The Last King of Lydia

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The Last King of Lydia

The Last King of Lydia

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I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Croesus and Cyrus, the Conqueror and the conquered in an uneasy alliance. To an extent, this is a book about philosophy, but that makes it sound like one of those irritating stories where "the message" is clumsily wedged into the narrative, which it is not. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but I found it to be a compelling story of the ancient world. We watch as greed and power lead him to gamble his vast wealth and his very kingship in a confrontation with Persia. I was vaguely familiar with Herodotus's account of the wealthy King Croesus asking the sage Solon who was the happiest man, expecting the answer to be himself, but I hadn't realized the potential behind that tale.

If you absolutely hate anything remotely like spoilers, you might want to stop reading now, although I don't think these will qualify as plot revealers.

When the Athenian philosopher Solon visits his court, Croesus has an opportunity to ask him anything he likes. His conqueror, the Persian ruler Cyrus, signals to his guards; they step forward and touch flaming torches to the dry wood. We march with armies, both in the company of their leaders and their slaves, and we live in palaces filled with unthinkable treasures and mundane daily life. What makes this a special book is less to do with the events, the battles, the conquests and so on, but the effect on the characters. Leach weaves a beautiful narrative and brings the excesses of ancient Lydia to life with his expressive writing style.

On the surface, the book is an enjoyable adventure set in an ancient world, but the message of the book goes much deeper. I had never heard of the Lydian Empire but this book brings it's last king to life and tells a sweeping story of the rise and fall of empires, as well as the intimate story of slaves and kings. Only Isocrates, Croesus' slave, and his wife appear to be invented for the novel, and they add a level of novelty for the reader who knows his Herodotus. However, the format of the book is not implied or even conventional: it is not an action-packed thriller, although there is action in it; it is not a book of political intrigue (thank God), yet political intrigue features; and it is certainly not a murder mystery or fantasy story.As a book for young children I’d judge this book better, but I wouldn’t really recommend it to an audience older than that. Croesus is master of his own destiny and it is only his thoughtless behavior that will bring about his downfall. Our features are original articles from our print magazines (these will say where they were originally published) or original articles commissioned for this site.

We follow Croesus through the great siege of Babylon, where he doesn’t really belong but it’s interesting to see anyway. Teetered between 4 and 5 but in the end concluded that the extra star was worth it for the originality.He does a great job of giving his characters distinct personalities and worldviews, including some historical and pseudohistorical figures (e. It is a strange friendship that he strikes up with Isocrates as a fellow slave; an odd respect that he learns for his conqueror, the Persian King Cyrus. I would also question whether there is such a close relationship between a king and a slave (Croesus and Isocrates, Cyrus and Croesus), it is just too good to be true. To base a novel on the life of Croesus king of Lydia might appear to be easier, I suggest, than it actually is. This deeply wise novel of what it means to be human is perfect for readers of Mary Renault and David Malouf.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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