World on Fire – Spoils of Olympus II by Christian Kachel


The Hand, a shadowy, secretive group of Alexander’s most loyal followers, are tasked with protecting and promoting Alexander’s son by Rhoxane.  A task that takes Andrikos across the breadth of the Great one’s crumbling empire.  Crumbling at the hands of Alexander’s generals, each of whom want the most territory, and who do not want Alexander IV to claim his father’s throne.  Filled with cunning plans, intrigue, danger and even love, the author has done a splendid job in book 2 of this series.  Andrikos has come a long way since he was recruited by Vettias and Mr. Kachel has developed his character nicely from the young man in search of himself to an accomplished practitioner of the ‘Dark Arts’ of spy-craft.  A thoroughly enjoyable read that leaves room for more in this story of an unsettled and dangerous time.  4 stars

Spoils of Olympus – By the Sword by Christian Kachel


Alexander conquered the world but then the God-King died and the tumult resulting from his death is the backdrop to this very entertaining book by Christian Kachel.  The protagonist, Andrikos, is a young man running with the wrong crowd in the town of Llandros.  A night of murderous activity involving the underground criminal element forces Andrikos to leave home and seek out recruitment in the army.  The author gives the reader an excellent look into the somewhat brutal training required of the recruits before they are accepted into the ranks of the Macedonian styled infantry, the phalanx.  Unfortunately for Andrikos he has come onto the stage too late to take part in any conquests as Alexander’s death sets off a furious war among his generals for control of the Macedonian throne.  A serendipitous meeting with an officer who is a member of a secretive spy network instituted by Alexander, results in Andrikos becoming a spy and thus opens up a whole new world for an insecure young man and sets him on a journey of excitement, danger and self discovery.  The author has crafted an interesting story of the various factions and the struggle to maintain the empire Alexander created.  It is full of intrigue, changing alliances, battles of Greek versus Greek and the maturation of a young man who is desperate to find himself.  4 stars

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