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on 5 August 2013
I have always said, to anyone who cared to know, that one of the first books to pique my interest in Ancient Greece was The King Must Die by Mary Renault. That fact made it easy for me to decide to read The Last Hero by Hilary Green given the comparison to Mary Renault's work. The main story line here is about Alkmaion the great grandson of Nestor, famed warrior and counselor to Agamemnon during the siege at Troy and King of Pylos. Alkmaion is the heir to the throne at a time during a mass migration of peoples in the North that has a ripple like effect throughout western Asia and eastern Europe. It is also a time when bronze was being replaced with iron. These two currents have disastrous results for Pylos when the iron wielding Dorians come a calling.

The author has taken this story to the level of Greek tragedy as time and time again Alkmaion is faced with decisions and situations that have ironic repercussions whether they are personal or more widespread. An example without trying to give away too much, is when Alkmaion almost kills his best friend and former lover when they are both trying to save the same damsel in distress.

The author also uses the religious aspect of that period to great effect. The Great Goddess and her Mysteries play an important part in the lives of many of the characters. The devotion and fear of Her followers is a prime example of how well defined and intriguing the characters are. Invoking feelings of sympathy, sadness and at times great happiness the author has the reader involved in the lives of her creations. The descriptions of life during that time, the nature of the land, the glimpses of the mighty citadel of Mycenae, etc, add to the enjoyment and beauty of this well crafted tale. I rate this as 4 stars.
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on 24 September 2013
I absolutely loved this book. I've been a fan of historical fiction about the ancient world ever since reading Mary Renault's Theseus books when I was in my teens and ever since then I've sought to replicate the experience, without much luck. Annabel Lyon's THE GOLDEN MEAN came close, but Hilary Green's THE LAST HERO could almost have been written by Renault herself, it feels so authentic, so meticulously researched and so tightly written. I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 2 July 2014
I haven't read much about Ancient Greece and did wonder if I would find it easy to read, partly because of the unusual names of both people and places. I needn't have worried!
This author draws her characters so well you remember them long after you have turned the last page. I have experienced this with other books of hers that I have read, (The Follies Series very much springs to mind)and this book is just as compelling.
You feel the heat of the country, experience the battles as if you were there and you share in the joys and sorrows, loves and hates with the various individuals as the story unfolds.
It combines history and a very readable story giving an absorbing insight into that era.
Try it if you haven't - I do not think you will be sorry you did.
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on 18 November 2013
The book gives a fascinating insight into a little known period of history. Hilary manages to interweave the historical detail into the story of a prince's journey from boy to manhood.
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on 12 August 2013
Do not be put off by the long names at the start. Interesting, gripping and very well written. Highly recommend
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on 14 September 2015
A racy read set against the backdrop of the Trojan War. Very well researched.
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on 21 January 2014
To be honest, anyone who compares this book to the sublime works of Mary Renault must have cloth ears, because the writing is pedestrian in the extreme and never approaches the lyricism of Renault's descriptions. The only point of similarity that I can see is that they're both taking ancient, mythical Greece as their subject. Stick to Renault, she'll never be bettered for the breadth of her knowledge of this period, and the sheer beauty of her writing.
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