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Alexander the Great and Ancient Greek Warfare

Posted: Sat April 24th, 2010, 4:15 pm
by Margaret
Annis has contributed a review of Christian Cameron's Tyrant for HistoricalNovels.info. As usual, she really evokes the atmosphere of the story. She tells me Christian Cameron is a war-gamer and re-enactor, so this novel should have a lot of appeal for that crowd, along with others who enjoy novels of ancient warfare and power politics.

Posted: Sat April 24th, 2010, 4:18 pm
by Nefret
Thanks. I will have to read that.

Posted: Sun May 2nd, 2010, 5:23 am
by Chris Little
Due to Cameron's limited USlibrary access, I purchased a "Tyrant," started it, stopped to keystroke "Tyrant 2" to an e-cart, read during gardening hours. Thanks for Kineas et al A/S

Posted: Sun May 2nd, 2010, 7:06 am
by annis
Cool! Glad you're enjoying "Tyrant", Chris- i couldn't put it down :) Cameron commented that his books sell much better in the UK than in the States which surprised me a bit- I would have thought Steven Pressfield's success might have paved the way for CC's novels.

I occurs to me that you might also like Henry Treece's Mycenaean trilogy, as being rather in the spirit of Shipway's work. Jason covers some similar territory to "Warrior in Bronze"

1) Jason
2) Electra (also spelt Elektra for some editions)- US title The Amber Princess
3) Oedipus --US title The Eagle King

Posted: Mon May 3rd, 2010, 1:23 am
by Chris Little
Setting a Shipway hook ... Treece "Jason" next ILL request ... thanks ...

Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010, 9:50 am
by Kallithrix
I wouldn't call that a review, more of a marketing blurb - it's pretty much the same as I read on the jacket when I looked it up in Waterstones.

Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010, 5:59 pm
by Margaret
Kallithrix, I don't think you intended to imply that Annis simply plagiarized the jacket copy, but some may take your comment that way. If readers compare the review and the promotional copy posted on the Waterstones website, they'll see that is not the case.

Obviously, Annis quite enjoyed Tyrant. I've found that her taste runs to military adventure novels with a thoughtful undertone, among other subjects. Other readers may feel differently.

Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010, 7:39 pm
by annis
Space limitations for reviews on Margaret’s website don’t really lend themselves to lengthy literary critique, Kallithrix, so my aim is more to give readers a flavour of the book I’m reviewing. I make no apologies for the fact that if I’ve really enjoyed a book I’m more than happy to wear my heart on my sleeve and say so, and in fact novels I review for Margaret tend to be ones I’ve found particularly interesting and/or appealing.

I will make more measured critique of a novel if I feel it is warranted (see my comment here on Paul Water’s “Cast not the Day” for example), but will do so in a different forum.

There were very few criticisms I could make of Cameron’s Tyrant, which fulfilled the expectations of a historical military adventure admirably, in my opinion. My only quibble would be his occasional tendency to quote perhaps over-long chunks of Homer, but given the cultural significance of the Iliad and particularly the place of Achilles in the psyches of both the main character, Kineas, and Alexander the Great himself, I thought it acceptable. The irony that Alexander sees Achilles as hero whereas we would now see him as much monster is not lost in Cameron’s interpretation of Alexander.

I do make a point of not reading blurbs and other reviews for a book I think I might review, but inevitably the facts of a story’s plotline remain the same and various reviewers may describe them in similar ways- that’s probably unavoidable.

Posted: Tue May 18th, 2010, 10:32 am
by parthianbow
Annis, thanks for your review. I have to read Cameron's books - I've meant to for ages, but am slightly constrained by the day job :p He's a big participant on the Greek section of romanarmy.com too. Interesting to see he's also branching out into a different time period.

No offence intended!

Posted: Wed May 19th, 2010, 10:00 am
by Kallithrix
Margaret, I certainly didn't mean to imply that Annis had plagiarised the jacket blurb, I was simply expressing my view that the review was more descriptive of the plot details than a critique of the novel, which is not what I would normally expect from a review.

Annis, I take on board your comment about limited space to express your views, and perhaps you are simply constrained by the brief given to you by the site owner. However in a review of more than 300 words, which is about the same if not more than that given to newspaper or magazine reviews, I would have expected more than just a plot outline and brief summary of the main character. You only really give us any assessment of the novel's quality in the last paragraph, which still reads like marketing blurb rather than critique. I wasn't expecting a dissertation, just something that would tell me what respective merits I could expect this book to have in relation to similar books in the genre.

That's just my two cents.