The Conqueror

by Judith E. French

Reviewed by Coral

Bactria and Sogdiana thought that their mountains would protect them from Alexander of Macedon's advancing troops. They didn't count on Macedonian soldiers being able mountaineers. Now, to save her people and to bind her kingdom to Alexander's, princess Roxanne consents to a marriage with this barbarian conqueror. But if Alexander thinks to have won himself a demure woman who will bend to his will, he has another thing coming.

I have pretty much regretted buying this book since 2 minutes after I bought it. It's been sitting in my pile of 'to read' books for almost 3 years now. I've put off reading it a couple of times and moved it to the back of the pile. I just had a feeling like it was going to be a bad book; and I was right.

I'm pretty sure that the key to a good romance novel is to have, at its core, a believable romance. For me, there was no romance in this book. There was never any time spent on believably moving the relationship between Roxanne and Alexander from lust to love. I also wish more of the story had been told from Alexander's point of view, because without it, it was hard for me to believe that he saw Roxanne as anything but an obsession, someone he had to have because she didn't want him.

The Roxanne character annoyed me from almost the first page. I have no first hand knowledge, of course, of what the historical Roxanne was like. For some reason, in the history books on Alexander the Great that I have read, she wasn't a primary focus, so I'm have no clue if the author even based this Roxanne on any historian's take on her, but one thing I know for sure, she was pretty much every cliché of a princess that you can find in a work of fiction; she can read (in a time / place where it's uncommon for women), she can ride, she can fight, she dresses up like a man to ride into battle but still gets herself captured and has to be rescued (more than once). The one thing she lacked was any common sense. Her character is where the book pretty much lost me. And, again maybe because there wasn't enough told from Alexander's point of view, but I couldn't understand why Alexander would put up with a woman who was always embarrassing him in front of his troops (and, yeah, supposedly because he loves her so much, but I didn't see that).

There are certain people in history that I've always been interested in. Alexander's general and friend Hephaestion is one of them. So, I will fully admit to being biased, but I disliked how he was portrayed in this book.

 Grade: F