An Arrows Flight by Mark Merlis

Greek myth has never been so fun for me. An Arrows Flight tells the story of Neoptolemus, or Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles. It’s not the story you think though. This book throws Pyrrhus and his peers into modern times. He is a gay man who lives in the city with a roommate, waits tables at a failing restaurant, and struggles to make ends meet. Pyrrhus then becomes a dancer at the hottest gay bar around until Odysseus comes to recruit him to the Trojan War. The combination of ancient happenings with modern tools/people/communication really pulls you in.

Now this book is first and foremost about the fact that Pyrrhus, the son of the manliest man to ever grace the earth, is gay. Merlis is an advocate for gay rights and really shows it in his writing. The book is also pretty erotic. Much more so than I was expecting, but honestly that made it a better read. Merlis did a great job at character development for Pyrrhus throughout the book. Pyrrhus starts as a super-spoiled prince of an island who has not a care in the world. When he moves to the city, his ego is even more inflated because he’s the best looking man anyone has ever come in contact with. But when Odysseus shows up and takes him aboard his ship, his world is turned upside-down. Pyrrhus also must try and get Philoctetes on board the ship in order to fulfill a prophecy about the Trojan War and ends up falling for him and we really see him grow as a character.

Only one thing kind of bummed me out about this book. They focused a lot on who being gay was a taboo in Greece, and how weird it was for Achilles to have a gay son when he was a brute athlete and the manliest of the Greeks. However, it’s speculated that Achilles had a lover in Patroclus during the Trojan War and we never touched upon the subject in this book. Wouldn’t it have been quite a twist for Pyrrhus to find out that his manly father was queer like him? That he so loved Patroclus that when Patroclus died, Achilles flew into a rage and killed a bunch of people? I just feel like it was a big part of the myth of Achilles that was left out of a story that had to do with gay men.

The book was really good and I would recommend it to others. It sucks you in with the erotica, but it keeps you reading with the story and the decisions Pyrrhus must make.

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