Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Review: Excerpt & Giveaway: The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton


A novel from the acclaimed author of The Tiger Queens, for readers looking for “strong and determined female protagonists” (Historical Novel Society) and “a sprawling historical saga” (Renee Rosen)...
We are the women who loved Alexander the Great. We were lovers and murderers, innocents and soldiers.
And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.
Instead he was a god.

330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.

His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander's boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia's throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.

Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…

Publication Date: December 1, 2015
NAL/Penguin Group LLC.
eBook, Paperback; 496 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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arc received as part of tour
*****

Stephanie Thornton became a favorite of mine with The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora and The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan. She writes about lesser known women of history - those that were close to the action, whether wife, lover or daughter of someone famous.  The Conqueror's Wife is no exception.

This is a time period I have never read before and knew next to nothing of Alexander the Great.  With that amount of knowledge it is always great to hunker down with no preconceived ideas of what to expect and can enjoy the ride.

Again Stephanie Thornton did not disappoint, she has that wonderful ability to breath life into her characters.  Each one of them with unique personalities and traits, it's through them that we get a clear picture of Alexander.  Alexander was a great man in his time, but it was through the women in his life that helped shape who he was.  With his half-sister, Thessalonike (determined and ready for action), Drypetis (warrior) or Roxana, (his beautiful queen) alternatively telling their story that we see who Alexander the Great was.  There is also his male friend Hephaestation that rounds out the narrative.

This isn't a small book, coming in at almost 500 pages leaving plenty of time for the strong character development here as well as depth to the story.  Even with these 4 narratives the story flowed along nice and smooth, Thornton's historical detail shows her knowledge of this time period, it wasn't hard to visualize so much that was taking place, it was easy to get lost in the pages.  I highly recommend The Conqueror's Wife to lovers of HF, especially those that crave strong lesser known women.

Be sure to read the prologue below and entry for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.



Prologue

Alexander deemed himself a god, the mythic descendant of Achilles and the son of Zeus, and entire nations fell to their knees in ecstatic worship of him. But he was no god any more than we were nymphs and dryads, benevolent four-hoofed centaurs or vengeful three-headed chimeras.

He called himself Alexander the Great and claimed that he conquered the world. But he would have been lucky to conquer a stinking midden heap populated by swarms of biting flies had it not been for our cunning and daring.

Alexander founded cities of culture and learning, and named them after himself in a fit of hubris. But he razed more cities than there are stars in the sky, slaughtered their men, and burned their ancient palaces so that the four winds carried the gray ashes to rain down upon lands more distant than Alexandria-the-Farthest.

 He claimed that the earth trembled, mountains quivered, and oceans overflowed their shores at his approach, but without us, Alexander would never have mounted a single golden throne or worn the coveted eagle diadem of Persia, much less the combined crowns of Greece, Egypt, and India.

Like Achilles, he sought glory and everlasting fame, and beseeched the gods that his name would echo throughout history. Yet so many of his baser deeds have been forgotten, or retold to forge him into a hero worthy of epic ballads.

But that is only part of the story.

It was because of him, and for him, that we did great, and also terrible, things.

Just as Zeus sat in his throne room atop Olympus, surrounded by the gods of violence and light, the goddesses of desire and the hearth, so too was Alexander surrounded by us.

His lover.

His sister.

His wife.

His soldier.

We were murderers and poisoners, innocents and warriors. And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.

Instead, he was a god.


03_Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

"The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora," "Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt," and "The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan" are available now. "The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great" will hit the shelves in December 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.




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6 comments:

  1. Great review. I haven't read anything by this author before but you have intrigued me. She sounds similar to Michelle Moran in that she focuses on strong women in history. Love that!

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    1. Thanks Laurie, I think you would definitely enjoy her books. Our library doesn't carry her but I have seen them at bookoutlet.ca (ever shop there?)

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  2. Wow ! That prologue sold it for me , sounds so amazing. I'm reading The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace and some Christmas novellas :)

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  3. Thanks for this fascinating historical which interests me greatly. I am reading A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. I love Stephanie Thornton. She is one of my favorite authors. I'm currently reading The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie.

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