Alexander : The Sands of Ammon (Alexander Trilogy Book 2) Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Feb 2006
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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.
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have not finished reading it yet. So far very good.Published 2 months ago by Edeltraud Purdin-Platzer
It had a very interesting story line but the story was a bit confusing and the characters were not introduced properlyPublished 2 months ago by Claudia Gaviria
as a fan of historical fiction I really loved this book. I have read the trilogy already some 10 years ago but reading it again I enjoyed it all over again. Read morePublished 9 months ago by laros76