Achilles: The Fire of Destiny by Silvio J. Caputo

January 15, 2019

By Olivia Roberts

I must admit that the concept of Greek Mythology was not really something on my radar. I’ve heard of it, and I knew some basic stories about it but that’s pretty much it. I thought I wouldn’t like it but boy was I wrong. I actually found it to be fascinating.

The Fire of Destiny tells Achilles' story from his scarring and devastating birth at Phthia, to his vengeful war inimical to Troy. It narrates the narrates the story of the women who became his muses forming his character and creating his destiny. Achilles, the great Greek mythological warrior, comes to life as a man in Silvio Caputo's "Achilles: In the Fire of Destiny." Honestly, I know very little about Greek mythology, but from the starting point of this book, it already drew me in. Caputo has devised a credible character in Achilles, one compassionate yet also courageous and stout-hearted. The story is divulged mainly through dialogue that is pragmatic and riveting. You know from the start that this is going to be am tragic story, but Caputo engulfs you so tightly in Achilles' life that you don’t want to stop reading.

I really found this book refreshing, giving light to Achilles as a man, with his loves and losses. Caputo's book with Greek myth into the life story of Achilles. This book kept me engrossed, hoping for a different fate for Achilles, the man. This book’s very clever characterization of Achilles is both compelling and solitary. From the Iliad, Homer offers very little in terms of our hero's past and motivation. However, Caputo has done an ample amount research from other ancient sources in order to create a new face of Achilles for the modern readers. Bring in to light, the resilience of Achilles as you read about his love for Deidamia and Briseis and go through his final annihilation under the eyes of a Trojan beauty. The best part is, there is also a complete list of the Achaeans (Greeks), Trojans, Asians, Places and Gods. This list describes the relationships between the characters as well as the proper pronunciation for those of us who have always pondered how to say their names.

To say I enjoyed the book seems like that doesn’t really give it the gravitas that it deserves. The book is very well-written. I’m really glad I read this book. I found it insightful and interesting. I definitely understand why it has gotten the commendation it has gotten. I will for sure advocate it to people who are looking for something complex and interesting to read. I will definitely recommend it to my more thoughtful reading friends, especially those who appreciate how stories can be heart-breaking but also very rewarding and worthwhile. 

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