It's the third novel in his Tyrant series, and the one in which the story is handed over to the next generation, a pair of twins born to the protagonists of the first two novels. It begins with betrayal, death, and a desperate flight from determined assassins, during which the twelve-year-old twins, a boy and girl who share an unusual upbringing, must grow up very quickly indeed.
After a three-year gap the story resumes with most of the survivors of the first half established in Alexandria. Soon their enemies are breathing down their necks again, and their struggle for survival intensifies. Their effort to stay alive long enough to start planning to retake their lost Black Sea kingdom entangles their fate with King Ptolemy's struggles against his own enemies. Soon the twins are off to war, to take part in a crucial battle whose outcome will go far to decide how the Greek successor states take shape.
Cameron's narrative has all the elements you'd want in an adventure story.
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Every detail has solid historical testimony to support it. Every long-simmering faction exploded into the vacuum of power.
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Wives, distant relatives, and generals all vied for the loyalty of the increasingly undisciplined Macedonian army. Most failed and were killed in the attempt.
For no one possessed the leadership to keep the great empire from crumbling. Mary Renault was born in London and educated at Oxford. She then trained for three years as a nurse, and wrote her first published novel, Promise of Love.
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Her next three novels were written while serving in WWII. After the war, she settled in South Africa and traveled considerably in Africa and Greece. She died in Cape Town in The Alexander Trilogy stands as one of the most important works of fiction in the 20th century. Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty.
It's a literary conjuring trick like all historical fiction - it can only ever be an approximation of the truth. But in Renault's hands, the trick is so convincing and passionately conjured.
Funeral Games in Honour of Patroclus.
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