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A good story but not this author's best English translation.
on 26 May 2013
THE LOST ARMY Valerio Massimo Manfredi 1st edn. 2008 Hardcover
Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi, a very eminent Italian historian and the Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Bocconi and the author of some dozen or so very successful historical novels, several of which have been used as the basis for screenplays.
THE LOST ARMY was first published in English in 2008 although it had previously been a best seller in Italy under the title `L'Armata Perduta in 2007 and I originally read the original Italian version that year. My Italian really is not that good, but I struggled through with lessons from my wife, and enjoyed the story and so resolved to obtain the English edition when it was published.
The story follows the fortunes of the Greek mercenaries of Xenophon's Ten Thousand, the famed 'Anabasis' to the shores of the Black Sea, as witnessed by a young female camp follower. The tale is good one, but is a bit like the march through hilly country, with ups and downs in the storytelling, and the whole book is rather poorly translated into English, the dialogue in particular being a bit stilted.
I am a great fan of Dr. Manfredi but this English translation is not up to his expected standard, a bit of a bumpy ride for the reader, although the usual highly researched and meticulously accurate historical background gives a fascinating window into a rarely touched upon subject.
I have just re-read this book and I may revisit the original version again, my Italian may have improved marginally and I feel that I enjoyed it more than the English translation.