Fire from Heaven

Fire from Heaven

4.0 7
by Mary Renault

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The story of young Alexander the Great.


The story of young Alexander the Great.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:

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“Written with her usual vigor and imagination...Mary Renault has a great talent.”–The New York Times Book Review

Alexander’s beauty, strength, and defiance were apparent from birth, but his boyhood honed those gifts into the makings of a king. His mother, Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for their son’s loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance from the cradle. His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while Aristotle’s tutoring provoked his mind and Homer’s Iliad fueled his aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve, he became regent at sixteen and commander of Macedon’s cavalry at eighteen, so that by the time his father was murdered, Alexander’s skills had grown to match his fiery ambition.

Meet the Author

Mary Renault was born in London and educated at Oxford. She then trained for three years as a nurse, and wrote her first published novel, Promise of Love. Her next three novels were written while serving in WWII. After the war, she settled in South Africa and traveled considerably in Africa and Greece. It was at this time that she began writing her brilliant historical reconstructions of ancient Greece, including The King Must Die, The Last of the Wine, and The Persian Boy. She died in Cape Town in 1983.

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Fire from Heaven 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ashley_UNC More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley from Open Road Integrated Media. The story of Alexander the Great is quite an undertaking. The politics of ancient Greece, with its kings and lords and constant wars could very easily make for a dry read. But Mary Renault has a gift for storytelling, especially storytelling that evokes Greek mythology. This is the first novel of her trilogy about Alexander, and it follows his story from the time he is a toddler living in the women’s chambers to the day he must take control of a vast kingdom and unruly army while he is still in his teens. Renault describes Alexander’s childhood with impressive sensitivity. Raised by a father and mother who were relentlessly at each other’s throats, Alexander is forced to take sides time and time again, and Renault allows the reader to see the cost of this consistent pressure on a growing boy. You can’t help but admire Alexander as he learns to navigate the waters of political and personal pressures, basically teaching himself how to be a man. He makes some mistakes, but you can see that the lessons he learns from them will enable him to be the King who forms one of the largest empires the world will ever know. I read and loved Renault’s books about Theseus (The Bull from the Sea and The King Must Die), and I think this story is every bit as good. I can’t help but agree with Hilary Mantel – one of the best things about Renault’s writing is her refusal to explain or interpret ancient Greek customs and traditions through a modern lens. She doesn’t try to excuse or judge her characters’ actions. Even though the setting is completely foreign to me, I still felt like her characters were actual people, and I could understand their struggles or joys. Alexander lived over two thousand years ago, but Renault’s story made him real to me. I sympathized with his frustrations over his parents, and the scene where he first rides his famous horse, Bucephalus, made me cry. I will definitely continue with this trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary Renault is an amazing writer. She entwines the history of Alexander The Great's life with the fiction of how his life might've gone with specific events. She adds so many emotions to the usually dry history..However, I was dissapointed that there was not more involving Hephaestion. I'm trying to be an Alexander The Great buff, and I naturally focus on Alexander and Hephaestion's relationship. So, I was dissapointed because usually concerning their relationship it's the whole heated debate on whether they were friends or lovers (I say both, but agree lovers), and I wished here there was more on their relationship...Hephaestion does not show up until the end of the beginning of the book/100? pages into the book (and when he does, he's only to return much later, years later). Still, it was an amazing book, you'll probably read it all in 1 day like I did :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
There have been many books written about Alexander The Great, but none have been as well-written as this one by Mary Renault. I must admit that Mary Renault is my favorite author though I've never really hated any of her books there were some I liked better than others and this is one of them. 'Fire From Heaven' tells the story of young Prince Alexander Of Macedon; the son of Philip II and Queen Olympias. It begins when Alexander is four years old and ends when he's twenty and having just inherited the Kingdom Of Macedon after his father's assassination by the Captain of his own bodyguard. Like a previous historical fiction novel written by Mary Renault that I've reviewed here I have to tell you that 'Fire From Heaven' is a great book and I recommend it to anyone interested in the life of Alexander The Great. In this book Mary Renault gives her theory on the upbringing that made Alexander The Great the man he was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is the cover on the page the actual one? Because if ti is that isn't Alexander the Great that is Elagabolus a Roman Emperor.