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A tour de force of historical adventure...
on 12 February 2010
Other than his final trilogy about Troy, Lion of Macedon is Gemmell's only full soiree into historical fiction. And it is a tour de force.
Gemmell has a set of stock characters (all of which I love - I don't see this as a negative) but Parmenion, the hero of the Lion of Macedon, isn't one of them. As a young man, he is abused in Sparta for his Macedonian heritage, and the Macedonians don't trust him either. And as we follow him in this book (and in the sequel, Dark Prince) he is an engrossing and entirely likeable hero. As with Gemmell's best writing, Parmenion is thoroughly believable - both as a man, and in his genius as a general.
The book is fantastic, from the iconic opening at the wargames final, I found Parmenion's story hugely emotional and devastatingly exciting. I would recommend it fully to anyone interested in the history - there was definitely enough to keep me interested as Parmenion helped Philip of Macedon begin the story that will lead to Alexander the Great - or the adventure: short of magic, it has all the ingredients of any of Gemmell's novels.
I can recommend this fully as an introduction to anyone who hasn't come across Gemmell before - even if you aren't normally a "fantasy" fan - and to anyone who is a Gemmell-lover, this is one of his best.