Gemmell's ambitious book takes an intimate look at a name that is associated with Alexander the Great, but not much else is known about him.
He is Parmenion, called the Death of Nations.
This is a very underrated book within David Gemmell's ever-increasing back catalouge. As guessed, it is situated in ancient Greece, several decades before the emergence of the great conqueror Alexander the Great.
We get to meet the main character, Parmenion, when he is just a young boy. He is a half-Spartan who is victimised, bullied, and despised by the Spartans. The Spartans are a warrior race who value military skills above all others. Their prejudice towards outsiders is just as legendary as their prowess on the battlefield.
Will Parmenion be able to rise above this, will he become bitter and twisted, will there be any joy in the life of this sorrowful, but brilliant boy? These are the kind of questions you will ask yourself as you read through the novel. I couldn't put it down! In the best of Greek tradition, the story is essentially a tragedy. Just when you thik good things will happen for our character, they will be just as quickly snatched away.
I think anybody who had a rough childhood would really relate to Parmenion. David Gemmell gives him life through the pages without descending into maudlin sentimentality. The reader can appreciate the motives for his actions, you are swept into his world and will cheer his triumphs against the odds, and you may shed a tear or two when things just don't work out for him.
I loved this book. Read it if you enjoyed the new Troy novel, or the films Alexander or Troy. Or just read it if you want to read about a boy rising past the abuse of his peers to become one of the greatest generals yet known.