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The Conqueror's Wife Paperback – December 1, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Through the eyes of the fascinating and fierce women in Alexander's life, Thornton enchants the reader with a fresh new look at an ancient hero. Her accessible and energetic writing brings the ancient world to life while giving voice to the voiceless in this vivid tale of the women in the shadow of Alexander's glory. What a talent!”—Stephanie Dray, bestselling author of Lily on the Nile
"Stephanie Thornton boldly goes where other historical novelists might fear to tread. In her recounting of Alexander the Great's epic quest of conquest, as told through the eyes of the shrewd, ambitious and dangerous women surrounding him, she brings to life the treachery, glory, and intrigue of a fascinating ancient world."—C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel
“A conqueror slices through the ancient world on pages that writhe with ambition and danger, yet the reader is swept in by unexpected heroines. This gritty epic is voiced by the tenacious women who surrounded Alexander the Great, proving he would’ve been nothing of the sort without them.”—Marci Jefferson, author of Girl on the Golden Coin

About the Author

Stephanie Thornton is a history teacher and the author of novels about the forgotten women of history: The Tiger Queens, Daughter of the Gods, and The Secret History. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (December 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451472004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451472007
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer Rothwell VINE VOICE on December 26, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a novel with a very misleading title. “The Conqueror’s Wife” leads the reader to believe that it will be told from the perspective of one woman: the wife of Alexander the Great. This is not at all the case. The author strives to gain a wider perspective of Alexander by using multiple voices to tell the story. Four voices to be exact. Furthermore, only one of them was Alexander’s wife and it took until page 273 to find out who.

This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy this novel however, I did, but I found myself boggled by the title. In fact during the first few chapters it actually put me off the story a little. The multitude of voices when I expected just one caused me to find the beginning of the novel somewhat diluted. However I’m glad to say that as the novel progressed I became attached to all four characters and appreciated their varied outlooks upon the events of the novel. They are four very unique and vivid characters that highlighted the way of the world during Alexander’s reign.

Hephaestion, one of the four and the only male voice, was a childhood companion of Alexander that travelled by his side throughout his decade-long conquering campaign. It is amazing just how much Hephaestion, and all of Alexander’s loyal soldiers, were willing to give up in order to serve him. It is as though they truly thought him to be the God he declared himself to be and would follow him to Hades itself if he asked. In fact there are certain scenes in this novel that would make you think they were already there.

The author did a wonderful job of depicting the battle scenes, making them realistic and very fast-paced. I learnt much about how Macedonian battles were fought.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If I could describe Stephanie Thornton’s latest novel The Conqueror’s Wife in one word it would be Wow! I’ve read all but one of her books (which I will soon remedy) and this one is my favorite. Despite being almost 500 pages once I began reading I fell head long into an ancient world where the times and the people were ruthless. As I read I could smell the death and see the destruction as though I was walking the same path that Alexander the Great was on. Full of memorable characters and rich in historical detail Stephanie Thornton has weaved an amazing story about a great man and the women who loved him.

Alexander the Great was a powerful man but so were the women who stood behind him – they were strong, independent, and powerful in their own right and they all helped to shape the man Alexander was. There is Alexander’s half-sister Thessalonike who so badly wants to travel the world and wants nothing more than to go along with Alexander but she is forbidden to. Then we have the Persian princess Drypetis who refuses to let go of her traditions and customs despite Alexander taking her father’s throne. Finally there is the crafty Roxana who is extraordinarily beautiful and she uses that beauty to become Alexander’s queen. She’s a dangerous one though and will do anything to keep her crown. As Alexander comes to control an ever vaster empire he learns that not all are to be trusted and long after he’s taken his last breath these women will still be fighting to keep his legacy alive.

Before reading this novel I knew a bit about Alexander the Great but certainly not much. The more I read the more interested I became in all of the characters and I began to search online for more information. To me that is the sign of great historical fiction and a great author.
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What a read! My unabashed fandom of Stephanie Thornton's novels has continued with this book. Focused on the women (and men) of Alexander the Great, it covered the perspectives of Thessalonike (his fierce sister), Drypetis (the mechanics-obssesed daughter of King Darius), Roxana (Alexander's beautiful but scheming first wife), and Hephaestion (Alexander's male best friend). Each perspective covered different parts of Alexander's continual fight to conquer, including everything from sieges to political scheming. A different story of Alexander is also offered here; while he has gone down in history as one of the greatest conquerors and military leaders of all time, this book focused on his faults (including hubris).

Each chapter focused on a different character. I especially enjoyed this, as it allowed each character to have a more developed arc in the story. I found Roxana's development especially interesting, without giving any spoilers.

I also have to admit that I wasn't sure about the inclusion of Hephaestion's perspective at first, but as the story unfolded I saw how he was a very vital part of everything that happened. His friendship with Alexander had a significant impact on both of them and the inclusion of it in the story shed crucial light on Alexander's personality and behavior.

I've anticipated this book ever since finishing Thornton's previous work The Tiger Queens, and it entirely lived up to my expectations. The characters were well-developed, and the history was meticulously written and researched as well. I will add that there is quite a lot of graphic violence in the story. This was reflective of the historical era and political scheming that went on, so I personally didn't mind it so much, but it's something to keep in mind if you don't like intense violence in books. Overall, though, I would highly recommend this book to history buffs.

(I've posted this review on Goodreads as well.)
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