Monday, October 10, 2016

The Conqueror's Wife

The Conqueror’s Wife, Stephanie Thornton

Stephanie Thornton has released her fourth novel, again with a focus on women of the past.   This book centres around Alexander the Great, told from the perspectives of four individuals around him: his devoted sister Thessalonike; feisty captured Persian princess Drypetis; minor noble Roxana who craftily does whatever is necessary to secure his affection and a throne for herself; and finally his lover and right hand man Hephaestion.

Almost every character here is a figure of history, although an incomplete historical record has given Thornton the freedom to interpret the story in her own way, as she admits.   She has clearly done a lot of research, and has created characters with interest and depth.   It’s certainly a good way to learn some details about Alexander’s life, conquests and war practice, as well as Persian and Greek traditions and beliefs.   Interestingly for those aware of biblical times, his times intersect with the end of the Persian Empire, headed by Darius and Artaxerxes (who are later descendants of the biblical ones).
There is no doubt it is a sordid tale of world domination with a great deal of battle lust thrown in.   Sadly, it’s probably a fair portrayal of the times, especially for the women and men who were used as prizes of war. 

I found it interesting and informative, it’s a story well told.  And again, it makes me very thankful I am not a woman living in those times.

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