Customer Review

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Makes a 'Great' Character!, 8 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Murder in Macedon (Mass Market Paperback)
Anna Apostolou takes us down History Lane in yet another of Paul Doherty's time-line mysteries, "A Murder in Macedon." And while Doherty's English historical mysteries are exciting, and informative, reading, Apostolou takes the Oliver Stone approach to revealing the vagaries of the past. (Apostolou is one of Doherty's pseudonyms.) It seems to be Stone's premise that "if you thought the real history was exciting, wait until you see how I dress it up." And much the same way, Apostolou takes us back to the time of Alexander the Great of Macedon. We find Alexander, troubled, quick-to-temper, and eager to be king in his own right, having to deal with the assassination of his father, Phillip, the Macedonian king. Between his own irreverences with his father and the plottings of his mother Olympias, whom Phillip has recently divorced in favor of a younger, more beautiful princess, there is reason for Alexander to feel that everyone will believe that he was involved in the assassination of his father. Apostolou introduces us to Hebrew twins Miriam and Simeon, both of whom Alexander trusts. Young Alexander is barely 20 and naturally, at first, fears his own life in the aftermath of the regicide. Indeed, as Shakespeare's Henry V said, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." His friends come to his rescue. Apostolou introduces us to a number of plots, all plausible, of course. And it is at the hands of Miriam and Simeon that, ultimately, the "truth" is revealed. Basically, the story is exciting reading; however, historical scholars won't be quick to embrace the theories offered. For instance, Apostolou directly involves Demosthenes in the assassination. Demosthenes, the great Athenian orator, did oppose Phillip's rule--and plans--for the conquered Athens and ultimately was exiled when Alexander later took over; however, no proof exists that he arranged for Phillip's death. And while, perhaps, it makes for intriguing reading, I have problems with fictional writers taking such liberties! Apostolou does cite her sources, to give the author some credit, of course. History should not be altered, or even managed, just to create an exciting story, however! Otherwise, happy reading. The story moves well and the author's characterizations of the principle players seem not only accurate but in keeping with the whole intrigue. In fact, Alexander's portrayal seems in keeping with history. There is the sequel, of course, as Apostolou concludes this novel without dispensing of Olympias, the quintessential "plotter and schemer." Some historians claim that Alexander later had her executed for her involvement in this, and other, nefarious acts. (She does not seem to be a person one would love to meet.) We'll have to wait to see how Apostolou takes care of her! This book ends, too, just as Alexander is getting ready to start his campaigns to conquer the known world. Further revelations--some might call it "manipulations--will come in the next installment titled "A Murder in Thebes."
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