Unspoken but emphatic is Barker’s grim message to our own times: little has changed. Women victims of war still silently do what they must in order to survive ... It’s a fascinating enterprise ... Barker brings to her interpretation of the distant past an exceptional ability to persuade us that we’re reading about people who wouldn’t feel out of place in her earlier books, set in times far closer to our own ... formidably precise and detailed research and the strength of her prose ... While the novel presently feels as awkwardly incomplete as The Eye in the Door did before she finished that trilogy with her award-winning The Ghost Road, there are lines and scenes in The Women of Troy that suggest Pat Barker is in the process of writing the Greek trilogy by which she always intended to crown a remarkable career.
A richly rewarding sequel, The Women of Troy offers a further bold and necessary reinterpretation of an ancient tale while at the same time chronicling the next dramatic chapter in Briseis' untold story ... The narrative is at its most absorbing when Briseis is on the page and observing the scheming and infighting among the Greek men and the resilience and bravery of the Trojan women. She is a wonderful creation. With luck, Barker is already planning her next move.
In this sequel...Barker has stepped free of the masculinist epic tradition ... This is a story not of conflict but of its aftermath. It is grim ... Barker’s language in this new book is plain, crude and modern ... Blunt and brutal, this kind of language fits with the intent, shared by Barker and her spokesperson, Briseis, to tell truths about violence and slavery without the prettiness of costume drama or the mollifying varnish of a literary high style ... Clearly and simply told, with no obscurities of vocabulary or allusion, this novel reads sometimes like a retelling for children of the legend of Troy, but its conclusions are for adults – merciless, stripped of consoling beauty, impressively bleak.