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Funeral Games Paperback – June 11, 2002
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After Alexander's death in 323 B.C .his only direct heirs were two unborn sons and a simpleton half-brother. Every long-simmering faction exploded into the vacuum of power. Wives, distant relatives, and generals all vied for the loyalty of the increasingly undisciplined Macedonian army. Most failed and were killed in the attempt. For no one possessed the leadership to keep the great empire from crumbling. But Alexander's legend endured to spread into worlds he had seen only in dreams.
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Once again, Renault brings us deep into that time, so deep we can almost see each character before us; her writing is clear, yet layered in its concise, descriptory power. There are no wasted words, anywhere. The dialogue is direct and to the point; this tale is a much faster "read" than "Fire From Heaven" or "The Persian Boy", but the adventures turn grim as the desire to take up Alexander's mantle overcomes nearly everyone he knew, favored, or despised. Although luxuriously buried in the tomb of his beloved Hephaistion, Alexander is an unquiet spirit all through the book. As Perdikkas, Philip Arrhidaios, Demetrius the One-Eyed, Ptolemy, Seleukos, and Kassandros vie for control of Macedonia and the remains of Alexander's empire--and of his legend--a granddaughter of Philip, Eurydike, steps forward to make her own claim for the throne. Too, Roxane and Olympias take their places, one as mother of the dead king, the other as mother to his only living son. Both women have blood on their hands; both women--in fact, nearly all the contestants--meet their end. The only one left standing by the end of the story is the only man who leaves what was Alexander's alone: his half-brother Ptolemy, who takes up the throne at Egypt and pays honor to Alexander there.Read more ›
"Funeral Games" was Renault's last book, and, fittingly, the subject was the Alexander she was so fascinated with. Coming after "The Persian Boy", which was the best of her Alexander books, "Funeral Games" is a bit of a letdown. For one thing, it's lacking its main protagonist. For another, for some reason I can't fathom, Renault returned to the Latin spellings of many of the Greek and Macedonian names; for instance, Antipatros becomes Antipater. It wasn't necessary and it diminishes the sense of time and place. And thirdly, Renault went back to writing in the third person, as she did in "Fire From Heaven". Part of Renault's magic is that when she writes in the first person, she propels us right into the middle of the action; when she writes in the third person, it's like watching the action through a clear sheet of plate glass. We see it, but we're not part of it.
Furthermore, with Alexander out of the action, the rest of the figures are simply supporting players without a lead.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The absolute best historical fiction I've ever had the pleasure to read. All of her novels are amazing.Published 4 months ago by James P. White
This is the last of the Alexander the Great trilogy by Mary Renault. It is the story of what happened after the death of Alexander which was depressing enough. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Carolyn
My least favorite of Mary Renault's novels set in ancient times, because it's the most deeply depressing. Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. Snider
This is the book where Ms Renault had many sources to access and by now had developed an intimacy with time, place and characters. Read morePublished 10 months ago by ajbubbles
Alexander the Great is dead (this is not a spoiler), and the various men and even women who knew him (or of him) desperately claw to get on top of the pile and to rule over the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Crystal Starr Light
I've loved everything she has written. Mary brings the people of history alive and interesting. Fine end to the Persian Boy series.Published 16 months ago by TonyFusco