Tony Horwitz, the judge today is an author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and he will be weighing up between 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller and 'Beautiful Ruins' by Jess Walter.
'The Song of Achilles' author has taken the story of Troy and Patroclus and spun her own take on their relationship and their involvement in the battle of Troy.
'Beautiful Ruins' begins in 1962 on the Italian coast and moves onto Hollywood. An Italian man falls in love with a movie star as she arrives in the Italian town and goes to find her 50 years later.
Both, in some small part are historical romances.
Tony, straight away, couldn't buy into the romance of Achilles and Patroclus but he did feel that she wrote her battles with much more conviction than her love scenes. The battle of Troy was when he really started to enjoy the book. He struggled through the first half and raced through the second half.
He was, however, captivated by 'Beautiful Ruins' from the start. To quote Tony; 'Walter is masterful at interlacing storylines, and he draws characters so indelibly that I was engrossed by all of them'
There was a character introduced at one point that seemed to cause the book to' lose steam midway through' though.
The book was a little too sweet and had a Hollywood ending compared to the 'tragic roots' of 'The Song of Achilles'.
In the end, he says this; 'So this round goes to Beautiful Ruins, one of the best-crafted and most pleasurable novels I’ve read over the past year.'