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Of Merchants and Heroes

by Paul Waters

      Young Roman Marcus and his father are crossing to Corfu when they are set upon by Ilyrian pirates.† When Marcusí father sacrifices his life to save his son, Marcus vows to be avenged upon Dikaiarchos and his crew.† This is going to take him on a long journey, both physically and spiritually that will see him out of childhood to make him a man of his times.

There are plenty of books about Alexander the Great and his campaigns, but this is not one of them.† Instead, this story is set at the time of Philip V of Macedon and his exploits against the city states of Greece, and the war in Carthage.† Marcus is indeed cursed to live in "interesting times" and this thoughtful book makes the most of them, letting us see it all through his eyes.† As this is about pirates you would expect it to be an exciting adventure story and there are plenty of incidents in here, but it is not truly that type of book.† Instead, it is a tale about growing up and becoming an adult, the loss of innocence but the gaining of experience and a place in the scheme of things.† It is not a fast read, but the sort of well-written novel that needs to be savored like a fine wine.† Not the sort of thing that comes along very often, but possibly destined to be well thought of for a long time, especially if the author goes on to write other books.

The Book

Macmillan UK
1 February 2008
0230530311 /9780230530317
Fiction / Historical / Late 3rd century BC / Various places in the Mediterranean
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008