“A dramatically imagined tale of a love affair between Alexander the Great and Alestria, queen of the Amazons. . . . Written with the unironic portentousness of an ancient myth, the novel nonetheless has modern and moving insights into such hot-button topics such as violence and gender.” (Washington Post)
A sweeping, heroic romance. . . . Fascinating details about Alexander’s world and about the legendary Amazons, who, if they existed at all, might have been his contemporaries -- and equals. (Publishers Weekly)
“Sa, author of Empress (2006), takes a huge historical leap in this entertaining fictional biography of Alexander the Great. . . . Romance, action, and intrigue combine to set the stage for a pageturning romp through alternate history. (Booklist)
“This reimagining of the life of Alexander the Great by the author of Empress would be a good choice for book groups, contrasting well with Stephen Pressfield’s The Virtues of War. . . . She writes here as a poet, blending image, action, and character in a rhythmic stream.” (Library Journal)
“Told in the extravagant voices of Alexander and Alestria, and of Alestria’s confidante Ania. . . . Strewn amid the pageantry and clamour are fascinating details about Alexander’s world and the legendary Amazons, who, if they existed at all, might have been his contemporaries—and equals.” (Finch's Quarterly Review Blog)
“Imagine a romance between Alexander the great and the queen of the Amazons and you have Alexander and Alestria, by author Shan Sa.” (National Examiner)
Beginning with Alexander's childhood in Macedonia with his abusive father, tyrannical King Philip and his overbearing mother Olympias - educated by Aristotle and trained in the military training - he develops the fierce character, strength, and ambition to overthrow his abusive father and take the crown. Meanwhile, in the wilds of the Siberian steppe, Alestria is queen of the Amazons - the tribe of female warriors who dominate this vast land at the edge of the known world. Switching between the distinct voices of Alexander, Alestria, and Tania (the queen's loyal follower and confidante), Shan Sa brings the reader to the center of harsh physical and emotional battles. After Alexander conquers and unifies all of ancient Greece and Egypt and sets out to the Orient to conquer his rival, King Darius of Persia, Alexander and Alestria first encounter each other on the battlefield; surprised to find that his adversary is a woman, Alexander is instantly smitten: her hair is long and black, her body muscular and bronzed, and her skin scarred from years of battle. And at last, this independent woman who had renounced men has found a reason to leave her tribe.
This book is beautifully translated by Adriana Hunter (who also translated the critically acclaimed "Empress").