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Assyrian Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1988

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Tiglath Ashur Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in ancient Ashur (called Assyria by Greeks), this absorbing epic novel dramatically portrays two royal half-brothers whose childhood camaraderie later gives way to acrimony and violence. Tiglath and Esarhaddon, sons of aging King Sennacherib, grow up amicably and share rigorous military training. Their friendship dissolves when the king's priest proclaims the gods' decree that Esarhaddon will be the next monarch. Resentful of Sennacherib's preference for Tiglath and not eager to assume his prospective duties, Esarhaddon dreads his fate, while noble Tiglath unhappily refrains from usurping the throne out of a concern for his country's well-being. Even more disturbing to Tiglath, however, is the certainty that his lover, comely Esharhamat, must become the future sovereign's bride. Reeling with grief, Tiglath leaves Ashur to become a seasoned conqueror worthy of his compatriots' homage, yet a momentous clash between him and Esarhaddon still awaits. Guild (The Berlin Warning masterfully describes court intrigues and the feverish panorama of the battlefield, but the book's abundant merit lies in its timelessness and universality. This story of a passionately moral man torn among amorous longings, the seductiveness of power, fraternal emotion and cognizance of his nation's welfare holds many contemporary implications. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a quick moment of bravery, indicative of the man-to-be, young Tiglath Ashur stays the hand of the priest who is about to make him a eunuch. Assyrian law in the 7th century B.C. required that all sons of a king but one be castrated in order that there be no question of the succession. Tiglath Ashur and his brother Esarhaddon are close friends from childhood. They share games, secrets, initiation into the warrior's world, and even the same woman, until the question of succession arises. Tiglath, the natural leader, is the popular hero, but treachery places Esarhaddon on the throne, thus replacing brotherly love with hatred. This sprawling epic of unbridled ambition is overlong with battles, tortures, and debauchery. Homeric similes and metaphors and careful detail do, however, re-create a little-known historical period. A map would have been helpful. For larger fiction collections. Joan Hinkemeyer, Englewood P.L., Col.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (September 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440201977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440201977
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Renaud on June 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was a teenager, I absolutely loved this novel. Nicholas Guild's "The Assyrian" is probably one of the best introductions to Mesopotamia I can think of, and it propelled me to further study ancient Middle Eastern history, especially that of Assyria and Persia. This story is a colosally juicy read, with a fantastic amount of detail, and it mainly involves the adventures of the wronged yet virtuous prince, Tiglath Ashur, and his conflicted relationship with his brother, Esarhaddon, and his love for the lady Esharhamat, Esarhaddon's promised bride. There's lots of bloodshed, brutality, sex, and luridly described battle scenes, exotic religious rituals, and- most interestingly- visions of gods and other descriptions of ancient Assyrian spirituality. The Homeric/biblical style of the novel is flawless, and there is- thank God- no annoyingly preachy Judeo-Christian overtones. The inventive energy of the story is very engaging, and there's no boring exposition; nor does the plot seem to drag at any point, which is one of the biggest problems I have with epics of this sort.

However, I don't mean to say that "The Assyrian" doesn't have its share of problems. I've read this novel three times, and like such movies as "The Incredibles," this book does not seem to hold up on subsequent readings. Upon analysis and study, the number of cliches in this book are absolutely staggering. For starters, our hero Tiglath is dismayingly like a male Mary Sue (the fanfic term for a too-good-to-be-true protagonist). Not only does he have unusually light-colored hair and eyes, but he's brave, good, loyal, handsome, honest, romantic, etc. etc. In fact, I began to wonder: "does he have ANY faults?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The other reviewers had good things to say about this book, so liking history & ancient Mesopotamia in particular I gave it a try. I got about 100 pages in & had to give up. This book has no true flavor of ancient Assyrian culture. Not very interesting characters against a cardboard background that could have been anywhere or any when. Also, the numerous references to silver & copper coins was distracting as coins had not been invented & the ancient Assyrians & Babylonians never made coins. Such an obvious factual mistake in research makes one question how many other mistakes of fact the author made. Anyway, the book was not for me. Anyone wanting a truly good work of historical fiction set in ancient times should read Gore Vidal's "Julian", Robert Grave's "I, Claudius", or Mary Renault's "Last of the Wine" and "Mask of Apollo".
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
While reading this wonderful book for the first time I felt I personally took part in all the great battles and adventures of the protagonist of this book, Tiglat Assur!
The books contains everything that marks an extraordinary book:
A significant protagonist, some strong opponents, a great love story, a story full of intrigues, little cruelties and unforgettable battle scenarios.
In addition to all these singular incidents the author tries to emphasize why such an august realm as the Assyrian one which was the greatest realm of its time could perish!

If you ever find this book in any bookstor or library, then go buy it!
This is simply the best book I ever had the honour to read, better even than "The Lord of the Rings" by Tolkien.
You will find many fictional elements in book as well:
Different godhoods that really seem to exist, and a floridness atmosphere on all the places the plot takes place!
All the approximately 550 pages are fraught with tension and interesting information about the Assyrian realm.
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By A Customer on December 31, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It seems that this book is on a "hard to find" list of books. This is really a shame, because it is the type of book that should be on everyone's shelf. The story of Tiglath's early life is infused with passion and drive, yet balanced with depth of thought and awareness of consequences. This does not imply that the pendulum cannot swing to either extreme-simply consider Tiglath's ill-fated love affair with the king-to-be's bride. A realistic portrayal of human nature, it demonstrates how circumstance can alter relationships (i.e. frienship) and set the course of people's lives. The historical setting was richly presented, with avid detail of the times, customs, and mentality of the people. There was so much vitality in this book that its closing statement made me pause with wonder-so much had happened in so short a span of Tiglath's life! If you get the chance to read this book, DO TAKE IT! It was so well conceived that since reading it, I have hoped for a sequel (after all, is not the door left open in the end?).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I totally adore this book! The second one, The Blood Star, is even better than The Assyrian. It is so good, that I bought the 2 books on hardcover long ago, after I had first read them out of the local library, and have kept them until today. And, over the years, I have subsequently read them 2 more times, because I love the story so much. You see, it feels like the author had a front row sit to how the Assyrian empire functioned, so long ago. I am actually willing to bet that Mr. Guild is an incarnation of an Assyrian prince.
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