read Memnon AUTHOR Scott Oden –

S through ties established by their sister s marriage "TO ARTABAZUS A PERSIAN ARISTOCRAT PEACE EVER FLEETING IS "Artabazus a Persian aristocrat Peace ever fleeting is lived as Philip unexpectedly dies The enemy who is known becomes one far dangerous in the form of Alexander who becomes King of Macedonia and soon begins a campaign of conuest that will see him facing off against our titular character Given Alexander s success it s not that difficult to figure out Memnon s ultimate fate though I will say that I guarantee you it is not what you re thinking From the historical record such as it is we know that Memnon is perhaps the only military leader who gave Alexander pause Yet there

be no delusions about who comes out on top Still it was with a heavy heart that I continued to read drawing ever closer to what I figured had to be an inescapable conclusionWhat unfolds is indeed a series of battles that I can only describe as spectacular and right up there with some of the best battles I ve had the pleasure to read in historical fiction think Bernard Cornwell surely one of the best of them all Memnon gives Alexander such grief I imagine Alexander remembered their contests right up until his dying daysMemnon isn t all about battles though There s plenty of political intrigue fleeting alliances and a love story that has the potential to split Memnon and Mentor apart The woman who attracts each of their interests is Barsine Bound by duty she makes great sacrifices to ensure alliances and that their lives remain safe and secure At first a seemingly fleeting character in the narrative as she appears in and out of Memnon s life she becomes a central figure in the story over time and perhaps looking back over the totality of the book takes on an even larger role than Memnon himselfMemnon by Scott Oden earns a solid five rocket rating from me The characters writing and story are all superb Do yourself a favor and add this one to your reading list This is another book that really doesn t uite fit the five star system I d say 375 B but only that low because it s pretty clear how things will turn out about three uarters of the way through the bookThat said Scott Oden has done extensive research for this historical novel set during the life of Alexander the Great a period of history I am extremely familiar with and he does an excellent ob of bringing the Hellenistic world to life His battle scenes are appropriately gritty and Memnon unlike fictional heroes is prevented by history from winning them allThe book is framed as the story of Memnon s life told by another historical character and all in all it works very well Only the exigencies of sticking to Memnon s actual story limit the possibilities and thus the narrative isn t uite as satisfying as pure fiction might be Much has been written about Alexander the Great but little is known of his first real opponent Memnon of Rhodes Scott Oden takes what little knowledge we know of the man and uses it as a springboard to weave a deeply compelling account of his life The author deftly handles the intricate politics of the Greek city states dotting the coast of Asia Minor city states that were part of the vast Persian Empire and counter balances it with the rise of Macedon under Phillip II and the ambitions of his famous son While an enjoyable read and extremely well researched I was hoping for time spent on the actual confrontations between Memnon and Alexander While part of the final act it felt all too brief But it s a minor uibble The book is highly recommended for the nature of the subject matter if not the subject itself This is one of those books that ust darts under your eyes and is finished before you know it Most of the 688 pages went so smoothly and easily that it was only until around page 450 that I started to get bored And then hooked in again And then boredBoredom aside though I thoroughly enjoyed it and was only mildly let down in the end when Oden s smooth easy style got a bit dense and dull That s why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 I would still recommend Memnon to anyone and suspect the boredom I experienced with it in the end was partly my fault I had expected something else I think and we all know the error of doing thatMemnon is an entirely likeable character A mild mannered gentle man who breaks the butch arrogant mould often found in lead male characters in male authored books It was refreshing The love relationship between Memnon and Barsine never drew me in 1 because I don t need romance in the books I read and 2 because they were closely related and that was kind of gross I am sure you can guess that it was the latter than the formerIf you like your ancient greeks served up educated stately and starving for battle at every turn then Memnon is for yo. F Barsine a woman of remarkable beauty and grace Most of all he fought for the promise of peace Through the deathbed recollections of a mysterious woman the life of Memnon unfolds with brilliant clarity It is a record of his triumphs and tragedies his loves and lossess and of the determination that drove him to stand against the most renowned figure of the ancient world the ambitious young conueror called Alexander the Great.

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For those who have decent knowledge about this period the world before and during Alexander the Great s empire I truly recommend and during Alexander the Great s empire I truly recommend this book The historical accuracy is very satisfying and the parts that Scott Oden made up make sense with what happened in the past both Memnon and Mentor had great talents and skills and that s what they were in the past trustworthy generals that gave their adversaries really hard time so they should have a father that has such talents to pass down the uality to the brothers Barsine may have escaped death during the execution of Alexander Alexander "Didn T Take Barsine As "t take Barsine as because of being the runner up in this affair and so onI enjoyed the interludes even better than the main story they show Barsine s feelings and her devotion to Memnon after all these years After all both Memnon and Alexander were talented but ill fated generals If Memnon survived and defeated Alexander at his very capital Pella Alexander will be forced to cancel his campaign thus preventing the destruction of the Achaemenid Empire what s If Alexander lived longer to consolidate his power in the new found Empire there would be no successors that plagued the eastern lands as they did in history the period after his conuest was a bigger mess than it already had beenAnd what s if Memnon survived none of the latter would have happenedThe battle scenes and action were absolutely well depicted however the action could be a bit gross because of the gore and stuff like that described The political intrigues were even better I liked Mentor s plan with the Great King and how Memnon lured the Assos eunuch to a trap Overall even if you know nothing of this period you should give it a try if you don t know words like chiton or amphora you can look them up online they were real ancient Greek words Standard by the book historical fiction Eual parts action romance and intrigue I ll be checking out Scott Oden s other books This novel is a fictionalization of the life of Memnon of Rhodes ancient Greek warrior and opponent of Alexander the Great Memnon lost his life from a wound suffered at Halicarnassus The old saying seems to be true History is written by the victors From this novel I certainly got a much different view of Alexander than I ve ever read before I was introduced to the ancient historical figure of Memnon of Rhodes about whom I knew only the name if that The author did a very good ob in fleshing out Memnon into a well rounded compassionate and likeable figure if perhaps sometimes a little too 21st century in his feelings and emotions The author says very little is known of Memnon To fill in lacunae in knowledge of the man he admits to inventing a great deal of the story plausible though it is The novel uses the device of a writer Ariston visiting a mysterious woman calling herself Melpomene the Muse of tragedy obviously a pseudonym and between intervals in which her health fails and she relates Memnon s life story to Ariston so through his Rhodian History Memnon will not be forgottenThe politics were interesting the battle scenes and planning thereof were exciting and the epilogue very poignant I enjoyed the author s historical note and the three appendices especially the timeline I would have appreciated a separate glossary of the Greek terms although they were explained briefly in the text to the reader with a sharp eye The author probably thought that was enough A simple labelled map of the geographical area concerned would have been helpful I would have liked a few simple line drawings of how the soldiers both Greek and Persian were dressed and of civilians wearing the Greek clothing chlamys himation chiton etc The book read very easily I recommend it highly I am picky about historical fiction titles Most are ust action adventure stories crammed into a historical setting but Memnon doesn t do that I easily imagined no became one i I was really impressed with Scott Oden s Memnon First his combat scenes are incredible I felt like I was there I have never said this about another author before and it feels weird writing it but it s true Scott Oden writes mass battle scenes better than Robert E Howard He engages all the senses in his writing in a magnificent and realistic manner I didn t so much as read this novel as experience it I really felt like I was there side by side with Memnon It was written with an epic scope spanning much of Memnon s life with left the reader with large gaps in his history but that only added to the realism as though Memnon and I had seperated for a while to do other things then got back together later I have only had a couple of writers able to create that kind of experience for me so Scott Oden is rare company as far as I am concer. He lived in the shadow of kings One trusted him with his empire; the other feared his every moveMemnon of Rhodes 375 333 BCE walked in the footsteps of giants As a soldier sailor statesman and general he was in the words of Diodorus of Sicily outstanding in courage and strategic grasp A contemporary of Demosthenes and Aristotle Memnon rose from humble origins to command the whole of western Asia in a time of strife and slaug. ,
Ned That the author was able to do so much with so
historical information is a testament his skill at both history and fiction Still one of my favorite military historical about Alexander the Great by looking through the lens backwards How was Alexander viewed in Persia RatingReview This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews I love historical fiction almost than fantasy Pick the right time period and the two aren t that dissimilar It s because of this love of the genre that I set my standards very high when it comes to this sort of fiction It "IS BY NATURE FICTION BUT "by its nature fiction but doesn t mean it can supersede the for it to also be realistic to the time period in which it s set That s one of the hardest things about historical fiction the author must work within a pre defined framework to some extent including historical accuracy and time period authenticity yet when you take a character like Memnon of Rhodes so little is known about the character himself that the artist can paint with a very wide brush when it comes to filling in the details What is known about Memnon is that he was a Rhodian Greek born in 380 BC and that he spent the pinnacle of his life in service to the Persian Empire This might fly in the face of logic since the Greeks repelled Persian invasions first at Marathon and later at Thermopylae but those events transpired roughly 100 years earlier In Memnon s time alliances have shifted and cultures mingled to the point where Memnon and his brother Mentor find themselves serving multiple masters throughout their lives and seldom is that person GreekI mentioned from the outset of this review that I hold historical fiction to a high standard Memnon met and even exceeded this level with its characters story and writing It really hit all the high points for me Memnon is a well thought out character who deserves to take center stage Yet he is surrounded by such a rich supporting cast who are as diverse and full of depth as Memnon himself The story is perhaps the most interesting part of the novel Again we know when Memnon was born when he died including the circumstances around his death though admittedly even those are open to uestion and that he eventually faced none other than Alexander the Great when the young Macedonian king began his campaign to conuer Persia What we don t know is most of what happened to Memnon between those points in time and that s where Oden really shinesThe story begins long after Memnon has died when a young poet and scholar named Ariston is mysteriously summoned to an estate called The Oaks Upon his arrival Ariston is introduced to a woman named Melpomene Melpomene has a story to tell one which not surprisingly is about MemnonAt first Ariston brushes off Melpomene s reuest but she wins him over with her passion and so begins a telling of the story of Memnon of Rhodes that otherwise might have been erased by history and the cruelness of victors We are taken to Rhodes where a young Memnon seeks independence from his father Timocrates and his parental expectations A young thrill seeker of sorts at this point in his life Memnon s plans to sail away onboard the Circe go awry when a political uprising results in the death of his father Forced to flee Memnon begins a life of service to others as a mercenary At first bold but uncertain of himself Memnon over time will become a formidable soldier and an excellent tactician so much so that he is eventually entrusted with the defense of the Persian Empire against Alexander and his Macedonian armyAlong the way Memnon forms many bonds and relationships and even makes his fair share of enemies Standing with him always is his brother Mentor who as the older brother has his own path to follow Yet even when the two are not physically alongside one another their bond born of blood and a shared exile is unbreakable Memnon is an honorable man His word once given is insoluble and his loyalty unshakeable As a reader he s a character I could easily get behind as he embodies so many strong attributes Yet for all of his strengths he does have weaknesses Chief amongst these is uncertainty born from simple inexperience Fortunately for him he has others to lean on during these times to see him throughAn interesting aspect of Memnon s life is that at one point he is actually in service to King Philip of Macedon where he observes Alexander s early genius as he is tutored under Aristotle Even then Memnon recognizes the danger Alexander represents should be ever come into his ownEventually tides shift and Memnon and Mentor s exile is lifted They leave Philip s service and return to their home to claim what is theirs under Persian law While Greek the brothers are aligned with the Persian. Hter To his own people he was a traitor to his rivals a mercenary But to the King of Kings his majesty Darius III of Persia Memnon was one man capable of defending Asia Minor from the rising power of the barbaric Macedonians In a war pitting Greek against Greek Memnon proved his uality beyond measure His enemies fought for glory and gold; Memnon fought for something for loyalty for honor and for duty He fought for the love Memnon AUTHOR Scott Oden

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