3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Fox by M. N. J. Butler is a historical fiction set in fifth century Ancient Greece. It is based on the life of the bastard Spartan king Leotychides, Leo, as he recounts his childhood and upbringing to the king of Macedon, Philippos, many years later.
His story begins in the agoge, Sparta’s training grounds for free boys and young men. We are introduced to his flock, the group of boys who will become his comrades in arms on the battlefield on day, and see the trials they go through together, as well as learning with Leo the truth about his parentage; his father being Alkibiades of Athens and not his mother’s husband, King Agis of Sparta. Going forward, Leotychides strives to become the best possible version of himself, not wanting to stay in “the shadow that man cast across ‘his’ life,” and we read as he goes through hardships, love, faces yet more trials, endures loss as well as betrayal.
One of the things I like best about The Fox, that will probably not be the same for everyone, is the fact that a lot of research must have gone into it. This book makes a great deal of assumption about previous knowledge of that time period, and has an expansive amount of lengthy vocabulary jam packed on to each page. While M. N. J. Butler did include a glossary at the front of the book, a lot of people would probably find it aggravating or become frustrated to constantly be flipping back and forth between the page they are currently on and the glossary to look up all the words they do not know the meaning of. I really enjoy stories and book set in Ancient Greece or Rome, and so I was able to keep up with what was happening with just a few definition checks.
Something I disliked was, while the sentences themselves were simple and should have been easy to follow, a lot of the time the rhythm or the structure of the sentences just seemed rather choppy. There is a lot of information that the author packed into this book, and while the simple sentences helped process everything, I feel as if M. N. J. Butler could have either lengthened the book or possibly taken some of the information out.
I give this book 3 out of 4 stars due to a few misspellings at the beginning of the book. However I do definitely recommend giving this book a read, if you have or have had any interest in Ancient Greek history.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon