Friday 6 March 2015

Reviews ~ Tim Leach (Atlantic Books)

Atlantic Books - 2014
The Last King of Lydia ~ Tim Leach

This interesting historical novel takes the mythological story of King Croesus, one time ruler of Lydia, who after his defeat by the Persians in the 6th century B.C faces death by execution. Reprieved at the last minute by Cyrus, the Persian King, to whom Croesus becomes a slave, allows a glimpse into a mythological world which abounds with treachery and deceit on a grand scale.

Lyrical and poetic, the narrative is peppered with fine observations, and the reworking of the tale of Herodotus about the search for true happiness is sensitively and intelligently explored in fine detail.

The author clearly understands this topic and writes with great authority about a subject of which I know very little. Throughout the novel there is fine attention to detail, however, for ease of understanding, I discovered that this novel was easier to read in short bursts as there is much to take in, both in terms of the history and mythology, and also in the author’s distinct style of writing.

Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2013.

Atlantic Books - 2014
The King and the Slave ~ Tim Leach

This book starts ten years after the fall of Babylon and King Cyrus is on the march again. His slave, Croesus, once king of Lydia, is no longer a young man, but he continues to support his king and Cyrus's heir, Cambyses. When Cyrus is defeated and killed in battle, Croesus attempts to guide the new king with disastrous results as Cambyses is every bit his father's son but without the essence of mercy.

This is a continuation of the author's first book  The Last King of Lydia and continues the theme of mixing ancient mythology with a more modern rendition of historical fiction.

If I'm honest, I preferred The last King of Lydia, to this one which I felt was rather hard going in places. However, if you enjoy classical history then do give these stories a try.

My thanks to Atlantic Books for my copies of these books.


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