Official Review: The Fox by M. N. J. Butler

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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JR Mercier
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Official Review: The Fox by M. N. J. Butler

Post by JR Mercier » 21 Aug 2018, 09:17

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Fox" by M. N. J. Butler.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Fox by M.N.J. Butler is the memoir of Leotychides, a bastard of the Spartan royal line. As a jaded old man, he reveals his riveting and tragic story, starting with his life in the agoge, Sparta’s academic system. We witness him make lifelong friends and endure love, loss, and betrayal while Sparta faces political instability due to power-hungry Agisilaos.

It took me a really long time to finish this book. The ending left me walking around in a daze and even now, it is hard to put this book into words. The Fox is a very long read, but it was teeming with action and recounts so many events that the pages flew by. The atmosphere was written brilliantly and the battle scenes weren’t a bore. The focus on the many people that are affected by war was brutally honest and also heart-wrenching.

I love nothing more than an entertaining read that can teach me something. While I don’t know much about ancient Sparta, I did a lot of research while reading The Fox and I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of it all. The history was vivid, and it was riveting reading about Spartan culture: Spartan citizens loyalty toward the state and toward each other; their views on currency and riches; their laws and views on Kings being for the people, and their openness to homosexuality and the education of women. They were a lot more progressive than the other Greek city-states. That, coupled with the captivating story, had me rooting for Sparta all the way through.

The friendships that were built throughout The Fox has to be my favourite part of this read. Leotychides joins a flock at the age of seven and the bonds he forges there last for years. Their loyalty to each other and their people was beautiful. It was a great change of pace from the many other historical fiction reads that are more hung up on facts instead of the lives that were lived.

There was a lot packed into this book and the simple writing was able to convey the scenes with clarity, vivid colour and brought to life the ancient world of Sparta brilliantly. The Fox did look professionally edited but there was one anomaly. There was a multitude of missing quotation marks that made it a bit difficult to distinguish between speech and thought.

I rate The Fox by M.N.J. Butler 3 out of 4 stars, deducting one star for the missed quotation marks. That being said, I still highly recommend this book. The Fox deserves a full rating, and it physically hurts me having to take away that one star. I would recommend this to any fans of historical fiction or anyone looking for something gripping to read.

******
The Fox
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Post by crediblereading2 » 21 Aug 2018, 16:33

It is a very good thing when persons can start a friendship at an early age and maintain it throughout the years as is displayed by Leotychides and the flock. I am so sorry about the misuses of the quotation marks that cause the downgrade of the rating of this book. Thank you for your candid review of this book.

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Post by Sakilunamermaid » 21 Aug 2018, 18:29

I added this book to my reading list. I don't normally like historical fiction but this is right up my alley. Thanks for the review.

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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 22 Aug 2018, 01:28

Historical fiction is my all time favourite as it provides me the alternative way of viewing history. I'm impressed by your effort to research about Sparta beyond this book. I have seen this book in my list but didn't choose to read. After reading your great review made me regret that.
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Post by Emi_Review » 22 Aug 2018, 02:51

I love historical fiction and your review has made me want to add this one to my reading list!

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Post by JR Mercier » 22 Aug 2018, 06:14

crediblereading2 wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 16:33
It is a very good thing when persons can start a friendship at an early age and maintain it throughout the years as is displayed by Leotychides and the flock. I am so sorry about the misuses of the quotation marks that cause the downgrade of the rating of this book. Thank you for your candid review of this book.
That is the best kind of friendship and thank you so much for commenting. :tiphat:
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Post by JR Mercier » 22 Aug 2018, 06:17

Sakilunamermaid wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 18:29
I added this book to my reading list. I don't normally like historical fiction but this is right up my alley. Thanks for the review.
That makes me so happy! This book deserves so much more recognition.
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Post by JR Mercier » 22 Aug 2018, 06:19

ParadoxicalWoman wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 01:28
Historical fiction is my all time favourite as it provides me the alternative way of viewing history. I'm impressed by your effort to research about Sparta beyond this book. I have seen this book in my list but didn't choose to read. After reading your great review made me regret that.
It was soooo interesting! And I hope that you still decide to pick it up someday. :tiphat:
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JR Mercier
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Post by JR Mercier » 22 Aug 2018, 06:21

Emilauren96 wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 02:51
I love historical fiction and your review has made me want to add this one to my reading list!
YAY! :lol2: I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :tiphat:
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Post by kandscreeley » 22 Aug 2018, 07:54

Historical fiction can be a fabulous genre - if done well. I love learning about old societies and cultures, but only if it's mixed in with great characters and writing that captures your attention. This one sounds like it's worth picking up. Thanks for a lovely review! You make it sound like a must read.
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Post by rofl0602 » 22 Aug 2018, 13:21

This review definitely puts this book on my reading list.

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Post by Supergirl1 » 22 Aug 2018, 14:46

I have read a number of Spartan stories and seen some movies too. They are usually very engaging. I love your review of this book. It’s made me interested in this particular Spartan story. Well done!

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Post by JR Mercier » 23 Aug 2018, 06:09

kandscreeley wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 07:54
Historical fiction can be a fabulous genre - if done well. I love learning about old societies and cultures, but only if it's mixed in with great characters and writing that captures your attention. This one sounds like it's worth picking up. Thanks for a lovely review! You make it sound like a must read.
I honestly loved it. It had such a great feel and I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for commenting. :tiphat:
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Post by JR Mercier » 23 Aug 2018, 06:10

rofl0602 wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 13:21
This review definitely puts this book on my reading list.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it. :tiphat:
Dream up something wild and improbable.
-Strange The Dreamer, Laini Taylor

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JR Mercier
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Post by JR Mercier » 23 Aug 2018, 06:11

Supergirl1 wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 14:46
I have read a number of Spartan stories and seen some movies too. They are usually very engaging. I love your review of this book. It’s made me interested in this particular Spartan story. Well done!
I am not a Spartan expert but I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you for commenting. :tiphat:
Dream up something wild and improbable.
-Strange The Dreamer, Laini Taylor

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