In 445 B.C., Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, is the Persian ambassador to the city of Athens. He has a rather caustic appreciation of his situation: "I am blind. But I am not deaf. Because of the incompleteness of my misfortune, I was obliged yesterday to listen for nearly six hours to a self-styled historian whose account of what the Athenians like to call 'the Persian Wars' was nonsense of a sort that were I less old and more privileged, I would have risen to my seat at the Odeon and scandalized all Athens by answering him." Having thus dismissed Herodotus, Cyrus then dictates his life story to his nephew, Democritus, with similar disdain for the Greeks--whom we in the modern world have come to view as the progenitors of civilization, but whom Cyrus considers to be bad-smelling rabble.
Of course, Cyrus Spitama speaks with a very modern, ironic voice supplied to him by Gore Vidal--and the political intrigues in which Cyrus finds himself immersed are likewise familiar territory for fans of Vidal's historical fiction. But the narrator's delightfully wicked observations are the icing on a narrative of truly epic scope--out of his desire to understand the origins of the world, Cyrus undertakes journeys to India, where he encounters disciples of the Buddha, and China, where he engages Confucius in philosophical conversation while the great sage fishes by the riverside. Creation offers insights into classical history laced with scintillating wit and narrative brio. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Something old, something new: Vidal's classic, narrated by the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, is being republished in an expanded edition that includes material from the original manuscript that never made its way into print.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great book about a great era. Vidal's novel is enriching and delightful.Published 2 months ago by Felipe Senna
Don't expect the same results Vidal achieved in "Julian", the masterpiece among his historical novels. Read morePublished 3 months ago by lory lanfranchi
This is historical novel and we see places and people through the eyes of a fictionalized character. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Avinesh
These days a lot of praise, admiration, and money is heaped upon authors who create alternate worlds—J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, J. K. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Karl Janssen
Vidal truly outdid himself in this one. The idea is ingenious, to take all this amazing people from the 5th Century BC and put them all in one place with Cyrus Spitama, a cynical... Read morePublished 8 months ago by D Fisher
Great fun seeing history personalized. This is my first reading of Vidal, and I want to read more.Published 11 months ago by Douglas W. McKay