Malouf, the consummate storyteller uses elements of the great Greek classic fable of the Trojan war in this wonderful book Ransom. In plain and measured words he presents to us the characters of the suffering King Priam, his small fierce wife, Achilles the raving enemy warrior, and in contrast Somax, the lowly carpenter. Of necessity the story is sometimes bloodthirsty – there are graphic images of the dishonouring of Hector’s corpse, but at other times we are touched by the expressions of simple human dignity. Throughout we are aware of important themes of of kingship, tragedy, pride and honour, even fatherhood – and always the hand of fate “the power of the gods” is at work. This is an unforgettable tale.