands on them. He was the son of the king. It was in his right to keep things that he owned for himself. Clysonymus, even though a son of a noble, had no trouble pushing him around. Everyone knew the King would not intervene.
Clysonymus reached for them but Patroclus stepped back. This was seen as a cowardly move and Clysonymus advanced even further feeling superior. The hotness rushed into Patroclus and in one split second he shoved him as hard as his small body could. Clysonymus fell to the ground with a terrible thud. Behind his head blood spread on the rocks.
Later that day, Patroclus was found sleeping under a gnarled olive tree surrounded by his own vomit. The family of Clysonymus, an only son, demanded exile or death. It was this day his father disowned him and he was sent away, never to return to the small Greece kingdom.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller won the prestigious Orange prize last year for fiction. She has a masters from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek and “studied at the Yale School of Drama, specializing in adapting classical tales for a modern audience.”
I think author, Donna Tartt, says it best in her review, “Captivating…carries the true savagery and chill of antiquity.”