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2 Ratings: 3.5
a book by Faye Turner
1 review about Traces

Very good historical fiction

  • Apr 28, 2009
  • by

Set in the world of Ancient Greece, this book gives an alternative view of the rise of Alexander the Great.

Told through the eyes of a fictional physician named Wallis, this looks at the political and social climate of the time. Traveling all around the Aegean and Adriatic Seas, he brings food that is desperately needed by an Athens suffering from a major drought. He organizes the Merchant's and Artisan's Guild of Athens into something like a labor union; together they can get better prices for their wares than separately. Trained as a physician by Hippocrates himself, Wallis (also known as Daneion Pelos) heals the sick as best he can.

Wallis spends much of his time worrying about Olympias, a Princess of Epirus. She is living in the court of Philip II, and she is pregnant with Alexander the Great (the gods have said so). It's no secret to anyone that it would not be good for Olympias to produce a female baby. Wallis gets word of a very high-level plot brewing in Philip's court. If Olympias produces a male heir, it will be switched at birth with another newborn. At some point, Philip will publicly decree that this is his rightful heir. Suddenly, the real heir will be produced, Philip will be publicly humiliated, and will be forced to give up the throne. During all this, Olympias will mysteriously "die during childbirth." Wallis is Olympias' only friend in the area, so it is up to him to keep anything peculiar from happening while Olympias is busy with giving birth.

This is a good piece of historical fiction. My only problem with this book has nothing to do with the actual book. When reading a series, I am one of those who has to do it in order; I don't like starting in the middle (this is Part 2). For those who are interested in ancient history, this has plenty of good writing, and is worth reading.

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April 29, 2009
Good to see you back, Paul! This book sounds really interesting- I always love stories of political corruption. Did you think it was pretty historically accurate?
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