The Walled Orchard Paperback – 5 Apr 2001
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Read THE WALLED ORCHARD so you can tell your descendants, "I was there when the historical novel started holding its head up with the rest of literature" (THE WASHINGTON POST)
Witty, ironic... and achieved a deeply felt authenticity. (THE NEW YORK TIMES)
This book is a hilarious yet well-researached historical novel. (HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW)
** 'Out of his own playful erudition, Tom Holt creates an unforgettable narrator, a wise and caustic commentator on the golden age of Athens (WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY)
Witty, ironic ... and achieves a deeply felt authenticity' NEW YORK TIMESSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Holt makes the men of the moment, like Pericles and Socrates, really come alive, complete with all their flaws and idiosyncracies. The political corruption and self-serving nature of the Athenian polis really jumps out at the reader. The comic wit of the narrator, Eupolis, keeps the plot motoring along, to the extent that the reader wants to know less about the great drama of the Peloponnesian War being waged outside the protection of the Long Walls, and more about the gossip and scandals of the Athens Eupolis and Aristophanes write about in their plays.
The great tragedy of the war, and the foolishness of an imperial power that fails to recognise its own limitations, are handled admirably, including the confusion and herd mentality still seen in international politics today.
With writers like Holt around, Ancient Greece can rest assured that it will continue to be well-represented in the historical fiction market for some time to come.
The Walled Orchard is another beast altogether. It starts out as a interesting dialogue with the principal character, and turns into one of the most personal narratives I have ever read. The main character, Eupolis, narrates his life and times to you without pretensions. He rambles at some points, jokes at others, but at all times has you enthralled at his description of Athenian life.
I feel that in reading this book, I came to make a friend of Eupolis. His life has not been a happy one, but as one of the great comic playwrights, he has the ability to the humout in the deepest tragedies a person could endure. If you want to see a weekend fly by as you live through the eyes of one of Athens' greatest comics, this is the book for you.
There have been books about the long tragedy of the Peloponnesian War before - one thinks particularly of Mary Renault's moving "The Last of the Wine", but none quite like this. Tom Holt combines knowledge, imagination, and wit in the story of Eupolis, a lad who lives through the tragedies to become famous as a writer of comedies. To call his life eventful is an understatement, and just as the war provides the backdrop, so his ongoing rivalry with the even more noted playwright Aristophanes provides a thread running through the story and the occasion for much of the humour. Holt manages to handle the balance between the funny and the tragic very well, and he brings Eupolis and his times to life. "The Walled Orchard" is one of the best books on this key period in history that I have read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
brilliant ,detailed,well written and funny. His knowledge of greek culture is vast -He studied greek culture and it shows .Published 23 months ago by cyberjeannie
I'm still reading it, but the book is in a very readable style, mildly amusing. It covers a fascinating period, the end of Athenian ascendancy in Greece, with the devastating... Read morePublished on 19 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer
One of my favourite novels. I'm not so keen on Holt's comic fantasy books, for which he is better known, but here he shines. Read morePublished on 6 Mar. 2011 by Douglas Crawford
"The Walled Orchard" is the story of Eupolis, a little known comic playwright who lived in Athens at the peak of her power in ancient times. Read morePublished on 22 Aug. 2010 by Jeremy Dummett
Just one word - brilliant. oh alright then ,two or three more -very funny indeed.Published on 6 July 2010 by springcleanie
Amalgamating both the military and literary events of the Peloponnesian war period of Classical Athens this witty and surprising novel is a very satisfying read. Read morePublished on 16 April 2007 by Geoffrey H. Moses
Tom Holt has written a series of books based around historical Greece. They are humourous "docu-dramas" - basing the story on an extrapolation of a few facts to give an author's... Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2005 by Ian Spencer