- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (February 12, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394751019
- ISBN-13: 978-0394751016
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 152 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Persian Boy Paperback – February 12, 1988
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From the Inside Flap
"It takes skill to depict, as Miss Renault has done, this half-man, half Courtesan who is so deeply in love with the warrior."-"The Atlantic Monthly
The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander's life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom with Alexander after the Macedon army conquered his homeland. Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes-mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper. After Alexander's mysterious death, we are left wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his ambitions better than anyone.
About the Author
Mary Renault died in 1983.
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Top customer reviews
First, she starts out with Bagoas's boyhood. Doing so she is successful in educating her reader about Persian people and their culture/customs, the environment and the way it was back then, to prepare us for deeper understanding of the future events. The first one-third of the book is about Bagoas's boyhood, mostly about his court life, which tells what had happened inside the Persian Empire before Alexander actually came into scene. This is a very smart start, because by the time Darius was killed, and his murderer Bessus was arrested by Alexander and executed, with nose and ears cut off, the reader is well prepared to understand why it had to be done that way. She also explains well the reason why Alexander became so Persianized, which created resentments and mutinies and lots of problems. Mary Renaults does the best job in making the reader understand this crucial point which cast shadow over him until he died.
As for homosexuality and the love scenes, it is not as disturbing, since it is not graphic at all. Transparent, clean, and good taste.
She also brings other characters to life. All that she mentions by their names, the reader will know what kind of person he/she was. Whether her portrayal of Alexander and the way she used the well-known events to develop the characters and story are factual or not, she will convince you effortlessly. Remarkable work, well-studied, well-reasoned, well-developed. You will not be able to put it down once you open the first page.
Renault's writing style pulled me into the story and made me feel as if I were there.
It took the reader on a journey with Alexander through battles on the ground and battles in the heart.
A deposed prince who was forced to become a eunuch. It was hard going in the beginning, but he found King Darius and it seems his good training was preparing him for the best years of his life and the last eight years of Alexander's life.
Although he finally found love in Alexander's arms, he resented the fact that he had to share Alexander's love with Hephaestion... who took up the rest of Alexander's heart. At one point Bagoas thought about killing Hephaestion but his love for Alexander stopped him. He couldn't bear to think about Alexander being sad.
When Hephaestion died, it was at that point that Bagoas wished it was him in order that he would not see Alexander's inconsolable grief.
This kind of love for Alexander comes not only from Bagoa, Hephaestion, but his troops and other kings he conquered.