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Persian Boy Paperback – August 7, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 690 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us―Hilary Mantel

The Alexander Trilogy stands as one of the most important works of fiction in the 20th century . . . it represents the pinnacle of [Renault's] career . . . Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty. It's a literary conjuring trick like all historical fiction - it can only ever be an approximation of the truth. But in Renault's hands, the trick is so convincing and passionately conjured. Nowhere is this more evident than in
The Persian Boy . . . Bagoas is a brilliant narrator. Rendered unreliable by his passion, he is always believeable and sympathetic . . . His Persian background allows him to see the king and his Macedonians through the questioning eyes of an alien'―Antonia Senior, The Times

Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty . . . a literary conjuring trick . . . so convincing and passionately conjured―
The Times

Renault's masterpiece. One of the greatest historical novels ever written―
Sarah Waters

Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours―
Madeline Miller

About the Author

Mary Renault (1905-1983) was born in London and educated at St Hughs, Oxford. She trained as a nurse at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary, where she met her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard. Her first novel, Purposes of Love, was published in1937. In 1948, after North Face won a MGM prize worth $150,000, she and Mullard emigrated to South Africa. There, Renault was able to write forthrightly about homosexual relationships for the first time - in her masterpiece, The Charioteer (1953), and then in her first historical novel, The Last of the Wine (1956). Renault's vivid novels set in the ancient world brought her worldwide fame. In 2010 Fire From Heaven was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Virago Press Ltd (August 7, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1844089584
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1844089581
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.96 x 1.57 x 7.8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 690 ratings

About the author

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Mary Renault (1905-1983) was best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece with their vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato and Alexander the Great.

Born in London in 1905 and educated at the University of Oxford, she trained as a nurse at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary where she met her lifelong partner, fellow nurse Julie Mullard. After completing her training she wrote her first novel, Purposes of Love, in 1937. In 1948, after her novel North Face won a MGM prize worth $150,000, she and Mullard emigrated to South Africa.

It was in South Africa that Renault was able to write forthrightly about homosexual relationships for the first time - in her last contemporary novel, The Charioteer , published in 1953, and then in her first historical novel, 1956's The Last of the Wine, the story of two young Athenians who study under Socrates and fight against Sparta. Both these books had male protagonists, as did all her later works that included homosexual themes. Her sympathetic treatment of love between men would win Renault a wide gay readership.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
690 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 24, 2014
9 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 6, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

Dr W. H. Konarzewski
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of historical fiction
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 30, 2017
15 people found this helpful
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Ben Kane
5.0 out of 5 stars They were right, all those people who told me Renault's books were pure gold
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 12, 2016
8 people found this helpful
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Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Trilogy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 2, 2012
5 people found this helpful
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B. Douglas
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic must-read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 19, 2017
4 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 16, 2021
One person found this helpful
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