The descriptive bit: The son of the King of Makdon – Alexandros is on track to be a leader, and is battling to be treated like everyone else. Hephaistion arrives – searching for his own destiny and becomes friends with the young prince. Their relationship flourishes as they begin their education together under the trusted guidance of Aristoteles. As Alexandros battles his way through the harsh lessons facing him, his emotional attachment to Hephaistion. As a prince, Alexandros is supposed to be independent, emotionally aloof, strong and his emotional connection to his friend challenges everything.
My thoughts bit: Jeanne Reames is a self-declared Homer fangirl in addition to being a History Professor. Her life-long commitment to her field definitely plays into how fantastic this book is. As I read this novel, I was surprised to find that I was as caught up in history as much as the story about the two main characters. For obvious reasons, Reames has a fantastic grasp of the time period and it’s a pleasure to read a book that is so detailed and complete with respect to history.
The relationship between Alexandros and Hephaistion builds slowly throughout the story. These two characters are well-thought out and fully developed beyond their friendship with one another. It’s a pleasure to read a novel in which there is a pairing between two characters that is important but not the entirety of the plot.
This is a complex story of growing up with the weight of huge expectations and commitments. I am intrigued by the way Alexandros’ life will unfold as he is groomed to become a leader. The friendship between Alexandros and Hephaistion is documented historically and they were often referred to as being the best of friends. It wasn’t uncommon for young boys to be involved sexually with one another so this story is certainly not far-fetched. Reames does a fantastic job of weaving the complex relationship implications into an already-intriguing story. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: violence, illness, dysfunctional family units, detailed descriptions of death and killing during war.
I received an ARC of Dancing with the lion: Becoming by Jeanne Reames from Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.