3 out of 4 stars
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This is the first solid historical fiction book I’ve read. The narration flow sounds different from the other historical fiction books that I have read. This book requires a keen and careful reading so as to get the most out of the story. And a bit of research about the historical events highlighted in the book will add meaning to your reading.
The Fox by M. N. J Butler is a captivating memoir of Leotychide (Leo), a bastard son of the Spartan royal lineage. Leo narrates about his lavish lifestyle at the palace and the Spartan political meltdown. Additionally, he points out his strength, weaknesses, loss, and gains. His experience in Agoge (the “rigorous education and training program mandated for all male Spartan citizens) is somewhat adventurous and tough.
The story is written in the first-person point of view and takes the reader on tour in the ancient Greece world. It highlights the Spartans’ political, cultural and social aspects. Furthermore, the reader will enjoy a fascinating experience as they follow through the journey of the male Spartan citizens. There are a couple of superb traits featured in the plot that paints the story, presenting it exceptionally, and they include spirituality, friendship, courage, endurance and power. The characters and plot are diligently and masterfully developed that present the story quite remarkable. Moreover, the diversity of cultures incorporated in the narrative nourishes the plot development. Ultimately, the relationship between the Spartans and the Barbarians stirs up an array of emotions.
What I like about the book is that it portrays accurate historical and cultural facts about ancient Greece. There’s a glossary of names (including names of historical figures) and terms right before chapter 1 of the story that I find helpful because it gives the reader better knowledge of the characters and unfamiliar terms featured in the story. Moreover, the Spartans’ view of a moral lifestyle is amusing. For instance, It’s illegal to commit adultery in Sparta, but they embrace a special arrangement that allows the bearing of sons for the designated older men. Finally, the Agoge training is a vital and fascinating adventure, and it reveals that earnest effort is required to be a successful warrior.
I didn’t find anything to dislike whatsoever, but I encountered awkward sentence structure and grammatical errors that somehow distracted me in my reading.
I learned from the story that we should value and maintain our friendship with others. Also, obedience contributes to peace and order among the people.
Generally, the author did an excellent job in his writing, gifting the readers with an entertaining, adventurous and reliable story. The language used is simple and easy-to-understand. The book is well-edited. The historical accuracy in the book added value to the story. I, therefore, rate the book at 3 out of 4 stars. I deducted one mark due to the blank spaces in some pages. Re-editing the book will be wise to correct the error in future.
This book is ideal for those who love adventure and history in their stories.
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