Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stealing Fire - Jo Graham

Stealing Fire
Jo Graham
Orbit Books
Copyright: May 25, 2010
978-0316076395

Amazon.com product description:
Alexander the Great's soldier, Lydias of Miletus, has survived the final campaigns of the king's life. He now has to deal with the chaos surrounding his death. Lydias throws his lot in with Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals who has grabbed Egypt as his personal territory. Aided by the eunuch Bagoas, the Persian archer Artashir, and the Athenian courtesan Thais, Ptolemy and Lydias must take on all the contenders in a desperate adventure whose prize is the fate of a white city by the sea, and Alexander's legacy.
Stealing Fire is the third connected historical fantasy novel written by Jo Graham. In order, though I don't believe it's the publishing order the books are: Black Ships, Stealing Fire, and Hand of Isis (my favorite). Where the other two books are from a female perspective, Stealing Fire is told from the male point of view, making it quite different from the other two books.

Generally, I've been comparing Jo Graham's boks to The Mists of Avalon and its prequels and sequels by Marion Zimmer Bradley as the books have something of the same feel. This book still holds to that as one of the threads connecting the three books is that of reincarnation, specifically the reincarnation of the main character Lydias. There's also this feeling of the mystical from the way the Gods and Goddesses are dealt with. They're there in the story but not in an overpowering way. It's still the choices of the characters and how they deal with their lives that powers the story.

This book is rather connected to Hand of Isis in it's way. Where in that book the city of Alexandria is a mature, bustling place, in Stealing Fire, the city is just getting started, but the ideals that Charmian talks about in the later time period are being clearly set out right from the start.

One other neat thing about this book is that Jo Graham has included both a short interview as well as a book club reading guide at the end of the book. Although I don't participate in any book clubs, I did find in this case that the suggested discussion questions included made for a thought-provoking read (I sneaked a peek at those last pages before I finished the story because I  wanted to see what music she used this time).

Although I keep commenting about the other books by Jo Graham in this review, you don't have to have read them before reading Stealing Fire as each of the books more or less stands on its own.

Another five star read to say the least. Now I'm probably going to end up re-reading Hand of Isis in the near future.
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