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The Sun's Bride

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Spring, 266 BC. When Isokrates, helmsman of the Rhodian warship Atalanta, encounters a pirate vessel off the Lycian coast, he finds himself caught up in affairs of state more deadly than the naval battles hes accustomed to. Among the pirates victims is a beautiful woman, the mistress of a king, who is fleeing to her lovers enemy with news that will start a war to engulf th ...more
Hardcover, 231 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Severn House Publishers
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Keith Currie
I will start by saying that I really enjoyed this novel. Set in the Hellenistic Greek world the plot revolves around the relationship between the helmsman Isokrates and the musician Dionysia. He sails a Rhodian warship on the hunt for pirates while she is the former mistress of the Syrian king, Antiochos. When he rescues her from pirates at the beginning of the novel, she is able to provide information which ultimately leads to war between the three kings of Egypt, Syria and Macedonia.

The plot o
I know it sounds like a cheesy title, but do not judge it for the title. The Suns Bride of the title is the books location, the island of Rhodes. The historical setting is the Hellenistic period, and this is a pirate book in a way, but Rhodean trade anti-piracy patrols (not that I knew who invented naval law) in a background of the endless wars between the descendants of Alexanders generals. This originality in picking settings, and the way Bradshaw has to bring obscure ancient history to life a ...more
Libby Ames
As usual, Gillian Bradshaw tells an exciting story based in a little known period of history. In The Sun's Bride, Bradshaw explores a new area of interest by basing most of her novel around a military galley. She gives interesting descriptions of the different ships of the time period and how they were manned. Although I don't have a passion for naval warfare (or even that much of an interest), through Bradshaw's apt description I was able to understand and even enjoy the battle scenes.

For those
Although this story starts with a heavy dose of Greek phrases and details of how ships from Rhodes were designed in 246 BC, the characters and the setting are wonderful. There's nothing new in the story of the honorable helmsman who saves the beautiful woman from the clutches of pirates, but the chase, the battles on the sea, and the detailed descriptions of life in the ancient world make the tale an enjoyable read.
Apr 10, 2010 Phoebe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lisa, Kezia, Deborah, Valerie, Ann
A self-described "important man" at sea, and "just another poor sailor ashore" on Rhodes, Isokrates is helmsman of a brand new galley, whose purpose is to overtake and sink pirate ships. On her maiden voyage, the Atalanta encounters a pirate vessel towing a merchant ship, and of course goes to the rescue. Isokrates' life will be forever changed by this adventure, since one of the pirates' captives is a beautiful woman on the run from King Antiochos. Set during what the author helpfully notes as ...more
Chris Bradley
gillian bradshaw is a great well informed writer. The kindle version of her books are unreasonably expensive and getting second hand versions on amazon is cheaper but brings her no income. perhaps a good time to reconsider marketing. I will spend as much on second hand as I expected to on kindle but the money does not go to the author
Gillian Bradshaw is one of my favorite authors for historical fiction, particularly greco-roman fiction. The Sun's Bride was a typical book for her: set in ancient Rhodes, great characters, intriguing plot, and terrific attention to historical detail. This book had a lot of details about sailing and ships during that era, but also had wonderful and memorable characters, particularly the protagonist Isokrates and his best friend. My only wish was that the female love interest, Dionysia could have ...more
That rating probably wouldn't hold up if I were comparing it to a few others of Bradshaw's, and might not hold up if I were choosing my best books of the year, but does reflect how I felt when I read it. It was exactly the book I wanted to be reading and I didn't have any reservations about loving it. I'd never read anything about Rhodes in this period (3rd century BC) or any other, for that matter, and that use of less common historical settings is one of the delights of reading Gillian Bradsha ...more
Another excellent historical fiction novel by Gillian Bradshaw. Not as wonderful asRender Unto Caesar, but still a very solid novel. The romance storyline was a little disappointingly trite, but the characters were still all very well done, and the plot extremely enjoyable. And, as always, the historical veracity was peerless.
Not one of Bradshaw's best,* unfortunately; the romance was telegraphed, and the political plot was ...weird. Hard to follow? Pointless? I can't quite say what was wrong with it, but I've seen her handle plot much better. That said, this is a fun, tidy little novel, set in an awesome period (Hellenistic Greece, omg ilu), with a pretty kickass female protagonist, and I cannot but approve of all of this.

* Light-years better than her English Civil War books, omg.
Enjoyable historical fiction set in an unfamiliar time frame. The setting is the eastern Mediterranean where Rhodes was a shipping power, but not a military one. The big military and political powers were Egypt, Greece and Syria (all ruled by Greeks, by the way). The time is post-Alexander and pre-Rome. The plot involves pirates, a beautiful fugitive from the Syrian court, and the Rhodian Naval helmsman who rescues her from the pirates. Good fun all around.
Oct 10, 2009 Carol rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs
As usual with her books, Bradshaw definitely did her homework. However, where most of her stories are compelling, I had to force myself to finish this one. Since it was primarily about life in ancient Rhodes and focused on the life of a helmsman on a naval vessal, I think it would appeal more to men than women. There was a nice love story that ran through it but not enough to recommend it to readers who are into that genre.
Bradshaw does pirates!

Okay, fine; it follows a captain in the Rhodian Navy, while powers like Egypt and Greece loom. He fights pirates. But there's still a fair amount of swashbuckling and some heavy-handed romance. I found it a fun read, a bit brisk story-wise -- Bradshawian cotton candy, if you will, with the usual fine historical trappings but little substance.
Fun adventursome read with interesting historical background. Bradshaw sets her stories in time periods seldom used by other authors--in this case the 3rd century BC. She includes interesting details of life in classical time periods--food, dress, housing, music, politics, and in this case Mediterranean pirates and the Rhodian Navy. I always look forward to her books.
Bradshaw's books this decade have been fairly workmanlike, although i enjoy her practical-minded heroes. this one was no exception - somehow it never really came to life. although the pursuit of the evil cretan pirates was mildly gripping. mostly it has just inspired me to reread The Bearkeeper's Daughter, The Colour of Power, and Horses of Heaven.
Gillian Bradshaw is one of those authors who does historical fiction brilliantly. Even if I have no interest whatsoever in the historical period which she is writing in, I will pick up her novels because I know they will be excellent.
Gillian Bradshaw reminds me of Rosemary Sutcliff who wrote marvelous classic historical fiction for children. Bradshaw puts alot of her classics research in this book, but it is in essense a pretty good love story.
Mary Ann
I love historical fiction and this was a really good book. The only thing that I was sad about was that there was quite a bit of bad language. Otherwise, I thought that it was a fabulous book.
Disappointing. I've read others by the same author but this one, set in ancient Greece just didn't hold me. Good descriptions however of the ships and lives of the oarsmen.
Jul 26, 2011 Lisa added it
Very enjoyable! Gillian Bradshaw always has great characterization in her books. I also highly recommend another book of hers - Cleopatra's Heir (2002).
This was quite a good read, but with Bradshaw, everything gets judged against The Beacon at Alexandria and never quite reaches that pinnacle
Not my fave period in the world's history, but still a solid book.
A decent read, but not as memorable or exciting as some of Bradshaw's other work.
Kristyn Jensen
This was a very cute story.
historical fiction
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Born in Arlington, Virgina, Gillian Bradshaw grew up in Washington, Santiago, Chile and Michigan. She is a Classics graduate from Newnham College, Cambridge, and published her first novel, Hawk of May, just before her final term. A highly acclaimed historical novelist, Gillian Bradshaw has won the Hopwood Award for Fiction, among other prizes. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and their four ...more
More about Gillian Bradshaw...
Hawk of May The Beacon at Alexandria The Sand-Reckoner Island of Ghosts Kingdom of Summer

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