Author: Christian Kachel
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Published: 2014
Page Count: 368
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Note: Book 1 of Spoils of Olympus series
There’s brutal torture, gory battle scenes, and dalliances with the fairer sex, but this first book in the series still didn’t manage to excite despite everything it has going for it.
*Superbly Detailed Writing
*Unlikable Characters *Difficult Names/ Vocabulary
“’How much blood have you shed on this day?’” Andrikos lives a lazy life centered on capitalizing on all of life’s pleasures whenever possible. However, when his path crosses with a dangerous gang in his hometown, he is forced to flee and join the army in order to lay low and keep his good name clear. While in the army of General Eumenes, Andrikos will become a part of a secret group within the army who will infiltrate any dangerous location or torture anyone for invaluable information in order to ensure Alexander’s legacy lives on.
I’m new to the segment of the historical fiction world dedicated to Greek history, but I’ve watched my brother eagerly devour any book from this genre he can get his hands on. Being a huge historical fiction fan, I was eager to finally get my feet wet with this book. From the onset, the reader can tell Kachel has more than done his homework for this book. The level of detail is incredible and this enabled me to instantly trust the author and his ability to deliver a story that was historically accurate. There is no question Kachel can write.
Initially I was wrapped up in the author’s writing ability, my excitement to read a book from this time period, and the strong star rating of this book on Goodreads, which is why I really struggled with weighing the positives against the negatives in this book. I also struggled with the vocabulary of the book and the very ancient names. Sure, in a book on Greek history you can’t have guys named Bobby Joe and Mike, but names like Patrochlus and Pasicrates…well…I’m not gonna lie the names and characters all started to blend together unless they were very central to the story. And I felt like a novice who needed a glossary about Greek military terms when reading words like Lochos and phalangites. Yes, I could have Googled it but I shouldn’t have to for the number of terms there are. I also came to the realization I didn’t like any of the characters and this was why I wasn’t connecting with the story. The main character is a weak follower who will do anything anyone says and if he happens to do something questionable will lie in his cot at night and mildly chastise himself for inaction. All the other men in the story are either hyped up on testosterone looking to pick a fight at any second or they’re consumed with greed and the need to imbibe and find pleasure with women of the night. This is probably completely accurate about how life was within the army, but I guess I really didn’t enjoy this window into history. Can’t all Greek heroes be as bold yet good-hearted as smoldering Eric Bana’s Hector in the movie Troy? I’m only 10% kidding.
While I couldn’t connect to the book, I can say the story has the potential to entertain many readers other than myself. The early reviews of the book make that clear. The story was a little rough and read like a play by-play of a battle plan, when what I really want in a historical novel is something more along the lines of The Other Boleyn Girl. The writing was great but unfortunately the story was just one I couldn’t connect with.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.