Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Alexander: Child of Dream - The first in teh series which details the life of the MacedonianKing, Alexander the Great who conquered the Persian peoples and carved out an empire for himself in only a few short years. The first book is mainly with Alexander's youth and his father Philip's quests to unite the Greek peoples and take back Macedonian cities. He forms friendships with the likes of Ptlomy and Hephaestion as they learn from the great Aristotle and upon his father's death Alexander takes up the Kingdom and his father's quest to take over Asia. Since I have never even studied Alexander in the slightest I absorbed this book like a sponge and greatly enjoyed it. The battles are not overly descriptive and Manfredi focuses more on the inner workings of his characters and the relationships between them. My fav would have to be Hephaestion and Eumenes of the Companions. If you are intrigued by this great historical figure then give these books a go - you wont be dissapointed.

Alexander: The Sands of Ammon - The second in the series where Alexander contiues to join the Greek peoples in a pan-Hellenic League and tries to escape the clutches of his mother (and gains a new one along the way too). Whilst Alexander his uncle goes to the West and into Italy, Alexander travels down the Persian coast battling Memnon the Greek mercanary general and into Egypt to proclaim himself Pharoah and build the first Alexandria. Just as exciting as the first and not in the least bit drawn out - though now I can't wait for the movie to come out so I can see how they have treated the story.

Alexander: The Ends of the Earth - The last in the Alexander story as he finally takes over the rest of the Persain lands and tries to find Darius III. It also is about his tragic demise and even says a little about how the Companions tried to take over his reins but seemed to fail miserably. I wonderful ending to the trilogy and I am sad to see it go and the deaths of Alexander and Hephaestion were terribly sad.

Spartan - Talos is a young crippled Hellot man who are the servants to the great Spartan warriors. But when Talos has to defend a young woman he comes to the attention of a group of Spartans and not only that but the Spartan General looks at him with such pain in his eyes. The story follows two young men as they battle at Thermopylae - one as a Spartan warrior the other as a servant and leanr that together they can make a terrible pair. I really enjoyed this book and haing actually studied the time period that it describes when I was in High School I greatly enjoyed the different perspective on it. Though I did feel sorry for Talos and I must admit shed a few tears - which I don't do very often with books but is becoming more regular.

The Last Legion -It wasn't too bad though I didn't enjoy it half as muchas the other books though - it just seemed to flow on - though there was plenty of excitement and action I simply just didn't feel it which is a pity. Aurelius was a nice touch with the tortured past and the whole thing with Livia but I actually found Meridius Ambrosinus (Merlin) a little annoying. The story is about how the young Emperor Romulus is on the run from the barbarian Odoaces and those that help him escape to Britannica and to the mantle of 'Pendragon'. Kinda a prequal to the Arthur legend. Whilst I enjoyed it it wasn't as riviting as the other books I have read of his.

Talisman of Troy - Whilst not as good as the other books of his that I have read I still enjoyed it and in light of just seeing Troy it just goes to show you how different the movie's story is to the actual poem version. Anyway it follows Diomedes who finds that his wife wants to kill him and travells north to find a new homeland. Meanwhile the Dor are coming down from the North ready to take over Greece, whilst Greece is embroiled in deception and war with the Queens trying to take control themselves. It is good a little slow paced and not as exciting as Alexander or Spartan but I enjoyed it none the less - Diomedes is such a tragic hero. It is written in true Greek tradegy style - not all is good in love and war. Give it a go if you liked the movie Troy and enjoy VMM.

Tyrant - Is the story of Dionysius of Syracuse, Sicily. Who by his early twenties had seen the masacre of three cities by the Carthaginians and the betrayal of the democratic government. He set about to make things right, after his first failed attempt he worked slower, gaining a strong hold before launching his 'attack' on the governemnt. After getting his seat of power he fought many wars, suffering from absolutism, he was dubbed 'tyrant'. I knew nothing about this historical figure adn I can say now, I am intrigued. Knowing a little about Greek history I can wonder at the events VMM brings to life in his stories, he has re-fueled my passion for Greek history yet again. Though I must say Sparta will always hold my favouritism in the Greek states.

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