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The Philosopher Prince Paperback – Unabridged, 2 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (2 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230746128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230746121
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'a triumphant return... gripping and multi-faceted story which combines thrilling military manoeuvring with a subtle meditation on the conflicting values of humanism and faith... Waters is a brilliant creator of character... Another captivating story from a novelist who has the power to make his reader think.' --The Lancashire Evening Post

'Following on from his Cast Not the Day, Paul Waters' The Philosopher Prince continues the adventures of English Drusus and his Roman lover Marcellus as they traverse Gaul. Waters (in the tradition of Mary Renault) is a writer who has both narrative and intellectual gifts that enable him to both tell a story and rescue history from the pernicious church.' --Biege

About the Author

Paul Waters is a well-travelled classicist; though educated in Britain, he has lived much of his life abroad, including in Africa, America and Greece. His first novel, Of Merchants & Heroes, was published in 2008, followed by Cast Not the Day in 2009.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. J. Miller on 3 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
The Philosopher Prince held me in its thrall just as did his first two novels. There is real depth here. The plot is gripping and fast moving. The characterisation has power and psychological depth: its stark contrasts between the ruthless and unprincipled seekers of political power and the quietly courageous, morally robust protagonists who are champions of the cause of right beg comparison with many of the familiar and very up-to-date oppositions between those who are honest and those who are flawed politicians. But the jewel in the crown is always Paul Waters' style, so terse, so elegant, so compellingly descriptive that it brings alive the world of ancient Roman Britain in a way that few other novelists have managed. However, don't read it until you have read his previous novel, Cast Not the Day, of which The Philosopher Prince is the sequel - or you'll miss half the enjoyment!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Justin Reynolds on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
Another excellent reimagining of the world of late antiquity by Paul Waters. As some of the other reviewers have said it makes sense to read 'Cast Not The Day' first, as 'The Philosopher Prince' follows on immediately from that.

As in his previous books Paul Waters paints a thoroughly convincing portrait of the ancient world due in large part, I think, to his remarkable attention to detail. When Waters describes the streets of ancient London, a military outpost by the Danube or a ruined Roman temple one has a strong sense of what such places must really have been like.

The prevailing atmosphere of this and the other books is melancholic, a sense that the hard won achievements of Roman-Greek civilisation are giving way to a dark age of religious fundamentalism. In this sense the book reminds me of Alan Massie's outstanding series of Roman novels and Margaret Yourcenar's 'Memoirs of Hadrian'.

As with 'Cast Not The Day' I do feel that the contrast between Romano-Greek civilisation and Christian superstition was drawn too sharply. It is refreshing to read a novel that recognises the essential civility of much of the Roman world, and not just the brutal aspects for which we have such a horrified fascination (gladiators etc). And the strident censorial faith of many early (and contemporary) Christians cannot be denied. But Christianity prospered in the ancient world not just because of its adoption by Constantine and subsequent repression of 'pagan' beliefs. It appealed to so many because of its emphasis on the essential dignity of all, and its best thinkers had respect for (and mined extensively) the finest thought of the ancient world. David Bentley Hart's (admittedly clumsily named) 'Atheist Delusions' is a fascinating counter to the essentially binary character of Waters' theme.

That said, I highly recommend this fine novel and look forward very much to the next in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. T. Davies VINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...from the author's previous novel, Cast Not the Day. It's helpful to have read this novel first bit I think the Philosopher Prince can be enjoyed on its own without too much being lost.

Once again an excellent recreation of the ancient world which has many parallels with our own more modern one - civilisation going to hell in a handcart, corrupt officials everywhere, and a few decent people trying to do the right thing and hold back the darkness.

In this novel we also get the beginning of the story of Julian's rise to the purple, as well as the continuation of Marcellus and Drusus' own story, and I personally found that this slowed the pace a little, with the narrator being more of an onlooker than in the previous book. Hence the four stars rather than five.

Other than this minor gripe, another wonderful novel and I'm looking forward to the next in the sequence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dave_In_Asia on 6 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I feel that giving it 4 stars is a bit unjust, let me explain myself.

This book undoubtedly deserves 5 stars. It is a pleasure to follow the main character through his early years, and to see him mature into an adult. also one can never knock the period in which it is set, Mr. Waters drops up right in the thick of post occupied Roman Britain, and the beginnings of the deterioration of Rome itself.

However, I read this book after reading his two previous efforts. This novel seems to follow the same formula - young boy born into rich recently impoverished family etc, however he turns out to be a 'good guy' who everyone confides their trust and support in. This is not a formula to easily get bored with, but because of this comparison with the story lines in his previous books I had to knock a star off for lack of originality.

Can't wait for your next work Mr Waters!
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