By Barry Unsworth, Winner of the Booker Prize
The novel is seen as a modern take on the Greek legend. Writing in The New York Review of Books, Hilary Mantel says about the book on one level it is quite clearly, directly related to the present world situation: to wars and rumors of wars, religious intolerance, the power of the storyteller to distort, lose, bury the message.. In The Guardian, Alfred Hickling says that Unsworth has recognized the essential modernity of the various retellings of this story and, comparing the impatience of Agamemnon to wage war to the American war in Iraq, says that the novel effortlessly proves that modern life is the stuff of ancient myth. We may no longer make human sacrifices, but we create plenty of media scapegoats. Unsworth’s Iphigenia does not die to absolve her nation. She dies to save their spin.