by Christian Cameron

Reviewed by Coral

As an Athenian serving in the army of Alexander the Great, Kineas was both hostage and soldier. After being dismissed from Alexanderís army, he returns home to Athens only to be exiled for having served in the hated Macedonian kingís army.

As a mercenary, he is hired to train the citizens of Olbia by its tyrant. Arriving at the city, Kineas finds that the job may be more difficult than he expected. He comes to suspect that the cityís tyrant is using the army as a means to keep enemies in check. But there are also rumours that Alexanderís Macedonian regents need money and that an army marching to force Olbia to submit to them. If they are to survive, Kineas has very little time to turn an untrained and resentful group of men into a force capable of beating an army bent on conquering the world.

Originally I bought this book thinking it was a book about Alexander the Great (I didnít read the back of the book that closely at the time, I guess). But even with it having very little to do with Alexander, I enjoyed this book.

I always enjoy reading a book where the characters donít feel out of place. I have read way too many books set in a historical setting where the characters felt too modern to me (mostly in terms of modern prejudices or there were too many characters who didnít believe in the ancient gods).

I have only minor complaints about the book: the battle scenes tended to be a little long Ė thereís only so much I can read about slashing a sword this way and a javelin that way; there were too many poorly developed tertiary characters Ė some were introduced then they just disappeared; and the author wasnít very consistent in his grammar choices: either Nicomedesís or Nicomedesí. It was slightly annoying seeing both ways used (I had strict teachers who drilled consistency into my head).

I canít wait to read the second book in the series, after I find and buy it.

Grade: A