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This engrossing and beautifully written first novel will catapult Waters into the ranks of such well-known writers of the classical world as Mary Renault, Steven Pressfield, and Michael Curtis Ford. Fourteen-year-old Roman boy Marcus's first sea voyage with his father ends violently when their vessel is overtaken by pirates, leaving Marcus the only survivor. This single event sets the course of his life. Overshadowing his youth spent as a merchant and, later, his time as a soldier in the war against Philip of Macedonia is an unquenchable thirst for revenge, which even his love for Menexenos, a beautiful, young Greek athlete, cannot ease. Waters brings the world of third-century B.C.E. Greece to vivid life. Skillfully interwoven into the fictional story of Marcus and Menexenos are actual events and people of the times-e.g., the struggle between Rome and Macedonia for the freedom of Greece, the early years of Roman influence and conquest, and the grace, dignity, and culture of the center of civilization, Greece. This first book in a planned series is highly recommended for public and university libraries.
—Jane Henriksen Baird