Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 24 September 2012
Christian Cameron is now starting to emerge as one of the leading historical novelists of the day. I first read 'Tyrant' some 5 years or so ago and loved the deep Hellenic flavour and character depth of the cast list but thought the style too slow to gain mainstream popularity. Then he seemed to swing to far over to the 'action packed' super hero stylee and I felt lost something as a result, though he seemed to gain mass appeal. Now he seems to have his writing absolutely spot on! Perfectly balanced between historic detail and action. His character's are flawed and believable, his story lines are random enough to keep you on your toes and his heroes though super tough are now fallible, and don't always get the girl.
All of which means I find myself giving him an unprecedented third 5 star award!
Plot synopsis (as unspoiling as possible)
This was a wonderful little greek Odyssey, seemingly inspired well by THE Odyssey. Arimnestos returns from Marathon to find trajedy waiting for him at home and decides to end it all by throwing himself off a cliff. He is pulled out of the waters and saved from probable death only to be lashed to an oar as a galley slave by his seeming saviours. This marks a two year voyage that will see him escape.. (come on it would have been a damn boring book otherwise) jion a brotherhood, indulge in a bit more piracy, brave the Atlantic, pop to Britian..... Look it's a huge adventure best not spoilt by the likes of me!
What Cameron can do better probably even than Cornwell and Robert Low now, is write a chaotic historical yarn that still gels as a story rather than feeling just like a random series of events. He does this by the very clever 'first person' telling of the tale, so you are sitting on the shoulder of Arimnestos through out, and the human narrative and relationships which gives the story a series of sub 'soap' plots in addition to the action and adventure. This not only adds depth and dimension but gives a real feel of the camaradarie of men at war. Add to this Cameron's own passion for the period and subsequent research and the result is something quite special I think.
I did worry after the brilliant 'God of War' that this would be a bit of a return to Cameron's more 'bread and butter' off the peg style, but not a bit of it, I think he is much better than that now.
Top stuff, just go careful in all that re-enactment malarkey Christian we some more of this.