He remains a beacon, an icon, arrested in mid-career, a meteor streaking for all eternity toward an infinite future.
The Greeks who cursed him as a barbarous killer in his lifetime, but over the millennia came to see him as the brightest torch-bearer of the Hellenic spirit, are proof enough of that. There's obviously much a writer of fiction can do with such paradox. The easy way out, for a popular novelist in particular, would be to make Alexander a pleasing action hero and "torch-bearer" of culture.
Pressfield though, to his great credit, takes the far harder route, giving us an Alexander who is a creature of his own selfish ambitions. This Alexander is an anti-hero, which presents challenges to the reader, because we are so disaffected from Alexander's long march of war, and for the author; but, for the reader who sticks with him, Mr. Pressfield offers real rewards.
Nothing could be further from the fact. I will rout them by my will alone. Think, instead, of how horrible the East always capital 'E' is - with its empires and kings and oppressed farmers. Enter your email to sign up. When you hear that name, what do you think of? I believe in the Muse. May 19, Cassandra Kay Silva rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction.
The conceit of the novel is that Alexander has a demon, a "daimon" in Mr. However when a fight was called for he felt empathy and even love for the valor of those men he would go up against.
Alexander was merciless to those who were disrespectful of him or acted without honor. Early in his career he burned the great city of Thebes to the ground when they revolted against his garrison forces, making them an example for all of Greece to see. He fought at the forefront of his troops and inspired through his own acts of bravery and daring.
His obsession was the sole pursuit and eventual fight with Darius, the Ruler of most of Asia at the time. Darius was responsible for the murder of King Phillip, sought to assassinate Alexander as well, and conspired to turn Greeks against Alexander. Author Steven Pressfield is the master of the battlefield, and The Virtues of War , his first novel about Alexander the Great, centers firmly on the Macedonian's military genius.
It is a first-person account, dictated while his army is stalled on the Indus and near mutiny; the focus of his retrospective is the victories that would eventually bring him to the edge of the known world. After a terse account of Alexander's childhood, Pressfield offers his own version of a battle also treated in Renault's Fire from Heaven when King Philip's Macedonians took the field against the Thebans and Athenians at Chaironea, and won victory with a precisely judged cavalry led by Alexander.
This version is far heavier on military details, and far less romantic than Renault's in its treatment of "The Sacred Band," the elite Theban corps said to have been comprised of paired lovers. That's a claim Pressfield dismisses with a few pragmatic lines.