A few weeks ago, I started an Oldie but Goodie Series of older reviews that I had written. The series has really kicked off and today I am delighted to share another one! It is so amusing to look back at older reviews. My reactions have been, “What was I thinking? Oh, I quite like what I wrote or I should have expanded on some things further.” Having said that, I won’t be rewriting the reviews. One must learn from one’s own writing! Today I am sharing one of my reviews for Stephanie Thornton’s books. She is an amazing story-teller and one of my favorites. I can’t get enough of her stories. Check out my review below of, The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great!
330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny. His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander’s boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia’s throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side. Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire vaster than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…
When this book came available to review, I knew I couldn’t pass this up. Not because I wanted to read another story of Alexander the Great, mind you. I have read enough of him and his atrocities. However, Thornton brings us a new story- a story of the strong women who surrounded him.
I would like to start with his Mother-Olympias. She personifies a power hungry political in my opinion. A ruthless Queen where everyone is her pawn and how she manipulates her pawns is without mercy. Or is that just me? Needless to say, I don’t care for the woman. I know many would argue with that statement. Thornton does such splendid work with Olympias’s characterization. She is just as I would imagine her to be…
I cared little of, Roxana. She left a bad taste in my mouth. But wow! What an unflinching narrative! Thornton evokes such strong dislike from her readers when reading about this woman. I kept on waiting for her demise throughout the story. Or least I felt that way about Roxana. *laughing*
I adore Drypetis-a Persian princess-and Alexander’s sister, Thessalonike for many reasons. Then there is Hephaestion. *sigh* He was Alexanders second in command, best friend and lover. Probably the only person among the very few people Alexander trusted and completely loved. His narrative in the story is one I will never forget.
I cannot say enough about the characters, or their stories. Beautifully told and Thornton immerses you in an unforgettable period of our history and gives you a marvelous exploration of people living during that time. She keeps you so wrapped up in the conflict of the ancient world, culture and the conquest of Alexander that when you put the book down, you can almost still hear their voices and imagine their movements in your mind. This story is a masterpiece.
Stephanie M. Hopkins
Review originally posted here