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The Persian Boy (Alexander the Great #2)

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  5,518 Ratings  ·  364 Reviews
“It takes skill to depict, as Miss Renault has done, this half-man, half Courtesan who is so deeply in love with the warrior.”–The Atlantic Monthly

The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander’s life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom with Alexander after the M
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 12th 1988 by Vintage (first published 1972)
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Robert Coleman I just read it and it can definitely be read as a stand alone. I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I just ordered the 1st book and will read…moreI just read it and it can definitely be read as a stand alone. I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I just ordered the 1st book and will read that next. (less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 27, 2014 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to think I despised love stories. I would wonder what was wrong with me; love stories are supposed to move us, I would think. They're supposed to make us feel things other stories cannot. So I thought. But all the "love stories" I saw were the unbelievable kind: The ridiculous caricatures on display in "romantic" comedies, the happily ever afters we were fed in fairy tales. "Where was the pain?", I would ask. Where was the suffering, and the longing. And perhaps above all, do these charac ...more
After thinking about this book more I had to change the rating.

The lack of my perfect Hephaistion ruined the book for me. He was the most important person in Alexander’s life, for goodness' sake! It doesn’t matter if they were actually lovers or not. He was the only person who loved Alexander as a person. And that’s why Alexander valued his opinion the most. Hephaistion never lied to Alexander, if he thought that the king was wrong, he said it. He was a very brave man, capable of doing amazing
Oct 24, 2014 Terry rated it liked it
I really don’t have a lot to say about this book. It’s the first one by Renault that I’ve been…hmm, not disappointed, but perhaps underwhelmed by. We continue with the story of Alexander the Great from the point at which we left him in Fire from Heaven. Or we sort of do…because this volume is told to us as the first-person memoirs of Bagoas, a Persian noble whose family was killed during internecine fighting for the Persian throne. Bagoas is captured as a young boy by his family’s murderers and ...more
Every time I pick this book up to read just a passage I find myself getting sucked in again. This is my desert island book, if I could just bring one with me. Every time I read it I could just turn it over and start from the beginning again. It's epic and then again, it's about a boy's first love. There's the sweep of history, and then there's very personal humor and heartbreak. Seriously, Bagoas will rip your heart out. The last line makes me cry.

I will probably never be able to read Funeral G
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Persian Boy (Alexander the Great #1), Mary Renault
عنوان: پسر ایرانی؛ ماری رنولت؛ مترجم: ابوالقاسم حالت؛ تهران، ققنوس، 1369، شابک: 9643110249؛ در 651 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1373، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م
کتاب دوم از سه گانه (تریلوژی) سرگذشت اسکندر
بالای عنوان: سرگذشت واقعی داریوش سوم و اسکندر مقدونی
عنوان: پسر ایرانی؛ ماری رنولت؛ مترجم: مهتاب سلطانی راد؛ تهران، نوین، 1388، شابک: 9789646325630؛ در 564 ص؛
twelvejan [Alexandria]
4.5 Conquered Stars

I drew close and whispered, "I love you, Alexander," and kissed him. Never mind, I thought, from whom his heart accepts it. Let it be according to his wish.

My hair had fallen on his breast. His eyes opened; his hand moved, and touched a strand, and ran it between his fingers.

He knew me. To that I will take my oath before the gods. It was to me that he bade farewell."

Despite enjoying Fire from Heaven, I was reluctant to continue with The Persian Boy. I assumed it was written i
Jun 13, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-club
Extremely vivid, descriptive historical fiction about the relationship between Alexander the Great and a slave boy named Bagoas, and (I say this as someone with very little interest in romance/love stories) a touchingly beautiful love story. The two characters are so gorgeously human and wonderful, and the selfless, unconditional love Bagoas feels for Alexander is just so moving and real. It’s a sad story, but in my opinion never maudlin, and it inspired so many deep emotions in me that it left ...more
It is possible - though somewhat distressing - that my love affair with Mary Renault is beginning to draw to a close. It began about eight years ago, when I first read The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea surrounding a passionate, pilgrimage-like trip to Greece. I was amazed that Renault possessed the same respect, reverence even for the Greeks and the Greek culture that I did. The care and seriousness with which she endowed her historical novels impressed me - here, I thought, is another ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Lola rated it it was amazing
The only historical romance the stole my heart and broke it at the sad. Bagoas was a young nobleman's son. Through treachery of his father's friend, his own family was killed and him sold into slavery, gelded and sold to a merchant. He was only 12 and he was raped and molested by his master and clients. Later he was sold to the King of Persia and became a dancer and a pleasure slave. When Alexander came, he escaped and was presented to Alexander as a gift. This here begins the romance ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: interesados en Alejandro Magno
Mis conocimientos sobre Alejandro Magno antes de leer esta novela eran nulos. Sobre Grecia tampoco sabía mucho: conjunto de ciudades estado, cuna del pensamiento occidental, algo de mitología y que los romanos copiaron todo de los griegos. La educación secundaria se centró en el estudio de Roma profundizado más adelante en la facultad de Derecho. Lo romano, sí, ampliamente estudiado, mientras que Grecia se dejaba de lado.

A raíz de un viaje reciente al norte de Grecia pude visitar la tumba de Fil
rating: 6/5!

I am in love with Bagoas' Alexander!

This second (because it wouldn’t be like me to actually read books in their intended order, now would it?) in Renault’s trilogy about the life of Alexander the Great. This novel is told from the point of view of Bagoas, his lover and servant. Bagoas, Persian king Darius’ eunuch slave, was given to Alexander by a Persian noble to gain favor after they murdered Darius. Alexander sets him free but Bagoas chooses to stay and serve him, and then proceed
I had to sit with this book and digest it for a few days after finishing before I could even start to put together coherent thoughts about it.

The writing style is a lot simpler from the first book, where you chase around Alexander's thoughts in a limited-third-person. This book is a relatively straight forward first-person told by Bagoas, and you spend most of your mental effort on the themes instead of the prose, which is appreciated.

The fundamental theme of the book, to my read, is that of u
Nov 07, 2010 Lishesque rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favebooks
Some favorite parts:

"We had our summer. On the hills with the hounds crying, racing the clouds; in the rose garden with its lotus pools; in the high hall whose columns were sheathed with gold and silver, as I did my Dance of the River to the sound of flutes; in the great Bedchamber where I had been shamed and now was cherished, each day and night, I used to say to myself, I will miss nothing; I will never let my eye or my ear or my soul or my senses sleep, never forget to know that I am happy. F
A good novel about a Persian slave boy who is picked up by, and adventures with, Alexander the Great. I was happy to recognize several incidents and characters within - it's very well researched.

I'm not one usually to tolerate love stories and romances and intrigues, but this seemed more palatable. Give it a shot if you like either history or romance, and don't mind homosexuality. If you are none of these, pass it over.
Crystal Starr Light
Oct 07, 2014 Crystal Starr Light rated it really liked it
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Iset
Bullet Review:


That ending!! Where's the next book?! How can it just end like that?!

Full Review:

Alexander the Great (or, according to my personal historian, as his title should be known, in its native tongue, "o Megas Alexandros") is absolutely an awe-inspiring person. When you put into perspective the time period, the cultures, and then think about the things Alexander did, it's absolutely extraordinary.

This is the story of Alexander's later life, as told through the eyes of his Persian "boy

The Persian Boy follows on from Fire From Heaven and takes us to the heart of Alexander’s life story; his travels and conquests of the Persian empire as Macedonian king.

The first thing I noted straight away was that The Persian Boy has a different feel from Fire From Heaven. Fire From Heaven is told in traditional third person but mainly from the perspective of the young Alexander, and the story ends just as Alexander becomes king. Before going into this book I expected The Persian Boy to direct
Erik Graff
Jul 21, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
This is the second of Mary Renault's Alexander trilogy. The first, Fire from Heaven, deals with his childhood until the death of the king of Macedon, his father. The third deals with events following upon his death. The Persian Boy details his conquests from the perspective of one of his lovers, a eunuch based on an actual historical personage.

It was at about this time, while in the midst of a Mary Renault binge, that I came upon one of her contemporary novels at a bookstore near Columbia Univer
Aug 27, 2011 Karen rated it liked it
Overall a lovely read. However, and this is where I will sound like a petulant child, this read a bit like Alexander/Hephaistion and Alexander/Bagoas fanfic in which Hephaistion could just as well not have been there, but the pairing was put in the header to justify the fic's posting on an Alexander/Hephaistion community. I LOVE Hephaistion and I love him even more with Alexander, but I get the feeling that Mary Renault didn't like him very much and instead drew Bagoas into the light and went li ...more
Ariana Fae
Mar 08, 2016 Ariana Fae rated it really liked it
Renault breathed life into ancient historical characters and created a story that memorized me with The Persian Boy. First person P.O.V is not my favorite tense but Renault does it wonderfully drawing me into Bagoas’ world. He is one of the most complex and fully fleshed characters I have read in quite a while with strengths and flaws that made me adore him. Through Bahaos’ eyes not only do we experience his world but also get an intimate view of Alexander the Great’s life. We see the great lead ...more
Jul 16, 2008 Kev rated it it was amazing
My favorite of all of her's. I don't want to give anything away, so read it. Alexandros III King of Macedon, known as Alexander the Great from age 25 - death, just before his 33rd birthday.

It's beautiful.
Dec 30, 2015 Felix rated it it was amazing
Ohhh boy. Oh boy.

I went into this book mostly for the fact it was narrated by Bagoas. Eunuchs are very rare in historical fiction, let alone sympathetic ones, and god forbid as main characters, so when I first heard about this book I practically jumped on it. I had never been very interested in Hellenistic history, especially Alexander (I know, I know) so I'd actually let it sit on my Kindle app for a few months before really looking at it. Once I got home for winter break, I was looking for som
Seth Reeves
2.5 Stars

Can't say I hated this book nor that I liked it, really. The story is narrated entirely by a eunuch, Bagoas, that Alexander is gifted by a defeated person lord early on in Alexander's conquest of Persia and Asia in general. The eunuch loves Alexander so much that it gets annoying as the story goes on. He is constantly going in about his love for Alexander and their nights together, also in very 1950s prudish explication prose. I'm not opposed to reading about relationships but as this i
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Tu non ti fermerai mai, non è vero, Alessandro?"

Un grande romanzo epico, vivido, intenso, scritto magistralmente.
Potrei chiudere così, ma basterebbe una sola frase?? Di certo non renderei omaggio al grande talento dell'autrice.
Parliamo di Alessandro Magno: una delle più interessanti personalità storiche. Nonché una delle figure più abusate, e mal interpretate. Io amo Alessandro Magno: da storico (quale mi prefiggo essere, presunzione a parte), mi caratterizza un'antipatia diffusa verso tutte le
Oct 11, 2011 Jane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to know more about Alexander and his loves
Recommended to Jane by: booklist on Amazon
An excellent well-written story of how an ex-prince became a eunuch and fulfilled his destiny in the arms of Alexander the Great!

His early years as a boy and his training as a court eunuch seemed to prepare him for his greatest love ....a love he did not think he would find.

He was Alexander's eromenus for the last eight years of Alexander's life. As great and devoted as he was he was jealous of Hephaestion's special love and place in Alexander's life. In fact it was reported that a Queen mistake
Aug 10, 2012 Shawn rated it liked it
Mary Renault is a master historical novelist. I love the way she showed us Alexander the Great differently than he is often portrayed in the history books and Pressfield novels. I enjoy Pressfield's work as well but to him Alexander was first and foremost a classical Hellenist and warrior. Renault focuses on Alexander the lover how he was viewed by his Persian boy; a eunuch, a slave, but also an influential master of his privy chamber. I was bothered in the beginning by Renault's romanticizing w ...more
Feb 08, 2009 xebec rated it liked it
Part of me really disliked this book; part of me couldn't help but like it. The language gets a little flowery sometimes, esp when she starts talking about love and (always cleverly elided) sex. The close adherence to history made parts of it read less-than-exciting. (i.e. "Great, now Alexander is going to preside over more games.... when is he going to drop dead alreadygjkfgjkdfg?!") I like Alexander but clearly not as much as the deadly combination of Renault-through-Bagoas does. Alexander com ...more
Elen Sentier
Aug 24, 2014 Elen Sentier rated it liked it
Well, I've begun The Persian Boy but like some other reviewers I'm not finding it as good as Fire from Heaven. I so wish Renault had written a sequel straight on from her first Alexander book; I want to know what he did next when his father was dead, how he crossed to Asia, about the battles. I find myself flipping pages because I don't really and deeply care about Bagoas and he irritates me. Hmmm ... we'll see how I come to the end of it this time around, it must be 15 year and maybe more since ...more
Isabella Chen
Jul 28, 2014 Isabella Chen rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up after watching Oliver Stone's Alexander, which I found out was based on Mary Renault's version of the historical figure. Bagoas in the movie was an intriguing and captivating character. Unfortunately so little was shown of him I felt rather cheated. Not much has survived (if it was recorded in the first place) about Alexander's eromenos, but with what has, Renault has pieced together a beautiful, bittersweet tale that gives a different perspective on the life and campaigns ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rachel by: Christin
Okay, I definitely liked this book. I didn't read the first in the series, and from the sounds of things, I'll be avoiding the last in the series due to sadness, but this one is good.

I'm not a big historical fiction kind of person, mostly because I hate getting a history lesson when I read, but this isn't like that. (Thank goodness Christin told me this or else I probably wouldn't have even tried it.) This just a re-telling of a story that happened a long time ago, from the point of view of som
I would use the verb 'drink' to describe reading this book. I DRANK this book. This book is the book that got me back into reading after a loooong drought of collegiate nonfiction action. It is brilliant.

So my degree's in History. I'm a complete nerd. Ms Renault took some liberties in filling in the holes in what we really know about Alexander et al - because she had to - and they are plausible and awesome and rendered in the most historically accurate historical fiction I've ever read in my li
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The House of Dion...: The Persian Boy 8 12 Apr 02, 2016 11:37PM  
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Mary Renault was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece. In addition to vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato and Alexander the Great, she wrote a non-fiction biography of Alexander.

Her historical novels are all set in ancient Greece. They include a pair of novels about the mythological hero Theseus and a trilogy about the career of Alexander
More about Mary Renault...

Other Books in the Series

Alexander the Great (3 books)
  • Fire from Heaven (Alexander the Great, #1)
  • Funeral Games (Alexander the Great, #3)

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“One must live as if it would be forever, and as if one might die each moment. Always both at once.” 2268 likes
“It is better to believe in men too rashly, and regret, than believe too meanly. Men could be more than they are, if they would try for it. He has shown them that.” 25 likes
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