Regular price: £22.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

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

Critic reviews

"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)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Historical fiction of great quality

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Well written book well read. Very interesting tale.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Yawn.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Petra
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 20-05-17

they f*** you up, your mum and dad

I recently finished Last of the Wine. Both are great stories and the depiction of ancient Greece feels authentic and immersive. The narration in this book is better and so, I believe, is the writing. As a whole, highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Alexander the boring

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.

11 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Sadly, no fire in the story

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not as compelling as the book

Where does Fire From Heaven rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Easily an eight out of ten

What was one of the most memorable moments of Fire From Heaven?

Philip's assassination

What does Roger May bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He has a good reading voice and is well able to handle the narrative professionally

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No I was well aware of the story having read all mary renault's ancient historical novels when I was in my twenties

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 28-01-15

Renewed Pleasure

Any additional comments?

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-04-16

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 :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • kevin St. Clair
  • 09-08-17

Scattered even for a life long Audbile reader

What did you like best about Fire From Heaven? What did you like least?

very little. Hard to track the story. Author tried to hard and forces too much onto the text while neglecting vital parts of which character is speaking or running the beat. If this had come through my class room, I would have giving it a C- at best. Should not have been published in this form, but it did just because of the lack of fiction dealing with Alexander. A shame really that this is the best we can get.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

it was ok.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Unorthodox pronunciations compared to other readers. Unclear who was speaking and very very hard to follow. I am extremely good at following but this was a real challenge.

Could you see Fire From Heaven being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No with this script

Any additional comments?

Does not read well. Hard to know who is saying what or which character has taken the narrative. Sadly poorly written and poorly performed. I think I will likely return it.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • april franklin
  • 24-04-15

Felt like Algebra homework...and I hate Algebra

What would have made Fire From Heaven better?

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

What was most disappointing about Mary Renault’s story?

the disjointed way it's written.

Which character – as performed by Roger May – was your favorite?

none. The dominant character is Alexander and the way he is voiced was weird.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

...

Any additional comments?

As a disclaimer, I like George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Bernard Cornwell, Ken Follett, etc. Maybe I should stick to what I know.

0 of 7 people found this review helpful