First Review of Throne of Darius

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Throne of Darius—A Review by Christopher Vorder Bruegge

First, let me note that I am the godfather of the author’s son. We are also partners in game design, most recently having had published Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea. And I was one of several proofreaders for this book.

If you want a story about Alexander the Great that portrays him as a wonderful general and ruler, you can find many such books on the shelves of libraries and bookstores. If you like contrarian stories that go against the grain of traditional history, this is the book for you.

The first of a planned trilogy, the book introduces the reader to three sometime heroes: a never-say-die Theban hoplite commander, his brother who is a curmudgeonly healer, and a young sidekick who was lamed in battle and has become something of an expert archer. Throughout the book they undertake missions against the backdrop of the early years of Alexander the Great’s reign starting with the defeat and destruction of their home city, Thebes. The story then moves across the Hellespont to Asia Minor as Alexander begins his (spoiler alert?) conquest of the Persian Empire.

The author knows his history, much more than I do, and presents it in a facile style that explains the essentials of the strategy of the campaign and the tactics in skirmishes and battles. His description of the Battle of the Granicos River is among the clearest I have ever read. Several maps are included that are helpful to view while reading the text.

This is a good well-researched historical novel, a fun read, and thought provoking to boot. There is comedy throughout, but in the end it is a bit of a Greek tragedy. You know it will all end badly, but you can’t help rooting for the underdogs of history.

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