Alexander's beauty, strength and defiance were apparent from birth, but his boyhood honed those gifts into the makings of a king. His mother, Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for their son's loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance from the cradle.
His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while Aristotle's tutoring provoked his mind and Homer's Iliad fuelled his aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve, he became regent at sixteen and commander of Macedon's cavalry at eighteen, so that by the time his father was murdered, Alexander's skills had grown to match his fiery ambition.
©1969 Mary Renault (P)2014 Audible Studios
"Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty.... a literary conjuring trick.... so convincing and passionately conjured" (The Times)
"The Alexander Trilogy contains some of Renault's finest writing. Lyrical, wise, compelling: the novels are a wonderful imaginative feat" (Sarah Waters)
Living in rural tranquility in France. I read everything except readers' l o n g reviews of books.
Yes. Well written book well read. Very interesting tale.
A fine book that has certainly stood the test of time (written in 1969) as quality writing does. Beautifully crafted with great detail that is not allowed to obstruct the story. The characters of this early age are real and have depth despite the difference in culture and time. I really enjoyed listening to the book and will certainly revisit the author at a layer date.
Some books hook you and make you want to listen more. This book is not one of those.
There seemed to be no real story, no thread to tie the events together. It felt like a mild dramatisation of the events of Alexanders earlier years and seemed content with not connecting the events in any coherent way.
The narrator was satisfactory, but given the way the book was written, he didn't have much of a chance of making a good go at it.
Thought I remembered this from reading as a teenager many years ago. Perhaps not. Story could not grab my attention despite being interested in that history period and also found narration flat and dull.
Easily an eight out of ten
He has a good reading voice and is well able to handle the narrative professionally
No I was well aware of the story having read all mary renault's ancient historical novels when I was in my twenties
It's a very good book that doesn't translate quite as well to the spoken word but the story, whilst compelling, makes a valiant attempt to fill all the gaps in our knowledge of Alexander's early life with credible possibilities. It is a little over romanticised but not so much that it detracts from the overall history. I suppose that because one has to keep reminding oneself that we know nothing of Alexander from anyone who wrote about him during his lifetime, that most of what we DO know is from histories written hundreds of years after his death. Mary Renault has made a creditable story from what she knew of his life that humanises him when history tends to lionise him. Actually I have read recently that modern psychological theory might suggest that he was a bit of a Mummy's boy! The Persian Boy is likely to over romanticise Alexander even more. It's the second book in the trilogy and is written from the point of view of a slave of Alexander's called Bagoas who did exist but I am not at all sure that there is any evidence he was a lover of Alexander's. Historically, however, the second book has more history to draw upon and therefore contains more accuracies.
In Fire from Heaven the author, Mary Renault, traces the life of Alexander the Great from childhood, age 4, to early adulthood and stops with the assassination of his father Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC. The novelists contrasts the natural virtues of Alexander against a backdrop of the conspiracies of Macedonian royal court and the flaws of both parents, and the historical facts of Philip’s II achievement of uniting the Greek city states in preparation of war against the Persian Empire. The characters are filled with understandable human feelings and passions mixed with the myths and belief systems of ancient Greece as well as the learning and philosophy of the time. All this is done in an entertaining fashion with the plots and pitfalls Alexander must navigate to reach adulthood. The sensuality of the characters is understated by current standards but clear in its intent to allow ones imagination to fill in the blanks. The speaker of the audio, Roger May, does an excellent job creating different voices for the various characters including an Athenian conspirator with a lisp. He is equally believable whether speaking as a youth or an old man. This book has not lost the appeal it had when I first read it 40 years ago. To be able to listen to it now, with Mr. May’s vocal flourishes, is a renewed pleasure.
"Compelling story, but confusing scene transition."
Loved the story & character development; excellent period piece. However, abrupt transition between scenes makes for confusing casual listening. Didn't read the books though, so may be a criticism on narration spacing. Nonetheless, will buy part 2 & 3 audiobooks :)
"Felt like Algebra homework...and I hate Algebra"
A better story. This book never really becomes a story and I had a very difficult time feeling engaged or entertained. The characters have no depth. no real presence. The secondary cast has no substance at all. There are no difficulties, no challenges, no upset, no scares, no peril, no risks. It's more like a narrative. Olympias is portrayed as a whiny, manipulative child and it's annoying. The author seems to forget important details, leaving me feeling like I walked in on a conversation at the midway point having no idea of the who/what/when/where/why. I see the potential for a great read but it fell tragically short. I was hoping for something of Game of Thrones or The Winter King caliber and I was sorely disappointed. After 10.5 hours, I still have no idea what the plot is (except that Alexander grows up to be a great warrior) and I just couldn't do it anymore
the disjointed way it's written.
none. The dominant character is Alexander and the way he is voiced was weird.
As a disclaimer, I like George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Bernard Cornwell, Ken Follett, etc. Maybe I should stick to what I know.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.