1. Novels, 1.1 Historical Novels, 1.1.2 Alternative Point of View, Characters Close to Alexander, Alexander - Fiction Book, Reviews

Book Review/Collaboration: “Realm” by Alexandrea Weis

Recensione in italiano: QUI.

Hello everyone, thank you for being on Alessandro III di Macedonia- your resource on Alexander the Great! Today I’m proposing you the review of a historical novel published for now only in English by Vesuvian Books and which I hope will soon be published also in Italy! I’m talking about:

Realm by Alexandrea Weis

First of all I’d like to thank the author, Alexandrea, for sending me the copy so that I could read it and review it here! Thank you very much!

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
History tells his story. This is hers.

4 stars.

Reading time: from 8th august to 11th november 2019.

I read this book in more time than I thought but it’s not his fault. The commitments kept me away from reading, but this was exciting and engaging. Alexandrea wants to talk about Roxana, in fact she is the real protagonist of the book and I found this idea very interesting because it’s a different and particular way of talking about Alexander the Great. I liked how the author talked about Roxana and Alexander, but also about Hephaestion and his companions. Alexandrea is passionate about Alexander and it is shown: from how she writes it emerges that she knows him and has studied him thoroughly, often reports many famous anecdotes and even less famous ones about him (even modifying them a little) and she allows herself small changes that don’t affect the course of history. Examples: at the death of Hephaestion Alexander was with him while in reality they were not so close; Roxana and his son Alexander IV are believed to have not been killed like that; Roxana gives to the disheartened Alexander the idea for the betrayal of his now exhausted men who want to go home to take the sea route.

The protagonist, Roxana at the beginning is young, doubtful, scared of this foreign conqueror who wants to marry her but then, little by little, she gains confidence in him and falls in love with him. From a bud it becomes a beautiful rose, strong, decisive and determined. She herself could have given some ideas to Alexander: how his generals didn’t respect him enough and adequately, or the idea of building a city dedicated to the beloved horse, Bucephalus. Roxana has in common with Alexander the love for horses, in fact he will give her a beautiful mare, Hera. I really liked how Alexander talked about his past with Aristotle and his parents to his wife.

I was moved in the scene where Alexander receives the last goodbye from his army that walks in front of his bed. Speaking of Roxana, the book doesn’t end with Alexander’s death but it speaks of the rest of her life. Once Alexander died, no one but Roxana took more care of his body, but all were too caught up in the power games. Also I really enjoyed the dialogue in Sicily between Cleopatra and Perdiccas: the two are at the same level in the games of intrigue and power, which isn’t seen with Roxana.

Roxana shows a strength and a wit of thought only to Hephaestion and Alexander: in fact, on the death of the latter, despite having been advised not to trust anyone, she can do nothing but put herself in the hands of those who seem more faithful to her. She’s determined in wanting to protect her child but is, and unfortunately remains, a very important piece maneuvered by the shrewd player on duty. She is unable to really take part in the power games at the death of Alexander: a bit for young age anyway and a bit because even if she was educated, she didn’t know the Greek world and the army so well, remaining fundamentally a foreigner. Despite the help of her faithful servant Morella in understanding the gossip and what was happening because she was often confined to his rooms, Roxana fails to be the protagonist and to decide her destiny and that of the young Alexander IV. In this, however, the author remained faithful to the story because this actually happened.

And here’s the only one negative note of the book: Hephaestion is never defined as a lover of Alexander. Roxana is so worried about Bagoas because she learns of gossip between him and Alexander but about Hephaestion nothing. On page 181 Roxana gets very angry with Alexander for the kiss given in public to Bagoas. The only reference to Hephaestion as Alexander’s lover is found on page 212, when the latter pines for the death of “my only love”. Alexander repeatedly advises Roxana not to pay attention to court talk and to talk to him if there is something troubling her. This will surely have been a choice of the author, because the couple must also overcome Roxana’s jealousy towards the other Stateira and Parysatis wives, but unfortunately it’s a choice that I don’t agree with. To faithfully describe the world of that time, homosexuality must be accepted as a normal fact, which may not be liked by the public reader of the book. It’s also true that admitting the profound bond that existed between Hephaestion and Alexander would have in some way reduced the importance of Roxana and the novel would have come out “weakened”. In short, I understand that something can be left out or omitted for a narrative choice.

It’s a novel that you will surely appreciate and that I recommend you! Indeed, I advise Italian publishers, especially Delrai Edizioni, since they have already published another novel by Alexandrea, to publish it because it’s certainly a reading that can be more than welcomed in our country and that deserves to enter into circulation in the Italian market with an Italian translation!

Thanks again to Alexandrea for giving me this opportunity!

Vesuvian Media’s website is HERE and for Alexandrea’s website please follow THIS link. Realm can be purchased on all online stores both in paper and digital format as shown by the author’s page HERE.

Read the quotes: HERE.

Good day everyone,


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