Do you like historical fiction? Do you like fantasy novels? Are you looking for a book that makes you think? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then read on, because I have the perfect book for you.
Stealing Fire by Jo Graham tells the story of the chaos surrounding the death of Alexander the Great and its aftermath through the ever-loyal hero of the novel, Lydias of Miletus. Lydias who, although was once a slave boy, becomes one of Alexander’s soldiers. After the death of the king, Lydias chooses to follow Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals who made Egypt his territory. Ptolemy and Lydias, with the help of the Persian archer Artashir and the eunuch Bagoas, Alexander’s lover, must fight to save the fate of the new city of Alexandria and Alexander’s legacy.
I went into this book without many expectations having never read much about Alexander the Great or any of Jo Graham’s other novels beforehand. I loved the actions scenes, they were great and pretty frequent; however, at times, the novel moved too slowly for me. I also am not a fan of politics, so I had a bit of trouble keeping up when the characters discussed it. Reading the scenes with Ptolemy and Lydias’s flashbacks of Alexander transformed such distant historical icons into tangible people for me.
I really liked Lydias and found it easy to make a connection with him. He was a very good and decent person and stays so even when tragedies struck which, unfortunately for him, happened quite often. Scattered throughout the novel are flashbacks, where the story of how Lydias rose from slavery to his current position is told, that I thought helped shape his character even more. Lydias also has amazing courage and an open mind and heart that make it impossible to dislike him. The fact that he also happens to be “god-touched,” meaning that the gods speak to him, was very interesting to me and made the book more enjoyable for me.
I found the novel to be very well written and at times almost poetic in its descriptions. However, I also felt that some areas were a bit boring and hard to get in to. Overall I liked it and am glad that I read it, but I don’t think I will read it again. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or fantasy, as it is an engaging combination of both genres.