|Digital List Price:||$3.99|
|Print List Price:||$17.99|
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Fires of Alexandria (Alexandrian Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
Kindle Feature Spotlight
|Length: 340 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Second, I confess, I’m not usually a historical reader, so my perceptions may be slanted by my lack a familiarity with the genre. Not being an ancient history buff, my reading wasn’t diminished comparing the story with facts, either. But I appreciated that there were notes at the end of the book indicating what was fact and what was fiction, and I was surprised how much truth was woven into the storyline.
That said, I’m sure historical facts back up the horrible treatment of people in the book, but I found the squalor and abuse so off-putting that I had to take breaks during my reading to distance myself from its realistically historic picture. So I’d say the characters and story drew me in effectively, though I was disturbed by the violence and constant threat overhanging the inventor and her niece. I’m sure bad things happen these days, but it seemed so societally pervasive that I’m very glad that era is past.
I most enjoyed the idea that the great inventor was actually a disguised woman. Her clever creativity and imaginative inventions are among the most absorbing parts of the story.
Fires of Alexandria graphically portrays a slice of ancient life; if that is the sort of historic read you prefer, this one is worth your while. I think I’d rather gloss over the deplorable abusive conditions and stick with sanitized history texts.
There are also a couple of places where key transitions are made, the main characters figure something out, and it's not clear what they base their insight upon. Again, you stop and say to yourself, what made them see that.... And, of course, a few problems with commas and apostrophes scattered here and there.
In spite of the writing, the story is excellent and carries the reader through to the end. Each character has his/her own voice and is memorable, even the bad guys.
But please, Mr. Carpenter, hie thee to an editor! It distresses me greatly to see a good book ruined unnecessarily by poor composition.
The more important part of the plot concerns Heron, the master artificer of Alexandria and the mechanical war machines Heron designs and manufacturers for a barbarian king from a region north of the Roman Empire. A little twist is that Heron is impersonating her dead twin brother as the laws and customs of Alexandria and Rome do not allow women to own businesses and perform men's work. The penalty if found out is death. As one can gather from the construction of the mechanical war machines and soldiers, the plot diverges from actual history.
The novel is fairly well written but there are some grammatical and editing errors. The story flowed well enough for me that I found the errors to be small nuisances rather than major distractions. A nice and useful touch is the afterword explaining some of the actual history.
The only thing stopping me from rating it five stars was my confusion in the first half of the book over Heron's gender. I'm not going to say anything more, as I don't want it to be a spoiler, but maybe it was just my interpretation which was off?
The story kept me turning the pages. I love all the nods to history throughout the book, and this is certainly my favourite type of historical fiction. Now I want to revisit Alexandria with even just the small glimpse of its history I got from reading this book.
I've already bought book #2 in the series and am loving the reintroduction to the characters I came to care about.
The main problems are the pedestrian style and the uninteresting characters. The characters do not come to life. It was a chore to finish the book.
Combining a barbarian from present day northern Europe with a "man" from the ancient city added another layer to the intrigue swirling in the famous town.
A quick, enjoyable read filled with information presented in understandable language and good writing.
Most recent customer reviews
Period... but this one fell a little short.Read more