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Stealing Fire Paperback – 25 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (25 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316076392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316076395
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Alexander the Great's soldier, Lydias of Miletus, has survived the final campaigns of the king's life. He now has to deal with the chaos surrounding his death. Lydias throws his lot in with Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals who has grabbed Egypt a

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Arnold on 21 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
There are many fine books dealing with Alexander the Great's conquests and early death. There are many fine books dealing with Cleopatra and the final Roman conquest of Egypt/end of the Ptolomies. These include Jo Graham's own wonderful 'Hand of Isis'. There are far fewer that cover the equally fascinating start of Ptolomaic Egypt and the aftermath of Alexander's death and the fragmentation of his empire and fewer still who do it so well.

Looking for good human drama? You have the rise of a slave boy to one of Alexander's Companion Cavalry, who finds love and loss with with both genders and has to find reasons to start again after terrible losses. You have a devoted brother who has to salvage a nation as well as find his patrimony. A woman who can only keep her freedom by operating in a system which denies her much and threatens her daughter.

Looking for the sweep of history? We go from the Greek cities of Asia Minor through the epic battles and terrible marches. Most importantly we see the start, literally from the ground up of the multi-cultural city of Alexandria - a city built as much by the women of so many nations of the baggage train as the men of Macedonia, Persia, India...

Looking for a rattling good yarn? It don't get much bigger than stealing the body of the conqueror, carving out a stable kingdom from chaos with battles that not only include elephants but also crocodiles.

Fascinated by the gods and myths of the period? They live, walk and ask the characters to do their duty and make the choices to save their nation from the unleashed chaos?

Want a book that reads like a great standalone of your favourite show? The characters live in a reincarnation universe.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Rose on 3 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the third book by Jo Graham and is as excellent as 'Black Ships" and "Hand of Isis". I finished reading it last night and now feel both sad and elated. What a wonderful writer she is, able to transport the reader into a world of heros we know about and those she creates. The fact that the gods sometimes speak and are involved with the characters may seem strange but, as in the other books, it works and actually enhances the narrative.
The world of Alexander the Great was a passionate and violent one and Miss Graham conveys the essence of this in a laudable way. The book deals with the chaotic aftermath of Alexanders death, the struggle both mental and physical that it caused in his friends and the eventual acceptance of destiny.
Ptolemy inherits Egypt and reluctantly accepts the crown of Pharaoh, thus founding the dynasty that gave Cleopatra to the world. The melding of two empires,one in upheaval and conflict after Alexanders death and one now in the last phase of its incredible history gives the reader a vision of a world lost, one that Miss Graham brings to life in a haunting and exceptional way.
The content is both mystical and fact, the characters come to life and you feel their emotional journey as your own,the loneliness of Lydias, the love and ache of Bagoas and the strength of Ptolemy. Read this book and you will travel with them, it will stay with you and echo in your own life, you will want more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Small but Exquisite Treat 19 May 2010
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ever had a meal that was absolutely exquisite, but the portion was so small that your stomach was still rumbling afterward? My experience with Stealing Fire was much like that.

Jo Graham's Numinous World series is best described as "historical fantasy" and revolves around a core group of characters who are reincarnated at various points in history. The protagonist of Stealing Fire, Lydias of Miletus, lived previously as Gull in Black Ships, and will later live as Charmian in Hand of Isis.

Alexander the Great has died, and his empire has fallen into chaos as his nobles fight amongst themselves for power. Lydias, a soldier who feels emotionally adrift after losing everyone he loved, chooses to accompany Ptolemy to Egypt. Trouble follows Lydias, both in the form of political/military danger from Alexander's other generals and in the form of restless spirits. Alexander had been crowned as Pharaoh, and the spirits of Egypt will only be appeased when Alexander is given the proper funeral rites and a new Pharaoh enthroned. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Alexander's body lies in the hands of Ptolemy's enemy, and besides, Ptolemy doesn't want to be king, wishing only to hold the throne in the name of Alexander's infant son.

Interspersed with this plotline, told in flashbacks, is the story of how Lydias rose from slavery to his current position. The scenes narrating Lydias' adolescence are some of the most moving in the novel. You can't help but love this gutsy, idealistic young man.

Graham's work is, as always, meticulously researched and beautifully written. She immerses the reader in the place and time: the often-foreign-to-us attitudes, the smell of the food, and most of all, the sense of upheaval. We have the benefit of hindsight and know how things turned out, but Graham shows us just how uncertain the situation was at the time. It must have felt like the end of the world.

Stealing Fire is a compelling yarn, a love letter to Egypt, and a meditation on how best to govern a diverse realm. (And how *not* to govern one.) Graham's political background shines through as the characters discuss what makes a great leader. Her gift for humor is in evidence, too:

"He looked at me and his eyes twinkled. 'Besides, is politics so different than dealing with horses?'

I laughed. 'I suppose not,' I said. 'Only we cannot geld for bad temper!'

'I'm considering it,' Ptolemy said."

Yet, as I said above, I was left hungry for more. As in Hand of Isis, I felt there was a lot of story that hadn't made it into the book. In Hand of Isis, I craved more scenes of Iras; in Stealing Fire, what seemed too brief were the relationships and the fantasy elements. Lydias has several partners over the course of the book, and some of these relationships could have benefited from more page time. As for the fantasy elements, we only get a few scenes showing the destruction wrought by the restless spirits. For various reasons, it takes several years for Lydias and Ptolemy to implement their solution, yet we don't get a sense of mounting danger as time passes (from the spirits, anyway; there's plenty from Ptolemy's rivals). True, Lydias spends much of this time away on campaign, but a few more scenes before his departure and after his return might have made his mission seem more pressing.

In fantasy, there are lots of great short-story ideas that get stretched into long novels, great novel ideas that become bloated trilogies, and great trilogy ideas that become long, plodding series. With that in mind, maybe I shouldn't complain that Stealing Fire feels like an 800-page book compressed into 300 pages. After all, Jo Graham left me wanting more, and there's something to be said for that. I'd gladly read the 800-page version, though!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent historical fantasy. 18 Aug. 2010
By Holly Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read & loved most everything Judith Tarr has written, Jo Graham is my new favorite historical fantasy writer. _Stealing Fire_ is beautifully detailed and well-researched, set in the years after the death of Alexander the Great and the founding of his city, Alexandria. Filled with lovely moments that lift the hairs on the back of your neck alongside fast action, suspense and battle scenes. Flashbacks to develop the back story during Alexander's campaign are handled well and the characters are memorable: decent people working at the side of great ones, caught up in massive events. A terrific, satisfying read. Looking forward to more in the "Numinous World" series which also links _The Black Ships_ and _Hand of Isis_ in their reincarnated main characters
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Solid historical fiction 16 Oct. 2010
By Hank Quense - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This historical fiction novel deals with the events after the death of Alexander the Great. Upon his death Alexander's empire fell apart as the generals grabbed pieces of it to rule. The story is told through the eyes of Lydias. Once a slave, he runs away while still young and joins Alexander's army as a groom for cavalry horses. Over time, he rises to be a soldier, joins the Companions and ends up as a cavalry commander. After Alexander's death, Lydias throws his lot in with Ptolemy who seized Egypt. As Ptolemy's chief advisor and general, the two struggle to establish a government for Egypt and to build Alexandria.
This is an entertaining and well-written novel. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction won't be disappointed in this story.

Tales From Gundarland: Eight humorous stories from the land of the incongruous
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
great ancient historical fantasy 30 May 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Macedonian world conqueror is dead and his strongest supporters struggle with what to do in the aftermath as Alexander the Great was a man of epic proportions. Lydias of Macedon was with Alexander as he defeated all opponents, but he learns quickly that nothing will be the same as he leaves behind his ruler's corpse fleeing for his life.

Lydias joins the side of one of Alexander's top officers, General Ptolemy, who heads to Egypt to take control of the African nation. In country, Lydias meets other expatriates who pledge loyalty to Ptolemy. However, the Macedonian is shocked from those who come from beyond as the dead and the gods abet the general and his supporters in bringing Alexander's corpse and spirit to Egypt as his final resting place. However the biggest stunner for the honest Lydias is what Isis bestows on him.

This is a great ancient historical fantasy that brings to life the era just after Alexander's sudden death within a strong Egyptian mythos. Diogenes would have ended his search if he met Lydias who with a strong support cast serves as the center of the story line even as the real General Ptolemy begins a dynasty in Egypt. Stealing Fire is a terrific BC Egyptian thriller.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Exciting post-Alexander historical fantasy 24 Nov. 2012
By Anne M. Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
4 1/2 stars

This is the third book in Graham's "Numinous World" series of
historical fantasies. The first one, "Black Ships" is a retelling of
the Aeneid, the founding of Rome by Greeks during the collapse of the
Bronze Age (~1200 BC), with an oracle named Gull telling the story.
The second one tells the story of Cleopatra (~50 BC) from the point of
view of her sister, Charmian. And this one is set just after the
death in 323 BC of Alexander the Great, by one of his soldiers,
Lydias, who ends up in Egypt with Ptolemy. Each of these characters
is 'god-touched', and they're all connected through time.

I'm not normally very patient with battle scenes, but these were
perfect, and very exciting. The amazingly different kinds of love in the
book were believable and moving. In each of these books Egypt really
comes alive. While a little slow to get moving, "Stealing Fire" was
ultimately an easy and engrossing read. While there are connections
between the books, I believe it would easily stand alone.

In the back material Graham mentions that she has 20 or more books
in her head in this series -- let's have more of them, please!
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