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Of Merchants and Heroes
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Of Merchants and Heroes

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A consuming story of love, loss and redemption set in the classical world of Rome and Greece, "Of Merchants and Heroes" is the story of a young man's pursuit of his father's murderer and of the values and qualities he develops that will make him a man...a man capable of a deep, noble and enduring love. At the end of the third century BC, as Republican Rome's long war with ...more
Paperback, 407 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Macmillan
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 275)
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Marina
A child stands on the edge of a cliff. He's just seen a young girl commit an enormous act of bravery. He's just seen his father stand up to death itself to save his life. He knows the face of the man who murdered his father. He will remember it forever. His father traded his own life for his. He takes this gift. He runs.

A young boy comes home to his mother, an honourable and brave Roman woman. A woman who trades her own happiness to save their farm - she marries the boy's uncle. Not a bad man. A
...more
Laurentiu Lazar
Feb 03, 2014 Laurentiu Lazar rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laurentiu by: ben kane
Shelves: 2013
Recently, I’ve been a bit gluttonous, reading mostly novels of Ancient Rome period. Thus, my opinion might be a bit biased since I can’t seem to get enough; the stupid smile still lingers on my face as books come and go. Therefore, show must go on! Romans! Romans! Romans!

This novel has a bit of everything: war, politics, philosophy, love... betrayal, friendship, lust, gluttony and so on and so forth. The author managed to induce so many concepts, all perfectly balanced in a story where Roman an
...more
Liviu

I almost bought this book when it was released in the UK last year, but the excerpt was kind of flat. Today I got my library copy and while readable, the book brings nothing new to someone who has read tons of historical fiction including masters like D. Dunnett, C. McCullough, Mary Renault, R. Graves, M. Waltari...

Flat and un-engaging prose, though reasonably interesting characters, but not even on Steven Pressfield or MC Ford level, not to speak of the great writers above.

Still the subject
...more
Sherry
This book achieves the ultimate HF goal of transporting the reader not just to a different place and time but to a different state of mind. When young Marcus's father is brutally killed on a journey, Marcus swears vengeance on the murderer, a pirate captain. Fortunately for us, it takes a number of years before he and the pirate confront one another. In the meantime Marcus learns to cope with an avaricious stepfather and an insane military commander; an elegant and clever hetaira, an idealistic ...more
Zare
Very interesting book about Marcus, man that wowed to avenge his fathers death at the hands of Mediterranean pirates. This will take him on a long voyage - he will take part in actions of Roman Republic against Phillip the Macedonian (the one trying to do the same as his more known predecessor). It is only a year or two after final victory at Zama and Romans are reluctant to engage a new enemy far from their border. During his rise through ranks of Roman army Marcus will come in touch with Greek ...more
Mary
The young Roman protagonist of classicst Paul Waters' first novel, "Of Merchants and Heroes", seeks to find his own identity in a society in the midst of redefining itself, as the traditionally conservative Roman culture begins to embrace, albeit uncertainly, Greek Hellenism at the end of the second Punic War. Born of a landed but impoverished family on a farm in the centuries old city of Praeneste, young Marcus' life takes a dramatic turn when he and his father, along with other travelers, are ...more
bkwurm
Pretty standard story. Young naive farmboy gets a rude introduction to life's harsh realities, endures and matures, saves an important personage in a chance encounter, has his qualities recognised, meets the love of his life but does not know it until much later, etc, etc,..

The only thing that sets this apart from other such typical fare is that it is set during a little known period of Roman history, namely, the aftermath of Hannibal's retreat from Italy and the rise of Philip of Macedon.

Too ma
...more
Vicki Cline
This story takes place at the end of the third century BC. The narrator is a young Roman who escaped from some pirates who had captured the ship he and his father were traveling on. The pirates killed his father and he vowed to have revenge on the killer. A few years later, he has been adopted by his father's brother, a merchant, and is sent to Tarentum in the south of Italy to help the business. There he meets Titus Flamininus, a historical character, who will later lead Rome to defeat Philip V ...more
Ben Kane
I bought this book thanks to a recommendation by another Amazon reviewer, and I am very glad that I did. Of Merchants and Heroes is an extremely well-written book, full of beautiful described scenes and wise words. Readers can find the basic plotline in the book description, but the story arc follows a Roman youth, Marcus, into early adulthood; this takes place against the backdrop of the end of the final war against Carthage and Rome's ensuing entanglement in Greece's politics. There is revenge ...more
Tapley
I liked that the historical period covered, is one that I didn't know much about, and that I haven't seen used that much in historical fiction. That makes it a good fit for those who like Ancient Rome/Greece stories in general. I enjoyed the main character and several of the supporting characters - I felt like the author did a good job of showing a range of people with a range of characteristics. His "good" characters were sympathetic, and hero-like while still feeling human. I particularly like ...more
Bryn Hammond
Very Greek. I felt a rare air of authenticity with this quiet story. Its main concern was with Classical values, the learning of them and the loss of them -- from an age of heroes and aesthetic ideals (Greece) to one of merchants and commercial interests (Rome).

However, the revenge plot (mostly relegated to the beginning and the end) was too conventional. By hints in the text I'd been led to hope (view spoiler)
...more
Howard Anders
Very good read. Mr. Waters demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of what everyday life was like during the Classical period; this adds to the realism of the story. Some readers may be put off by the sexual side of the relationship between the two main male characters, but this was a facet of life in ancient Greece, and it is not overdone here. I found the material on athletic training and competitions fascinating. Well done, Mr. Waters.
Jessica
Points for solid research, but an otherwise unremarkable story with a hero far too perfect and insightful to be a plausible teenager. Feh.
Speesh
This is one, I thought after I’d finished it, that perhaps would have benefited by having its ‘Historical Note’ at the start. I certainly found it to be a better book looking back at it after having read the Historical Note, than I did while I was actually ploughing through it. Though, I can maybe see why note was placed at the end, not least because some readers may be put off by the information about homosexuality in the ancient Greek and Roman world. Not an easy one to know how to feel about. ...more
Jane
Original title: Of merchants and heroes. I wouldn't mind reading this again; I read it back in 2012, originally.
Alwyn Redcliffe
Good b.c
King philip of macedonia
Maggie
Interesting take on early decline of Roman Empire, beginning of Greek and Roman cultural fusion.
Ken
Read in two, not very good.
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong page count 7 29 Apr 18, 2014 10:56AM  
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Paul Waters was born and schooled in England, but says his real education did not begin until he was seventeen, when he ran away to sea.

He spent the next two years travelling the world on a tramp steamer. It was during this time, somewhere in the Indian Ocean, that he picked up a copy of Herodotus, and began a love affair with the classical world of Greece and Rome.

Later he returned to England and
...more
More about Paul Waters...
Cast Not The Day The Philosopher Prince

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“You see, Marcus, some things have value yet have no price, and a wise man learns them and their worth. So do not let the standard of the marketplace be your guide. A man goes there for flour and greens, but not for virtue.” 1 likes
“I remember Cannae," she said, raising her head, "when we thought all was lost. Carthage had defeated us, and there were those who gave up hope. Yet we survived, by our fortitude, and by believing that we should endure. There are times, Marcus, when courage is all you have."
I looked down at the stone floor, chastened into silence by her cold, stern words. This was her way, as it had always been. It was the Roman way. Grief was an indulgence; and though she surely suffered, her suffering was for her alone. It seemed hard, but she had come from a hard family, brave men and brave women who through the generations had survived by facing down hardship and loss. Of all her long line of ancestors, she was not going to be the one to break.
And nor, I decided, was I.”
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