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Book Review / Collaboration: “The Twin Soul of Alexander: A novel of Alexander the Great” (Alexander and Hephaestion #1) by Lawrence M. Scheier

Recensione in Italiano: QUI.

Quotes: HERE.

Good morning everyone, thank you for being once again on Alessandro III di Macedonia and finally I can tell you about my latest reading! Unfortunately it took me over a month to read this beautiful novel but the work and consequently the tiredness in the evening prevented me from reading it in less time. Today I tell you about the novel:

The Twin Soul of Alexander. A Novel of Alexander the Great

(Alexander and Hephaestion #1)

by Lawrence M. Scheier

Pages 298, 2017

Published by: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 978-1542360616

Hephaestion is only sixteen when he first meets Alexander, son of King Philip of Macedon. Hephaestion is in the capital of Pella to curry favor with the court and land a coveted position as companion to the young prince. When Hephaestion first lays eyes on Alexander, he feels a magnetic attraction to the handsome warrior. Hephaestion makes it his duty to protect Alexander from any who would do him harm.

Hephaestion has no idea of his friend’s remarkable destiny. Instead, he worries about the endless machinations both King Philip and Queen Olympias have set in motion. Alexander is little more than a plaything in the power struggle between his parents. As Hephaestion grows closer to the prince, he will have to decide who Alexander’s enemies truly are. For Alexander to become Macedon’s greatest son, he will need the help of Hephaestion to survive his adventurous and dangerous youth.

Lawrence Scheier used his extensive travels to ancient sites in Greece, Italy, and Egypt as inspiration for The Twin Soul of Alexander.
Scheier received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University. He lives in Denver, Colorado. For question on this and upcoming novels see his author webpage at https://www.amazon.com/author/lawrencescheier

Reading time: from June 3rd to July 9th, 2020

Classificazione: 4 su 5.

First I want to thank the author for sending me the book to read and review it!

Hephaestion is the narrator of this novel and it’s through his eyes that we know this very interesting Alexander. Hephaestion felt a magnetic attraction towards the young prince from the beginning and it was nice to see how their friendship born. We will thus follow the adventures of the two young boys just as they actually lived. The author remains very faithful to what we know from the sources and when he takes some license he does so by changing some names so as not to have namesakes, in order to help even the less expert of Alexander the Great while reading the novel. The author also inserts invented characters but only experts will be able to recognize them because they are functional and well integrated into the story!

I’m not a MM novels lover, however Scheier paints the relationship between the two boys in a very natural way, without excesses and without falling into the vulgar. In fact, I really liked imagining what I was reading and it was like being there too. In these pages we experience the adventures of the boys in Mieza, the machinations of the ever-present Olympias, we experience the encounter between Alexander and his faithful Bucephalus, the difficulty and also great ability of Alexander to establish himself as the true heir of the Argead dynasty. In short, there is everything in this novel! What I like about novels like this, those well written and faithful to the sources, is that with the details and scenes of everyday life that can only be present in the novels, we read a more real and concrete Alexander.

To mention some of the elements that I liked: Hephaestion in Mieza is marginalized a bit compared to the others because of his humble origins and small groups are created among friends as is normal, among the great generals’ sons and with a few years in addition and the younger ones; Olympias is always present from afar, like a puppeteer always tries to move the threads of people close to Alexander and will try to influence Hephaestion too; the author inserts Ahmed, a slave of Hephaestion who will influence Alexander for his conquest of Egypt. In the fourth chapter Hephaestion dreams of a uchronic future: what would have happened if Philip had not died so early? He probably would have collided with his son Alessandro. Prophetic, beautiful!

At the beginning of the book, the author makes two extremely important premises that are obvious to Alexander’s connoisseurs but that in my opinion are necessary because often especially in reading novels they are left out by readers because they aren’t necessarily specialists or are in any case informed about events:

  • homosexuality at the time was normal: men stayed most of the time with other men, from an early age they grew up with other males and women were seen as a way to have children. There is nothing to do with feminism or machismo, but it was so. In this context the terms of erastes and eromenos are inserted – the author for the age difference chooses to make Hephaestion the erastes and Alexander the eromenos, but in my opinion it’s nice how the two roles are not so defined between the two because in the relationship that Alexander has with the other Hephaestion acts as a trusted adviser and guide, even when it concerns the approach to female sexuality, but the roles seem to reverse when they are among them because often Hephaestion is the insecure one that must be reassured by Alexander;
  • at that time the events of the Iliad and the Trojan War were not legends and myths, but were considered history. This is the reason why Alexander, although referring continuously to Achilles and comparing himself to him, was not considered a madman.

I liked this reading very much, it’s proposed as a historical novel and it is. I’m also curious to read the other two books of this trilogy (yes, because this is the first volume of a trilogy on Alexander and Hephaestion) and, narrating the events from the point of view of Hephaestion I think they will stop with his death. I’m already dreaming about one last chapter of the third book narrated from Alexander’s point of view that is a sort of final summary that tells us the highlights of the story and introduces us to Hephaestion also from the eyes of his beloved great conqueror who never betrayed and always supported him. But this is just my idea because I can’t wait to continue reading the adventures narrated by Lawrence M. Scheier! 😉

Anyone can read this book, both Alexander’s fans, as well as those of historical novels and even those who simply want to read a good novel! I hope it will also be published in Italian!

Are you interested in this reading? Have you read it before? If not, I hope to have you curious! Let me know, happy Sunday,

#copiaomaggio #prodottooffertoda Lawrence M. Scheier

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