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I was very pleased to receive a new review today from the reader below. I tried to find Kelly to thank him/her for taking the time to post such a thoughtful critique. If Kelly is actually reading this blog, in addition to advising you to run right out and buy a lottery ticket, I extend that gratitude to you now.

(Spoiler follows.)

Alexandros' loss of freedom is, of course, a central theme of
The Bow of Heaven series, and yes, for dramatic purposes, it is not granted in The Other Alexander. I am not trying to sacrifice accuracy for the sake of story line, but I am trying to tell a readable yarn above all. I was, in fact, flattered, that someone who clearly knows Roman history far better than I saw fit to give me such high marks.

4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, well researched and great characters, November 10, 2012

This review is from: The Other Alexander, Book I of The Bow of Heaven (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Alexander, and as a Roman historian, I can be hard to please. I've given the book four stars rather than five simply because I felt there were a couple of plot points where the author brushed aside the character of his protagonists that he'd been carefully building, in order to achieve a dramatic moment. This was disappointing to me, but other readers may not feel the same.

(Minor spoiler follows)

I also had to take issue that the main character, who displays loyalty and courage, moves into his thirties without manumission, even after he has saved the life of a citizen and his master. He is too valuable to be given his freedom, the writer tells the reader. This is convenient for the plot, but disappointed me given how careful the author has been in crafting other aspects of Roman society and explaining these to the reader within the narrative. Manumission was not only the end of captivity for the Roman slave, it was also the culmination of a process of social integration, a process whereby the slave who had already been partially incorporated into Roman society through the social institutions of household, family, and patron-client friendships became politically assimilated into the Roman state. (Patterson, 1982). Crassus' failure to at least discuss this possibility with Alexander was a major flaw in the novel to me.
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