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The Bow of Heaven Continues to Rate High Marks
Carrie Slager gives Andrew Levkoff's debut novel 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I prattle on about history constantly, but I can guarantee you that everyone in my family and small circle of friends has heard of Gaius Julius Caesar. How could they not when he is such a cultural phenomenon, even two thousand years later? Yet while Julius Caesar is a household name, very few people have heard of Marcus Licinius Crassus. Even among historians, he is dismissed as the weak third member of the First Triumvirate, nothing more than the man who bankrolled the wars of Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. But in The Other Alexander, I believe Andrew Levkoff has done for Crassus what Pauline Gedge did for Kamose Tao or what Robert Graves did for Claudius.
In a style reminiscent of Wilbur Smith’s Egyptian novels, Andrew Levkoff chronicles the life of Crassus through the eyes of his unfortunate slave Alexandros, called Alexander. Alexander is very similar to Smith’s Taita in the way he becomes invaluable to his master and ends up running the household. Also like Smith’s Taita, he constantly reflects on life with the complex, sometimes arrogant mind of a philosopher. Alexander’
The first few chapters are slowly paced to draw the reader in without completely disorienting them with the foreign world of ancient Rome. However, the pace picks up steadily throughout the novel and by the end it rivals Conn Iggulden’s famously fast-paced novels. However, unlike Conn Iggulden, Andrew Levkoff does not change history so blatantly. As far as I know, The Other Alexander is one of the most historically accurate pieces of historical fiction I’ve ever read. You can certainly tell there was a great deal of research and care put into this novel.
My only true criticism is that this should have been proofread better. I caught several missing quotation marks in the dialogue and even the use of ‘pray’ instead of ‘prey’ in this passage on page 256:
“In that case, Gaius, you are nothing. Pray on some other patrician’s wife.”
Yet these mistakes do not detract from the overall quality of the novel and I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Roman history, particularly that of the late Republic.
I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
The original review may be found at http://carrieslager.wordpress.com/
Page Updated Last on: Apr 17, 2012