Where Fantasy and History blend.
For those of you looking for a comprehensive and detailed history of Ancient Greece followed by Alexander the Great’s invasion of the Persian Empire you might find this series not exactly what you were expecting. I think when Alexander starts fighting alongside Centaurs in a parallel world, this would steer you off the path of generally accepted mainstream history taught in most universities and schools…well, at least in this world.
However, that’s not the point of these novels, and as with a lot of books written by the sadly departed David Gemmell, he is fascinated by the concept of parallel lands similar to our own but imbued with magic. This series focuses on the personalities of Alexander, his father Phillip, and in particular their General Parmenion. It is the story of Parmenion that Gemmell’s tale is based, with him being brought up in Sparta in their fighting tradition under the harsh military regime of that land. Any fans of the film 300 will love this part of the story as the Spartans are depicted in a similar vein to those in that movie.
Later the story develops into Alexander’s invasion of Persia, and Alexander’s dual nature – wise and reasonable at times, brutal and tyrannical as a demon at others, which turns out to be unsurprising as he really is possessed by one. It’s a neat answer to the nature of Alexander, something that has fascinated and intrigued historians over the millennia.
I normally like my historical novels to have a high level of historical accuracy and a degree of authenticity, but this is a fantasy series, and it is among that genre that this novel should be judged rather than a genuine account of the past. The characters in this series are as expertly constructed as we would normally expect from Gemmell, just as the action is equally fast paced and exhilarating. It isn’t for the historical purists but if you like a really exciting story, with elements of fantasy interwoven with our own history, this series is great!
You can find it at Amazon here.