This story begins with Achilles mourning the death of Patroclus during the Trojan War. Achilles, enraged at his friend's death, slays Hector, Patroclus' killer, and drags Hector's corpse behind a chariot around the walls of Troy. Achilles drags Hector's corpse behind his chariot around Patroclus' funeral pyre each morning for the following ten days, much to the dismay of the Trojans and his own men. The narrative shifts between Achilles and Priam, Hector's father, and the King of Troy. Priam cannot stand the abuse of his beloved son's body. Priam and Achilles loss are juxtaposed throughout the novel. Priam decides that he will approach Achilles without his royal decorations, mortal to mortal, and attempt to ransom Hector's body back with treasure. Priam then explains his plan to his family and advisers, who meet it with resistance. After acquiring a common cart driver from the market square Priam and his driver set out for the Greek camp.