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Book Reviews - Fiction (Good)

"Fire From Heaven" (1969), "The Persian Boy" (1972), "Funeral Games" (1981), Mary Renault, published by Pantheon Books.
Reviewer: Forum Contributor
This is the sort of trilogy (though there is a brief connecting chapter in Renault’s "The Mask of Apollo" [1966]), you love to hate and hate to love. For many Alexanderphiles, the odd characterizations of the main players and speculative nature of the books is bothersome; for others, these same traits are the very thing they enjoy. I both enjoyed and detested them. But I also find that it helped to understand what Renault was trying to do and why - it gave a different feel to the texts. Though accused of being a Tarn fan, she did not find his work satisfying - but then, Ms Renault wrote from a very particular p.o.v. in several ways. She had an inherent feel for the culture of the times; she was also involved in a same-gender relationship that allowed her a unique perspective. That said, we must credit Ms Renault for single-handedly creating more Alexander-philes than almost any other text written.

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