Since lockdown began I've had a little more time up my sleeve to read: I always read of course, but instead of grabbing a half-hour here or there each day I have the luxury of time to invest one to two hour blocks which suits me just fine.
I wrote a post the other day about the first lockdown book I was reading which I have now finished. You can read about book one here if you like however this post is all about introducing book two which I am half way through now. Yes, I read at a rapid rate when I get going.
Alexander - The virtues of war (Steven Pressfield)
The author is an American and is responible for such books as Gates of Fire, The legend of Bagger Vance and Last of the Amazons, all great books in their own right.
Pressfield writes historical novels with a classical style I'm sure Homer would be proud of. His battle scenes are detailed and powerfully gripping to the reader - He captures the savagery, passion and brutality of human civilisation in a captivating way. His dialogues are spirited and intelligent, characters have depth and the overall tale he spins is always epic.
Alexander, The virtues of war is a fictional piece, not an historical account, with the characters invented along with the scenes that play out across the pages. Of course, much of the history around Alexander the Great is widely documented so much of the actual history is borrowed to bring this story to life.
The author assists the reader in digesting the tale through the use of contemporary place names and measurements like miles and yards which did not exist in Alexander's time of course. Concepts like chivalry and mutiny are also mentioned which in Graeco-Macedonian times had no equivalent. It adds to the readers enjoyment though, rather than detract from the story.
The first paragraph from the book:
I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another. I have known lovers, sired offspring, competed in games, and committed outrages when drunk. I have vanquished empires, yoked continents, been crowned as an immortal before gods and men. But I have always been a soldier.
Alexander the Great (356-323BC) came to the throne of Macedon at twenty years of age and conquered the Persian Empire, seemingly invincible, before the age of twenty five. He died at thirty two years old; Undefeated on the battlefield. His legend as a warrior and leader has remained unsurpassed throughout history.
This fast-paced book is an epic retelling of that legend and Pressfield brings it to life in a way only he can. Alexander becomes the voice of his own story, the telling of which is vibrant, bloody and brutal...And a fascinating insight into the mind of a charismatic, driven and vainglorious leader of men.
One of my favourite book-genres is classical historical fiction and with this book Steven Pressfield hits it out of the park. I'm enjoying every word.
So, that's book two of lockdown...Have you picked up a book to read in the new-found spare time you have during lockdown? If so let me know about it. Comment or do a post (or both).
Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default - Tomorrow isn't promised.