3 out of 4 stars
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THE FOX BY M.N.J.BUTLER.
The Fox by M.N.J.Butler is about ancient Greece. It details the history, cultural background, and practices of the people of Sparta. In the era specified by the book, Sparta had two Kings, the Agiad and the Eurypontid,descended from the twin sons of King Aristodemos. Their culture is fascinating in many ways. Take for example, when an old man gets married and cannot get strong sons due to his age, a younger man is asked to perform conjugal duties with the wife all in the aim of producing a son. So technically, the son has two fathers.
Leotychides (Leo) is the main character of the story. Most of the happenings narrated in the book is based on his life history. Leo grew up believing he was the Prince, soon to be King, but was massively disappointed when he found out that he is a bastard. He narrated his story in his old age. His life was quite adventurous. He joined a flock at age seven where he and other boys were drilled rigorously. You know that popular saying that "Do not judge a book by its cover"? That is the case with this book. At first, I wasn't really interested in the book but as the plot grew,so did my interest.
M.N.J.Butler did a good job regarding the detailed description and accuracy of events. At the beginning of The Fox, there is a glossary of names which proved useful for people like me who had no prior knowledge and inkling whatsoever of Greek history. Although it was a little exhausting to have to go back to the beginning of the book to know about each character while reading, the author is not to be faulted for my lack of historical knowledge. One particular humorous part in The Fox by M.N.J.Butler is the epithet given to Leo when he was in the flock. Leo is nick named the "cockerel" because he is in the habit of calling out answers even when unbidden. He is even elevated to "Royal cockerel" after his Royal status was discovered.
One thing I disliked about the book is that the story line and plot is all over the place. It was not organized, some characters were not properly introduced, and it was difficult in some places to follow the story because of abrupt switches from one happening to another. This book took me quite a long time to read because of its complexity. The book needs careful concentration when reading. I wouldn't advise anyone who has no love for the history of ancient Greece to read this book.
I noticed no grammatical errors while reading. The Fox by M.N.J.Butler looks professionally edited. I would rate this book as a 3 out of 4 stars. One star is deducted owing to the scattered and inconsistent plot. All in all, it is a good book and is recommended for those who are interested in Spartan culture.
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