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Fires of Alexandria Paperback – July 7, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 187 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the Alexandrian Saga Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas K. Carpenter resides near St. Louis with his wife Rachel and their two children. He earned his degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Missouri Rolla. After finishing up his M.B.A. in the summer of 2006, he returned to his roots of writing fiction. When he’s not busy writing his next book, he’s playing soccer in the yard with his kids or getting beat by his wife at cards. He keeps a regular blog at www.thomaskcarpenter.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1463653700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463653705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This should be a 4 star book. It has a good plot, excellent characters. But the writing is atrocious (as a retired editor, I know whereof I speak). There are misplaced modifiers, incorrectly used homonyms, words used incorrectly, sentence fragments, and the kind of error that makes you say, "...what? what did I just read?" and you stop and go over it again to figure it out.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book and though there are some things that are a bit of a stretch it was reasonably believable.
From a bit of study Heron (or Hero) of Alexandria was a genius and did create a large variety of the wonders ascribed to him in the novel. I can even accept a German prince in Egypt though I really do think the Romans would have been a little more vigilant. Still this is an alternate history.
What is really annoying is that a talent is about 17 lbs of silver or gold. You do not carry that in your purse and lenders do not lend you that amount of money to someone who is not a prince or owns a lot of land.
So could the author please get your standards and measures right. The coinage of Alexandria would have been the silver drachma since it was a Greek city.
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Format: Paperback
Fires of Alexandria by Thomas Carpenter is the first book in the Alexandrian Saga. One thing I liked about the book is it is a fictional novel based on actual happenings. Most all who studied history in school learned about the Roman Empire and the great fires that took out the Library of Alexandria, and about Heron of Alexandria. As the author writes he brings back to life in this fictional account some of the greats and lesser known's such as Lysimachus the Alabarch who portrayed as a villainous debt collector in actuality was a cousin to Herod the Great.

As we get into the book we find Heron who was one of the greatest inventors and mathematicians there was is a woman. Taking on the role of Heron after her twin brother died she also took on his debts that he left behind. As she is called upon to find out who was the cause of the great fire she knows that this money will pay off the debts to Lysimachus as long as she can hold him off before he gets any ideas about her niece.

This is quite an enjoyable read that takes the reading back into the historical archives of history back to the years 350 BC to 10-70 AD. Back to when the Roman Empire ruled. If you are a historical buff and like to read fictional novels based on actual happenings, then you will enjoy this new saga. This book can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or on Smash-words either as a e-book or paperback.
I would like to thank the author for giving me the chance to read his book. I found this to be an enjoyable read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You can't write an alternate history, unless you really understand the life and times of the real events. Thomas K. Carpenter writes just such a novel. Gritty and compelling, it's the story of a woman, with the soul of an inventor who disguises herself as her dead brother to continue his work. Carpenter captures the sights and sounds of Alexandria, so much so that it has almost a cinematic feel. He portrays his characters with a mindset of the time, coupled with universal issues; a gangster moneylender,corruption, religious problems, invaders- this book has it all. The one thing I missed was a more feminine side to Ava or Heron. While the story had action, so much technical information for the people interested in inventions and how they work, what I missed was more of the human element. I enjoyed the interaction of her blacksmith with his wife- the most. Carpenter clearly has a deep love of ancient history,and the many facets of that time period. His enjoyment shows in every word he writes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is historical fiction based on some facts but with an extremely implausible story. I usually enjoy ancient history and gave it a good try.

The prose is not very skilled; it lacks editing, which took away from the interesting story. Don't even get me started on editing—it's what I do for a living. If the errors had been made during ebook conversion, that is a different situation and somewhat more forgivable.

There was a lot of repetition and the story dragged for me. The plot involved several elements that were too disparate to reconcile, and the "mystery" couldn't really be solved. However, the characters were well-drawn and interesting, which made up for a lot.
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Format: Paperback
Really fantastic alternate history/historical novel with an excellent lead character in the form of Heron, a mathematician and "miracle inventor" in the time of the Roman occupation of Alexandria. Heron, a real historical figure, is portrayed with a twist in Carpenter's book as a woman (the twin brother to the male Heron, who takes his identity when he dies, as she is the real mastermind of the pair, as portrayed in this novel).

The main premise surrounds the mystery surrounding the cause of the fires that burned down the Library of Alexandria...but the novel takes us through numerous other political intrigues happening at the time, as well as other historical figures Heron interacts with. There is also an interesting (fictional) character in the form of "the barbarian" from the North, who hires Heron to fashion for him a mechanical army from her "miracle" technologies, and in the process she prematurely invents the steam engine. Speaking of steam, in terms of the miracles themselves, there's a bit of a steampunk flavor the book at times, even without the actual steam power.

Overall, a huge recommend for strong characters, a believable alternate history (and interpretation of real history) that is completely fascinating and compelling. Add to that strong action, mystery and intrigue throughout the course of the novel, and it's a tough one to put down.
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