Since the beginning of the year I've been working my way through the world of Ancient Greece by reading a historical novel each month (except the month I read Homer's lIiad), and so far I'm really enjoying this look at the ancient world through the eyes of seven different authors. In October, I read Christopher Cameron's Killer of Men, his first in a series on the Persian War, and I have to say it was pretty darn great.
The novel follows a young man through his formative years, beginning as the son of a blacksmith, then his apprenticeship under an old soldier and eventually his rise to becoming a soldier of great renown. As I found a few years ago with Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder, a compelling protagonist is key to understanding a new world (in Gordianus's case, that of Ancient Rome), and Arimnestos, the protagonist of Killer of Men, shows the reader how a young man can move from farmer/blacksmith, through to soldier, and eventually the titular Killer of Men.
The author, a former career officer in the US Navy, does a really great job of explaining how combat worked in the ancient world, and through the lens of an older Arimnestros looking back at his younger life, gives the reader context, as well as making the book a potentially interesting listen for those who prefer audio books.
This was a great read for me, and definitely has me interested in reading Cameron's follow up, Marathon.
1 month ago