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Alexander : The Sands of Ammon (Alexander Trilogy Book 2) Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Feb 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Edit/Cover edition (3 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330491733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330491730
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 725,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Usually, it's the cinema that draws endless inspiration from the novel, but the phenomenal success of the film Gladiator appears to have spawned a renewed interest in the historical epic and readers are being treated to a host of new novels set in the ancient world - some splendid, some meretricious. This first in a trilogy set in ancient Greece is thankfully among the former. The shade of Robert Graves haunts the pages, with the elegant sleight-of-hand he practised in I, Claudius (modern, idiomatic dialogue in the mouths of ancient protagonists) handled with similar assurance. Manfredi's book has already sold 500,000 copies in Italy alone, and enjoyed similar success throughout Europe. But England is more resistant to this kind of blockbuster and will it do as well here? The auguries are good. Alexander the Great is shown in the early stages of his development. Born to Philip of Macedonia and the imposing Queen Olympias, Alexander's hectic progress to manhood includes friendships with Aristotle and Ptolemy. The novel draws to a close as Alexander sets sail to conquer the civilised world. Despite the odd purple passage, this is writing of tremendous gusto and invention, and there is likely to be a ready market for the successive volumes. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The concluding volume in Valerio Manfredi's massive and epic series of Alexander the Great's tumultuous life --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Format: Audio CD
This audiobook of Valerio Massimo Manfredi's "Alexander: Child of a Dream" was abridged by Keith Darvill to a 3 hour story recorded on 3 CDs and it's read by Derek Jacobi. It's the first volume of a trilogy: 1) Child of a Dream, 2) The Sands of Ammon, 3) The Ends of the Earth. I enjoyed Derek Jacobi's reading of 'Child of a Dream' so much that I intend to buy the rest of the trilogy.
The young Alexander, privileged product of a mating between a rich and powerful king, a beautiful and clever queen and (the queen believed) a god, seemed a very pleasant and caring youth, considering all the slaughter and mayhem he ordered and participated in as he grew and matured. His mother, Olympias, was an ambitious, ruthless dabbler in ritual and magic. His father, Philip, was King of Macedon, wise in military matters, a great warrior and leader of his people - fighting to unite all the Greek nations. His sister, Cleopatra, married her mother's brother (another Alexander). His tutor, Aristotle, later became the detective and, with the help of his nephew, investigated the murder of King Philip.
The satisfying thing about this sort of novel is that you can learn something at the same time as you're being entertained. I had to get out an atlas to find out where the characters were marching and where the action was taking place. It would have been better if a map of the area had been included with the audiobook. There was a map of Middle Earth in the BBC's Lord of the Rings radio play CD box, so I know it sometimes happens. In any case, I had an atlas fortunately and was able to follow the action across page 38.
I started listening to stories almost by accident about 2 years ago when I got a virus that put me in bed and made it hard to focus my eyes.
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Format: Paperback
I found the writing very stilted, though (as has been said) this could be the fault of the translator. I had the impression of a historian wanting to show off his knowledge, and found no real enjoyment in the tone or phraseology of the book. Fortunately, this doesn't matter, as a good trilogy on Alexander has already been written. If you don't know the books, do read Mary Renault's 'Fire From Heaven', 'The Persian Boy' and 'Funeral Games'. (Gore Vidal called them something like 'a magnificent creation and re-creation of the life of Alexander'.) I am currently reading 'The Persian Boy' for the umpteenth time - in it, I think Renault found her most mature voice.
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Format: Paperback
This historical novel traces the story of Alexander the Great during his formative years , from his birth and childhood at Pella and his education uinder the tutelage of Aristotle at Mieza. It sets out an extremely sympathetic portrayal of Alexander , as outlined by his rescue of the girl Leptine from the hellish slave camps of Mount Pangaion , to his devotion to his friends and his love for his horse Bucephalas and his dog Peritas.
Even the complete destruction by the Macedonians of Thebes , is presented as being undertkane reluctantly by Alexander (and forced on him by his advisors and allies).
I liked the imagery of the dreams and their where moments of page-turning action and passion , such as his confrontation with his father and courtiers at his father's third wedding.

Some of the characters are better developed than others , such as the servant girl Lepantine and Alexander's friend and secretary to King Phillip , Eumenes.
Manfredi leaves little doubt as to his suspicion that it was Alexander's mother Olympias who was behing the assasination of King Phillip.
All in all, despite a few glitches and slower moments , it flows well , and I particularly found the four maps at the front to be helpful in following the narrative.
Research into events , people and palces has been thourough.
In this first volume we read of the campaigns of Phillip and later of Alexander in Greece and the Balkans.
This volume concludes with a pact Alexander makes with his uncle King Alexander of Epirus (who has married Alexander's beautiful sister Cleopatra) that Alexander of Macedon will conquer the east and the King of Epirus will conquer the west.
Bear in mind this is an English translation of the original Italian.
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Format: Paperback
Underneath the title of this book is printed 'Huge international bestseller'. Having read it through I am at a loss as to how it has acheived this status.
The first thing that struck me was the simplistic and faulty prose. At some points it tried to be poetic while at others it was very basic. The lack of depth in writing leads to poorly developed characters which in turn strips the story of its heart. It will undoubtedly be claimed that the original language version is better and that it has simply lost some of the flow in translation. While this may be, to some extent, true I do not believe that that alone is reason enough for the lack of passion conveyed in the story.
The tale of Alexander's life is however a fascinating one and many of the bare facts are laid down in the book as Alexander grows up to become King and lead an army into Asia. Although it can never be entirely factual Manfredi does his best to stick to history and this is where I found the book to be more satisfying. The politics and warfare of the period are much more adequately told and I do now have a yearning to know more.
All in all this book is neither particularly bad nor particularly good. It is maybe a reason for historians to write history books and leave novellists to write novels. There are reasons to read this book and I did not feel as though I had wasted my time in reading it but neither was I rushing into the second in the series. I will read the next book to find out how Alexander's journey continues but I will be hoping that he becomes a more interesting character as he grows older.
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