330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.
His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander’s boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia’s throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.
Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…
Alexander deemed himself a god, the mythic descendant of Achilles and the son of Zeus, and entire nations fell to their knees in ecstatic worship of him. But he was no god any more than we were nymphs and dryads, benevolent four-hoofed centaurs or vengeful three-headed chimeras.
He called himself Alexander the Great and claimed that he conquered the world. But he would have been lucky to conquer a stinking midden heap populated by swarms of biting flies had it not been for our cunning and daring.
Alexander founded cities of culture and learning, and named them after himself in a fit of hubris. But he razed more cities than there are stars in the sky, slaughtered their men, and burned their ancient palaces so that the four winds carried the gray ashes to rain down upon lands more distant than Alexandria-the-Farthest.
He claimed that the earth trembled, mountains quivered, and oceans overflowed their shores at his approach, but without us, Alexander would never have mounted a single golden throne or worn the coveted eagle diadem of Persia, much less the combined crowns of Greece, Egypt, and India.
Like Achilles, he sought glory and everlasting fame, and beseeched the gods that his name would echo throughout history. Yet so many of his baser deeds have been forgotten, or retold to forge him into a hero worthy of epic ballads.
But that is only part of the story.
It was because of him, and for him, that we did great, and also terrible, things.
Just as Zeus sat in his throne room atop Olympus, surrounded by the gods of violence and light, the goddesses of desire and the hearth, so too was Alexander surrounded by us.
We were murderers and poisoners, innocents and warriors. And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.
Instead, he was a god.
Stephanie Thornton is one of my favorite authors. Her skilled writing, extensive research and choice in historical figures along with an exciting and adventurous narrative never disappoints. With each new novel she rises and impresses. Her novels if anything, educational.
Alexander the Great is an admired figurehead from history, needless to say I was more than excited to read this book. Thornton weaved an intriguing plot around this fierce icon. She masterfully demonstrated his rise and fall, his mercurial and tender side and his blustery temper as well as his profound loss of Hephaestion. We are privy to the many facets of Alexander, her portrayal was appreciated, especially if you are familiar with this legend through non-fiction.
One of Thornton’s standout features is her strong portrayal of women in her novels. Her female protagonists always possess strength, intellect and determination, no shrinking violets in her novels. Beside every great man is a great woman as this talented authoress always demonstrates.
Thessalonike, Drypetis and Roxana are women playing major roles in Alexander’s life either directly or indirectly. Women similar and dissimilar, however their motives and roles vary – their strength, independent, intellect and determination undeniable. Even the character of Olympias is a force to reckon with. These women and others with their stellar qualities and admirable flaws add a level of prolonged excitement and action to an already powerful narrative. These beautiful creatures will have you loathing, loving, pitying and admiring them throughout the narrative.
The narrative is full of excitement, intrigue, passion and of course political and power struggles. Between passion on and off the battlefield you will be more than entertained as loyalty, love, betrayal, murder, loss and so much more will captivate and increase your reading journey.
Thornton’s incredible writing mixed with a ingenious plot creates the perfect storm for historical fiction. Her fully developed characterizations, historical backdrop and references will propel her to your favorite author list. Historical fiction fans will not want to miss this book as well as past and future works from Stephanie Thornton. Historical fiction at its very best.
About Stephanie Thornton
Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
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