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The Falcon of Sparta

Narrated by: Michael Fox
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (304 ratings)
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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden. 

In the Ancient World, one army was feared above all others. This is their story. 

When Cyrus, brother to the Great King of Persia, attempts to overthrow his reckless sibling, he employs a Greek mercenary army of 10,000 soldiers. When this army becomes stranded as a result of the unexpected death of Cyrus and then witnesses the treacherous murder of its entire officer corps, despair overtakes them. 

One man, Xenophon, rallies the Greeks. As he attempts to lead them to freedom across 1,500 miles of hostile territory seething with adversaries, 10,000 men set off on the long way home. 

©2018 Conn Iggulden (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Conn's Falcon Has Him Flying High Again!

I was starting to think that I wasn't quite so in thrall to Mr Iggulden after my two previous attempts at his books. Dunstan was a strong but slightly less spectacular historical novel while Darien from the Empire of Salt trilogy wasn't something I thought would set the fantasy genre alight no matter how brave he'd been to try something so new.

The Falcon of Sparta though sees Iggulden doing what I think he does best. Taking an historical tale of already epic proportions and bringing it to life for us. Giving us heroes, epic battles and a grand, impossible journey engineered by a quite unlikely champion of Greece! The sheer scale of what they attempted given the terrain and distance they needed to cross is one of the truly great stories of the Ancient Greeks.

The structure of the book is a little different with the narrative being carried by almost a relay team of lead characters. Michael Fox is the man charged with putting the breath into Persians and Greeks alike. He does a very sound job and is engaging throughout though I wouldn't say his performance is quite of the very top standard. He's certainly much better than some of the choices Conn or his publisher have made in the past - check out the Emperor series for the proof.

If you've enjoyed some of Iggulden's earlier historical fiction and want some more then this is a very worthwhile purchase.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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This is a magnificent telling of this story.<br />

This is a fantastic story of human spirit and courage and one of Greece's greatest citizens. Xenophon is an enigmatic figure from Ancient Greece; and this story tells of his greatest avhiehement.
Ten thousand Greek soldiers must attempt to fight their way across Persia to their homes. Along with ten thousand civilians... their lives look lost.
Conn Iggulden is one of the greatest historical fiction writers to ever pick up a pen (or laptop) and his books continue to both educate and entertain.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Convoluted and Deflating; but Romping

Despite telling the story of the 10,000 that walked out of Persia the story, although competently narrated by Michael Fox, suffers from being a book of two halves.

The first part focuses on the Persian Prince Cyrus as he attempts to seize the throne of the Persian Empire. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of this history knows his fate is doomed, as is that of his Greek generals. Despite growing to like the characters and their strengths and flaws they are taken from us as good friends we knew were dying.

The Persian firstborn wins, the characters we have followed for 7 hours come to nothing and are betrayed. The Greeks have to fight their way home.

The second half focuses on Xenophon as he leads his people out of the empire despite the odds of being 10,000 against half a million.

But the ending isn’t just bitter sweet but deflating, to have come so far and lost so many to lose that little bit more and have them all go their separate ways may be historically accurate, but puts a downer on what should be a monumental achievement. The adventure along the way is forgotten without a satisfying payoff.

I am a big fan of Iggulden and his previous historical fiction and new Darien series. But this felt to me a rare misstep.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Conn Iggulden, master story teller.

A marvellous tale, extremely well told and narrated. Conn Iggiulden never disappoints. wonderful battle scenes.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Conn Iggulden, a brillint story teller

I have read and listened to a number Conn's brilliant historical stories and he is one of the best. So I was really looking forward to the Falcon of Sparta. I am nearly through it but have been really disapointed by the narrators awful delivery, to such an extent I keep turning it off in total irritation. I recommend you listen to a sample before buying what is a great book, spoilt by the narration.

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The Falcon of Sparta

Oration was woeful, dull, no inflection in the voice.
Could have been reading a shopping list.

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Very poor Conn work not normal standard

main characters change several times. feels like it never gets going. Poor effort. Other work by this author is perhaps too good!

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Far from his best

I’m quite a fan of Iggulden. However, this one is weak compared with his other output. I find it annoying to invest in principal characters that change, and move about. Plot line ultimately goes nowhere. The narrator performance is average seeming like it was the first time he was reading the story. Characterisation was weak and often it was difficult to know who was saying what during conversations. All of this is unusual in other Iggulden books.. disappointing.

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Decent ending, shame about the rest.

The most disappointing of Igguilden’s novels. I couldn’t get into the story until about two thirds of it. I almost returned it when the main character was killed. Narrator very good even if his Greek pronunciation was often dodgy. I wouldn’t recommend this book.

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OK. Ish.

I really like Conn Iggulden, specifically the "wars of the roses" quadrology which is excellent and is why I downloaded this, thinking it would be equally as good. The story doesn't seem to conjour up vivid images of Sparta like WoTR managed of the English civil war. I may be a little harsh however, I have over 100 audio books, all finished, but this is let down by a 'top 2' worst performance of a narrator. M. Fox is at best average but mostly manages a woeful, dull, mono-sylballic job. I needed Sparta like endurance to withstand his drone.

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  • peter
  • 27-10-18

An excellent retelling

Very enjoyable despite the somewhat apathetic tone of the narration. This author - except for the Rome series - is one of the best historical novelists of any period. Recommended.

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  • joff
  • 17-05-18

An Interesting historical fiction story

The story was very well told with characters which you become to care about. I didn't know much about this part of history but it is an interesting slice of history which I have found myself researching more on. I'm a massive fan of Conn Iggulden's writing and am happy to say this book doesn't disappoint.

I haven't listened to Michael Fox's narrations before I feel that he did a good job with narrating this book. Towards the end he started to really win me over. I think he is still quite new to narrating and will in time become an excellent narrator. For this performance I will give him a 4 star performance but I don't let that discourage you from listening to it. I would definitely listen to him read another book.

At the end of Conn Iggulden's books there is usually a note from him explaining where he made changes to history to help with character arcs and moving the plot on (I love reading this section). I was very disappointed to find there wasn't one for this audio-book.