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When I started this book, I was unaware that it was part 2 in a trilogy about the life of Alexander the Great I just saw it on some best LGBT literature list and bought it This 1972 book spans the life of Alexander from the age of 26 until his death, and is written from the POV of Bagoas, a eunuch and courtier that really existed According to wikipedia Bagoas won a dancing contest after the Macedonian crossing of the Gedrosian Desert The Macedonian troops, with whom Bagoas was very popula When I started this book, I was unaware that it was part 2 in a trilogy about the life of Alexander the Great I just saw it on some best LGBT literature list and bought it This 1972 book spans the life of Alexander from the age of 26 until his death, and is written from the POV of Bagoas, a eunuch and courtier that really existed According to wikipedia Bagoas won a dancing contest after the Macedonian crossing of the Gedrosian Desert The Macedonian troops, with whom Bagoas was very popular, demanded that king Alexander should kiss Bagoas, and he did so Well, in this book they dothan kiss Bagoas falls head over heels with for Alexander and Alexander reciprocates, even though the true love of his life is clearly his best friend Hephaestion Strangely, this dramatic dynamic is only scarcely touched upon Bagoas is jealous, but mostly Hephaestion is talked about in passing Even his death and Alexander going crazy from it also canonically true, apparently is dealt with pretty quickly Which I thought was a missed opportunity I didn t really like Bagoas much and I m also not sure what Alexander saw in him, beside a pretty and exotic boy But I did like seeing Alexander through Bagoas eyes The middle part of the book was a bit slow It was mostly about war and cultural clashes between Macedonians and Persians, and while I learnt some new things, I almostinterested in the characters If I wanted to complain about something, it would be that I wantedpersonal depth evenAlexander, of whom men tell many legends, lived by his own Achilles must have Patroklos He might love his Briseis but Patroklos was the friend till death At their tombs in Troy, Alexander and Hephaistion had sacrificed together Wound Patroklos, and Achilles will have your blood The book made me think of themodern The song of Achilles , not just because Achilles and Patroclus relationship is referenced a lot in this book Alexander and Hephaestion both compared themselves to them, which yeah, no wonder people thought they werethan just best friends , but because of the similar Old Gay Greece Literature theme Well I didn t really like The Song of Achilles, I thought the writing was very YA This here, however, is literature It s dense and it took mehours than usual to get through the 400 pages, but it was really worth it I definitely want to read the first and the third part of the trilogy now No wonder this book is still revered It still feels fresh and relevant Maybe the timeless Old Greece topic helps, but mostly the writing is just really goodI doubt he d ever in his life lain down with anyone for whom he had not felt some kind of fondness He needed love as a palm tree needs water, all his life long from armies, from cities, from conquered enemies, nothing was enough It laid him open to false friends, as anyone will tell you Well, for all that, no man is made a god when he is dead and can do no harm, without love He needed love and never forgave its betrayal, which he had no understanding of For he himself, if it was given him with a whole heart, never misused it, nor despised the giver He took it gratefully, and felt bound by it. The Persian Boy follows on from Fire From Heaven and takes us to the heart of Alexander s life story his travels and conquests of the Persian empire as Macedonian king.The first thing I noted straight away was that The Persian Boy has a different feel from Fire From Heaven Fire From Heaven is told in traditional third person but mainly from the perspective of the young Alexander, and the story ends just as Alexander becomes king Before going into this book I expected The Persian Boy to direct The Persian Boy follows on from Fire From Heaven and takes us to the heart of Alexander s life story his travels and conquests of the Persian empire as Macedonian king.The first thing I noted straight away was that The Persian Boy has a different feel from Fire From Heaven Fire From Heaven is told in traditional third person but mainly from the perspective of the young Alexander, and the story ends just as Alexander becomes king Before going into this book I expected The Persian Boy to directly follow on, with Alexander crossing over into Anatolia, and the titular character of Bagoas to be a significant character but the story told once again third person mainly from Alexander s perspective In fact The Persian Boy promptly discarded those expectations Told entirely from Bagoas point of view in first person, the early part of the story covers Bagoas early life and Alexander doesn t make an appearance until after the Battle of Gaugamela and Darius death, when Bagoas is gifted to Alexander s court I m not sure if I like this or not With this approach, the reader misses out on some of Alexander s key and most famous conquests the Battle of Granikos, the Battle of Issos, the Siege of Tyre, the liberation of Egypt and the visit to the Siwa oracle, the decisive Battle of Gaugamela and Alexander s first entry into Babylon as the new Great King of the Persian Empire For me, as someone who thinks Alexander s life is fascinating, this is somewhat disappointing On the other hand, I wonder if I can really blame Renault for this She decided to tell Alexander s life from someone close to him and someone who at the same time provides the flip Persian perspective, and Bagoas himself is an interesting historical figure Once she picked that path, she stuck to it, and I can respect that I should have thought it went without saying, but recently, notably in Philippa Gregory s The Cousins War series, I can t help but notice historical fiction written in first person being done very awkwardly, with events that occur outside the character s knowledge being dealt with by jarring switching out to third person omniscient just for the one battle scene in the book, or a stream of convenient but tiresome messengers being used I m not a big fan of first person in historical fiction because it s limiting, but if an author s going to do it I think they should stick to it, after all what s the point of using first person if you re not going to tell one individual s unique story through their own eyes Renault never gets bogged down in messengers either, for events Bagoas doesn t personally experience instead, the character hears direct from other characters what happened, or summarises, neatly but with enough detail, what he later discovered happened.Another interesting point about using Bagoas as this story s narrator, as I ve mentioned, is the perspective this character brings to events The character of Bagoas is not just a modern person thrown into a past setting expressing 21st century values, as some characters that populate historical fiction are He s not even a random person from ancient times Renault has carefully and very cleverly written her Bagoas with his authentic, unique values and bias intact This Bagoas has pride in Persian customs and traditions, and, at least at first, finds the Macedonians uncouth, barbaric, and ignorant Even towards the end of the book he continues to be pleased by Alexander s efforts to reconcile Macedonian and Persian administration of the empire, and believes that Alexander s adopting of Persian customs is him coming into harmony with them I really admire how well thoughtfully and subtly this has been done Renault has succeeded in imbuing her character with realistic values and opinions for his place and time, and yet at the same time it was always clear to me as the reader where this bias was exerting itself when Bagoas offered an opinion the reader is not supposed to wholesale believe Bagoas, but sees where his opinions are directed by his biases, and decide for themselves This is another crucial skill in historical fiction Novels that end up with caricatured villains and good guys see to push the good guys angle on the reader I prefer the novels that stand back and show each side as realistic and human and whilst they don t put words in the mouths of their characters, they leave the reader free to draw our own conclusions and the truth is that human history is far too complex and subtle to just be goodies versus baddies So I, for one, appreciate this realistic yet lucid portrayal that Mary Renault paints in The Persian Boy Fire From Heaven was the first in a trilogy Perfectly judged, written with a deft touch that made it wonderful magic to read But when I closed the book I knew there wasto come, I knew Fire From Heaven was building up to The Persian Boy The Persian Boy is the rich heart of Renault s Alexander trilogy Although some key events are omitted due to narrative choice, the book still covers Alexander s campaigns in Baktria, Sogdiana, and India, and some of his toughest ordeals This is Alexander the man, Alexander the Great King At just over 400 pages it s longer than most historical novels these days, but it feels like a true epic twice as long, such is the breadth and scope of Renault s vision and indeed such was the grand scope of Alexander s life I love a good epic I feel like they have the room to explore the detail and subtleties of historical people and events, and Renault certainly does so here She s a master of show and tell, building up Alexander and the others through their actions and only telling in places where Bagoas mentions being told about an event before the characters met I can t quite get over how sophisticated Renault s characters are It takes real patience to build up characters onion layer style, but it s the most realistic method, and after reading so many historical novels where the characters are unchanging and flat, their personality conveyed by the narrator repeatedly telling the reader about the same tic or quirk over and over again, this is so wonderful and sublime What strikes me about authors that can successfully create three dimensional characters is that everything is so carefully thought out and planned Like with the characters, the plot too is mapped out in an advance, and every single scene advances that plot and the characters no superfluous fluff Authors like George R R Martin, and, in the historical fiction genre, Sharon Penman and Pauline Gedge The late Mary Renault is right up there with the best of them Her dedication to historical authenticity is commendable too, as her author s note plainly shows In The Persian Boy she weaves a seamless vision of the life of Alexander that swept me away for unknown hours until I turned the last page.Highly recommended.10 out of 10P.S Interestingly, Renault has a pertinent comment in her author s note regarding what has been seen as a very modern debate in historical fiction the book was published in 1973 dedication to historical accuracy History often shows that the same debates and complaints recur, it seems this is no different As regards the ancient world, the political motives of these i.e Roman commentators opposed to imperial rule unconvincing attempts to show Alexander corrupted by success are clear enough More puzzling is a present day outbreak of what one may call black washing, since it goes far beyond a one sided interpretation of facts to their actual misinterpretation A recent popularisation says only of Philotas execution that it was on a trumped up charge , though his concealment of the assassination plot is agreed on by all the sources What would be the position of a modern security guard who, informed there was a bomb on the royal plane, decided not to mention it Hephaistion is fundamentally stupid, though in not one of his highly responsible independent missions, diplomatic as well as military, was he ever unsuccessful Alexander is baldly accused of compassing his father s death, though not only is the evidence, literally, nil Philip had not even a viable alternative heir to supply a motive Severe alcoholism is said to have hastened Alexander s end any general practitioner could explain what a severe alcoholic s work capacity is, and what his chance of surviving lung perforation, unanaesthetised field surgery, and a desert march After the gesture of the troops at Alexander s deathbed, an event unique in history, it is somewhat surprising to be told that few people mourned him That there are fashions in admiration and denigration is inevitable they should not however be followed at the expense of truth. After thinking about this bookI had to change the rating The lack of my perfect Hephaistion ruined the book for me He was the most important person in Alexander s life, for goodness sake It doesn t matter if they were actually lovers or not He was the only person who loved Alexander as a person And that s why Alexander valued his opinion the most Hephaistion never lied to Alexander, if he thought that the king was wrong, he said it He was a very brave man, capable of doing amazing After thinking about this bookI had to change the rating The lack of my perfect Hephaistion ruined the book for me He was the most important person in Alexander s life, for goodness sake It doesn t matter if they were actually lovers or not He was the only person who loved Alexander as a person And that s why Alexander valued his opinion the most Hephaistion never lied to Alexander, if he thought that the king was wrong, he said it He was a very brave man, capable of doing amazing things People envied and hated him because of Alexander s love and trust for him Even though the nature of their relationship has never been confirmed, I believe that the fact that they did truly visit the tomb of Patroclus and Achilles makes the matter quite clear Mary Renault compared them to these two in this novel, which is another reason why I can t understand why Hephaistion was so heartbreakingly at least for me absent in this book.And Bagoas I HATED HIM I hated him so much that even though the book was well written, I just wanted to finish it as quickly as possible He was an annoying, whiny, useless, false, lying crybaby I wish I could use Polish swear words to describe him, they re so strong P He was just a pretty boy, nothingI didn t believe in his love for Alexander In my opinion he was just grateful for being treated so well by his master, whom he admired who wouldn t but that would be all I think I m going to remove this book from my m m shelf because I didn t feel the romance at all Bagoas POV was obviously very limited, so there were very few moments between the king and Hephaistion and they were the only ones that felt romantic to me To be quite honest, Alexander with Colin Farrell wasromantic Seriously, I was about 11 12 when I watched it and I knew that something was going on between the twoAll I know is I trust only you in this world I ve missed you I need you It is you I love, Hephaistion No otherthis line perfectly shows the truth Hephaistion was Alexander s beloved Unfortunately, there weren t many moments in The Persian Boy worth mentioning And you have no idea how sad it makes me This was the most disappointing book I have ever read Not just because of the absence of Hephaistion, but also because I didn t learn anything I hadn t known before But I m going to read Fire from Heaven why didn t I read it first ugh and I hope that I ll like itthan The Persian Boy because if not, I ll never read anything by Mary Renault again I didn t say anything good about this book, did I Oops I m just angry and so, so disappointed Also, why does historical fiction always make me so depressed I really don t have a lot to say about this book It s the first one by Renault that I ve been hmm, not disappointed, but perhaps underwhelmed by We continue with the story of Alexander the Great from the point at which we left him in Fire from Heaven Or we sort of do because this volume is told to us as the first person memoirs of Bagoas, a Persian noble whose family was killed during internecine fighting for the Persian throne Bagoas is captured as a young boy by his family s murderers and I really don t have a lot to say about this book It s the first one by Renault that I ve been hmm, not disappointed, but perhaps underwhelmed by We continue with the story of Alexander the Great from the point at which we left him in Fire from Heaven Or we sort of do because this volume is told to us as the first person memoirs of Bagoas, a Persian noble whose family was killed during internecine fighting for the Persian throne Bagoas is captured as a young boy by his family s murderers and is made into a eunuch who, due to his good looks, is ultimately sold as a sex slave By some fairly circuitous routes he moves from dire circumstances to become first the lover of the Persian King Darius and, finally, fulfills the same role for Alexander The first quarter of the book is exclusively concerned with the life of Bagoas and the Persian court during which Alexander is littlethan a rumour of menace and looming danger Afterwards we are immersed in the battles and internal intrigues of Alexander s mobile army court realm as he makes his way eastward on his progress to conquer most of the known world Of course everything is told from Bagoas perspective so many events, primarily battles and the personal and political affairs of Alexander that do not revolve around Bagoas, are told second hand I think this arm s length approach to the central figure is the element of the book I liked least I didn t personally find Bagoas to be a particularly compelling character, though he was by no means a bad one, and I really just wanted to get a closer look at Alexander and his life as we did in the first volume All that being said this is still a well executed piece of historical fiction written in Renault s fine prose The ability of Alexander to turn his dreams and aspirations into reality is truly awe inspiring as he attempts, according to Renault at least, to mould a disparate world of warring kingdoms and peoples into a unified empire Alexander is presented, in many ways, as very forward thinking in this regard, but I am happy to report that it did not seem, to me at least, to be a case of the writer feeling the need to modernize her characters in order to make them palatable to readers as much as an expression of her own beliefs about what the actions and achievements of Alexander pointed to He is still very much a man of his time, just a truly exceptional one I wonder if there was perhaps a bit too much hero worship of Alexander on Renault s part though one could argue this wasthe result of Bagoas obvious love and adoration of him and the natural result of his role as narrator of this story.All in all a good read, but not my favourite This book is a marvel, the first part especially so I can t understand how but it manages to combine the most appalling crimes imaginable young Bagoas is enslaved, castrated, pimped out, and gradually turned into the king s sex toy with a feeling of comfort and tradition You feel Bagoas love for Persia even as he passes through the worst bits of it By the time Darius falls you feel regret for the ruin of this once promising king and the ending of a mighty empire Again, this is the man who This book is a marvel, the first part especially so I can t understand how but it manages to combine the most appalling crimes imaginable young Bagoas is enslaved, castrated, pimped out, and gradually turned into the king s sex toy with a feeling of comfort and tradition You feel Bagoas love for Persia even as he passes through the worst bits of it By the time Darius falls you feel regret for the ruin of this once promising king and the ending of a mighty empire Again, this is the man who s been regularly raping his child sex slave For which Bagoas feels little or no judgement and even demonstrates loyalty for rescuing from his earlier andwretched life as, essentially, a boy whore How the hell do you manage to pull that off and have it work The book continues in its excellence once we get to Alexander about a third of the way in , but here the emotional core is less unnerving Alexander takes Bagoas as a lover, but only because he has come as a willing freeman and not as a slave doing his duty After the horror of the first chapters traces his somewhat resigned acceptance of his lack of personhood, the second part is about Bagoas recovering himself Having been no one for three years he now has to confront all his longings and dreams and try to figure out how to achieve them Bagoas journey is at the emotional heart of the book, yet he never truly does anything to affect the outcome other than being unquestioningly loyal to Alexander It s another hard balance to pull off, how to make the drama of Alexander s push to India interesting despite the lead s lack of involvement Needless to say she manages it While I did find myself a bit tired of his endless Bactrian conflicts by the end I imagine Alexander felt the same it never lost my interest It s here that I realized how clever the focus on Bagoas love story really was, for it provides a sense of progression that the repetitive notes of citadels reduced and tribes rebelling could never manage One only has to look at the film Alexander to see how easy a trap this is to fall into.To enter the mind of Bagoas is fascinating His is the mindset of a genuine slave, though he s not born to it Kidnapped at ten when his father remains loyal to the wrong man in the shifting treacheries of the Persian court, you can see his free will slowly vanish as his life becomes less and less endurable, until being chosen for the great king s bed and the luxury of life in the palace is seen as a great gift An abrogation of any sense of self is the only way to deal with a life entirely in the hands of others Since childhood he has never had the luxury of choice, being traded from one master to another and obeying them absolutely Indeed, his realization upon Darius death that he has the ability to chose his future is met with a combination of exhilaration and terror Yet he remains at heart possessed of those old Persian virtues to serve with honor and always tell the truth.I really like Bagoas as a POV character, but I have to feel I d mistrust him from the outside Every word he says is calculated Years of service as a slave and in the royal court have conditioned him to never speak without carefully weighing the cost Any time he does reveal a confidence it s like a dagger in its precision His love for Alexander is also fierce and rather frightening in its intensity Remember that first crush you had Where you thought that if they didn t return your love you would just diieeeeeeee Bagoas is like that At one point he even contemplates the murder of his rival, Hephaestion And while he does get better with time he remains a man with no life outside of Alexander To some degree he never really recovers the sense of identity that was stolen from him as a child but clings to others instead I do see in him something of a character type that was likely common in the secretive underground gay community of which Renault was a part The sort of boy who d managed to work his way into the bed of a married lover and now finds himself spitting blood at the thought of having to share him with his wife but unable to speak up because he knows he d be the loser That she makes this sympathetic is due to her skill, but it would take nothingthan a little push to send it over the edge.The really thrilling part of this book for me is that it s basically the only attempt I know of to understand what life was like for a Persian in Persia I ve seen a few books set in Persia, but they all seem to choose Greeks as protagonists I m thinking of The Dragon of the Ishtar Gate, Memnon, The Falcon of Sparta Creation at least has a Persian protagonist, though it spends most of its time in Greece and India, and The Last King of Lydia focuses on Croesus and his eventual submission and service to Cyrus These aren t all bad books, but as the sum total of Persian historical fiction they suck None of them really shows us what life was like in the heart of Persia, an empire I love in all its various incarnations The closest you can come to experiencing that is in works of Fantasy such as The Stolen Throne, set in Makuran, an analogue for mainly Sassanian 6th 7th century AD Persia, and the Japanese Heroic Legend of Arslan, set in Pars they re not even trying which is mostly a life of Cyrus the Great 600 530 BC mixed with plenty of details from other eras Honestly, it sucks that you have to go so far afield to find books capturing life in Persia and for managing that alone, even if nothing else, I would have to praise Mary Renault.I honestly can t believe that this book has managed the reputation and success it did I know the 70s were all about promiscuous youth culture, but homosexuality was still widely despised, even among hippies And I have not generally thought Classicists, with all the deep conservatism that name implies, and those who enjoy their works would have been the first to join in the winds of change Yet this book is a full on gay romance, with no apologies and no cushioning other than the fact that the actual sex is only described in the most vague of terms Having read at least one other gay romance set in the Classical era Child of the Sun I have to say that we could not befortunate to have the work of Mary Renault to hold up as a banner for how these stories ought to be done.Even if that s not a concept that interests you and honestly, I don t generally care much for historical romances, gay or straight the book does a wonderful job of exploring the life and nature of Alexander Renault s far too in love with him to give us a fair impression of the man, but her romantic figure striding through adversity seeking to unite the world in one brotherhood of man is farwonderful to read than the truth could ever be By the end of the book you fall in love with him too and his death, though inevitable, hits hard I had actually intended to read her sequel Funeral Games immediately after finishing this one, but I found myself too emotionally invested in Alexander s dreams to find the idea of watching them all burn away in an orgy of destruction and civil war anything but painful And I love the casual backstabbery of the successor wars I cannot recommend this book highly enough It s one of the best historical novels I have ever read And while I don t believe it captures the real Alexander, the one it does present is so fully realized and compelling that I truly wish it was so Every time I pick this book up to read just a passage I find myself getting sucked in again This is my desert island book, if I could just bring one with me Every time I read it I could just turn it over and start from the beginning again It s epic and then again, it s about a boy s first love There s the sweep of history, and then there s very personal humor and heartbreak Seriously, Bagoas will rip your heart out The last line makes me cry I will probably never be able to read Funeral G Every time I pick this book up to read just a passage I find myself getting sucked in again This is my desert island book, if I could just bring one with me Every time I read it I could just turn it over and start from the beginning again It s epic and then again, it s about a boy s first love There s the sweep of history, and then there s very personal humor and heartbreak Seriously, Bagoas will rip your heart out The last line makes me cry I will probably never be able to read Funeral Games, it s too upsetting Splendid I savored every page Bagoas s devotion to his lord and his understanding of the warrior he lay with every night his deep love for Alexander and respect for this flawed but incredible man, moved and inspired me.The tale is epic The journey is unforgettable The excitement and exotic landscapes are beautifully rendered the history and romance coming together like Macedonia and Persia.The last few chapters, from Hephaistion s death and on, are worth the whole sweeping book.In Hades wo Splendid I savored every page Bagoas s devotion to his lord and his understanding of the warrior he lay with every night his deep love for Alexander and respect for this flawed but incredible man, moved and inspired me.The tale is epic The journey is unforgettable The excitement and exotic landscapes are beautifully rendered the history and romance coming together like Macedonia and Persia.The last few chapters, from Hephaistion s death and on, are worth the whole sweeping book.In Hades world, will Patrocles finally allow The Persian Boy to continue to love his Achilles What a tale that could be 4.5 Conquered StarsI drew close and whispered,I love you, Alexander,and kissed him Never mind, I thought, from whom his heart accepts it Let it be according to his wish My hair had fallen on his breast His eyes opened his hand moved, and touched a strand, and ran it between his fingers.He knew me To that I will take my oath before the gods It was to me that he bade farewell Despite enjoying Fire from Heaven, I was reluctant to continue with The Persian Boy I assumed it was written i 4.5 Conquered StarsI drew close and whispered,I love you, Alexander,and kissed him Never mind, I thought, from whom his heart accepts it Let it be according to his wish My hair had fallen on his breast His eyes opened his hand moved, and touched a strand, and ran it between his fingers.He knew me To that I will take my oath before the gods It was to me that he bade farewell Despite enjoying Fire from Heaven, I was reluctant to continue with The Persian Boy I assumed it was written in a traditional, stilted, third person account like the former which took me almost a month to complete it Many months later, upon realising that TPB was actually written in a first person account, i.e Bagoas, I picked it up immediately And I was truly enraptured by the brilliance of it Writing from Bagoas perspective has its pros and cons While it makes reading this a lot easier, I felt disengaged from it I had wanted to witness Alexander s great conquests like the Battle of Issos, Battle of Arbela, his Indian campaign, and a great many other which I couldn t remember because it was only mentioned in passing After reading David Gemmell s Troy series and realising I quite dig the military tactics and battle strategies, I was hoping for that in TPB What makes Alexander so great is him unconquered in battles and being one of the most successful commanders I was disappointed that this significant aspect of his life was not the main focus in TPB.The romantic aspect of TPB was not what I had expected either Written from Bagoas perspective, the romantic feeling felt one sided And perhaps, it was just that While we witness Bagoas undying love, loyalty, and devotion towards Alexander, we only caught glimpses of his affection towards Bagoas sweet whisperings of nothing It was inferred that Alexander was in love with giving, almost to folly That Bagoas was explicitly mentioned in sources as Alexander s eromenos simply puts him above the rest of his common men But Hephaistion is in a class of his own.At bedtime, he would talk to me of Hephaistion as if memory could give him life what they did as boys, what he s said of this or that, how he trained his dogs Yet I felt something unsaid I felt his eyes when I turned away I knew he was thinking that his taking me had grieved Hephaistion that he should make amends Quietly he would put me aside, punishing himself not me, making his gift to the dead.It was Alexander and Hephaistion s relationship I was craving for The third person account in Fire from Heaven hid no secrets that Hephaistion loved Alexander And even if the love is, perhaps, unrequited, one could bear witness that the former did take up a large portion of his heart.Alexander was lying flat on his back, staring upward Suddenly he grasped Hephaistion in an embrace so fierce that it knocked the breath out of him, and said,Without you I should go mad I too without you,said Hephaistion with loving ardor.Alexander did in fact went delirious shortly after Hephaistion s death the exuberant funeral pyre, the public mourning, the attempt at raising Hephaistion to be a god However, since this was in Bagoas perspective, one could not witness the intense pain Alexander felt at the death of his beloved Again, I was robbed off this But Alexander, he had thought in Greek He would ask the oracle for Hephaistion to be a god They will mock him, I thought they will mock him Then I remembered he is a deity himself already Ammon acknowledged him Without Hephaistion, he cannot bear even immortality.My chatting with Alicja led to a better understanding of Renault s purpose of writing TPB in Bagoas pov Renault did focus on his major conquest of the Persian Empire, just not the way one expects it to be And Bagoas represented that Through his point of view, we see the boy in Alexander his innocence in discovering the marvels of the world Before learningabout his life, I had thought that his conquests were merely to quench his thirst for power to be the King above all Kings the Great King When we were up in the hills, he took me for an early ride, to taste, as he said, the clean air of Persia once again I breathed it and said,Al skander, we are home Truly I tooHe looked towards the folded ranges, whose peaks had had the first snowfallsI d say this only to you shut it in your heart Macedon was my father s country This is mine.His determination to establish a Persianate society among ALL his people adopting the elements of the Persian dress, the prostration, the massive dowries for the mass marriage of his Macedonian senior officers to Persian noblewomen, one could infer that Alexander has a strong attachment to Persia To promulgate his desperate attempts at marrying these two cultures together, it is imperative that this aspect of his life be told from Bagoas perspective.Conclusion This is the third time I m mentally sobbing in public over the death of my favourite hero, while commuting to work I was trying to pass off my sniffles for sinusitis I know it was coming But Renault s lyrical writing just destroyed me I used to think I despised love stories I would wonder what was wrong with me love stories are supposed to move us, I would think They re supposed to make us feel things other stories cannot So I thought But all the love stories I saw were the unbelievable kind The ridiculous caricatures on display in romantic comedies, the happily ever afters we were fed in fairy tales Where was the pain , I would ask Where was the suffering, and the longing And perhaps above all, do these charac I used to think I despised love stories I would wonder what was wrong with me love stories are supposed to move us, I would think They re supposed to make us feel things other stories cannot So I thought But all the love stories I saw were the unbelievable kind The ridiculous caricatures on display in romantic comedies, the happily ever afters we were fed in fairy tales Where was the pain , I would ask Where was the suffering, and the longing And perhaps above all, do these characters being in love provide us with anythingBecause of the love, are we gleaning any additional information about the people, the world, or even the metaphysical It was a long time before I realized that the type of love stories I wanted to hear were out there, and when I eventually heard them they were powerful indeed At its heart, The Persian Boy is a love story, and it too is indeed a powerful one This book is Mary Renault s second voyage into the life of Alexander the Great, and takes place historically from when he becomes king of Macedon, to his untimely death Mary Renault takes an interesting approach to telling this story however, and the entire book is written from the point of view of Bagoas, The Persian Boy Bagoas was an actual historical figure he was a eunuch, and catamite, who was originally possessed by Darius III, emperor of Persia When Darius was no longer in the picture, Bagoas became attached to Alexander instead, and by all reasonable accounts, it was a close and loving relationship Because the book is from one specific angle, it is by its nature limiting, yet at the same time it allows a remarkable amount of depth Where Fire From Heaven is aevent driven book, The Persian Boy is muchfocused on the personal aspect of those involved Bagoas wasn t a warrior, so many of the battles of Alexander s campaign are glossed over Instead we get the smaller, but equally important insights into the impact those battles had on the people particularly Alexander Make no mistake, even though this book is from the point of view of Bagoas, it is about Alexander If this were some other historical novel, by some other writer, we would get action, troop movements, and gore And while those can be respectable things in their own right, this book gives us the gift of emotions, psychology, and subtle philosophy Bagoas is an extremely tortured individual Because of his training, he exudes a calm and tranquil exterior, but on the inside he is torn apart by a whirlwind of different emotions as he realizes Alexander is a man greater than he he must be shared with others, and with his own destiny As beautiful as a dancing flame is, to grasp at it too tightly will burn the hand The themes in the book have no problem jumping out at the reader The difference between true love and simple desire, honor and perfidy, courage and cowardice are all explored at great length it s very Greek in that respect.Alexander has often been compared to Achilles, and Mary Renault has no problem running with that comparison in a lot of her passages His passion for glory, his bravery, and his relationship with Hephaestion Alexander s childhood friend and Patroklos like figure And yes, his self knowing hubris is inevitably a demon to deal with as well While Fire From Heaven was a stirring book, painting a broad picture of Alexander s life and getting the chest muscles moving, The Persian Boy is ultimately a heart wrenching book that gets the chest muscles imploding Can there be love without loss and pain Desire and jealously, while still maintaining integrity What does it mean to be a great man, and who exactly deserves to be remembered by history The Persian Boy is a small piece of a grand epic that we can never fully know, but it is still epic in and of itself In the tradition of the Greek pursuit of glory and excellence, this book shines brightly in its own success ^Download ☟ The Persian Boy ☠ It takes skill to depict, as Miss Renault has done, this half man, half Courtesan who is so deeply in love with the warrior The Atlantic MonthlyThe Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander s life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom with Alexander after the Macedon army conquered his homeland Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper After Alexander s mysterious death, we are left wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his ambitions better than anyone