3 out of 4 stars
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The Fox by M.N.J. Butler covers the journey of Leotychides as a young royal bastard to his major trials in life. Leotychides knows that he is a bastard son, but this does not stop him from achieving his ambitions to be the king. Will he eventually become the King?
Prince Leotychides was the son of Agis. Their father-son relationship wasn't that great. He narrates his story from the time he lived in Eurypontid palace at a very young age to an aging man. The book has been written in the first person; however, it switches back and forth to present and past tense.
The story takes you through the Greek historical times of ancient Sparta, legendary heroes like Leonidas, and the mythical champions, such as Apollo. Courage, politics, loyalty, betrayal, love, and friendship themes lingered throughout the whole book. I found myself admiring the Spartan's courage and commitment. They would be taken through the tough Spartan's education system at the age of seven, up until they became full grown-ups, at the age of thirty. This indeed made them brothers for life!
What I loved most about the book were the memorable quotes and the great descriptions of the settings and battles. Additionally, the politics and the Spartan's life were fascinating. It kept me turning page after page.
However, as much as there was much to love about the book, some things hindered my reading enjoyment. For instance, there were too many characters and similar names in the book. Well, I know that this is not the author's fault because of historical accuracy. Still, I grew tired of constantly refreshing my memory and going back to the front page to check the names and titles due to the many almost similar names.
Secondly, I needed to feel some emotional connection with the main character, which the author had a hard time implementing this aspect for the reader. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This is because it was such an adventurous read. The author provides readers with a glossary of names making it very helpful to the reader, mainly due to the many similar names. The book made me feel like I am also there in history-making.
However, I did not give this book four stars because it was very slow-paced. In the beginning, I was almost putting it down, but out of curiosity, I kept reading, and it ended up not being a disappointment. Additionally, I did not give it four stars because of the many characters as mentioned earlier. This hindered my enjoyment.
I recommend this book to history buffs and readers who are interested in Greek philosophy. I am looking forward to reading more books from this author.
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