Alex Roque's Reviews > The Persian Boy

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
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Jul 06, 12

Read in June, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Originally posted on Chicks With Crossbows

I was extremely sad when I discovered that writer Mary Renault had passed away many years ago, though she had lived a long life, and I wouldn’t have been able to read her books when they were being first published. XD Since reading The Persian Boy last December, I have been in love with her writing style and stories. She wrote from the first person, but always spoke from the time period that she was writing from, really transporting the reader to the era she was writing in. This had me hooked, and I don’t usually enjoy reading first person.

Also, she was writing about m/m relationships set in a historical period, and I just can’t ignore that awesomeness. And not to mention that she had been writing stories with gay/lesbian relationships since the 1940s. I wish I could have met a woman who was strong about her beliefs during that time period. Though she did have to move to South Africa in order to live her life and write what she wanted to, but dammit, she made it so that she could do it, and that probably took guts.

The story of The Persian Boy isn’t that far off from what history already claims, and it’s not over the top and keeps the romantic relationship realistic to the time period. It follows the life of Bagoas, a son of a wealthy family who is captured and made to be a eunich, sold to King Darius III and eventually falls into the hands [or bed] of Alexander the Great. From there, Mary takes the reader on a journey of Alexander’s conquests through the eyes of Bagoas, and we see how they grow closer together as his army travels. Even though I knew how the story of Alexander ends, I was still brought to tears [and not little tears, I'm talking bawling here] at the end of the book, and one of my other friends who was reading it couldn’t even finish it. The connection between Bagoas and Alexander is believable and strong, and I was totally drawn into the story and couldn’t put the book down.

The Persian Boy is one of two fictional books that Mary writes about Alexander, the other one being Fire From Heaven, from Alexander’s point of view from childhood up to his father’s death. I will definitely be picking up that book, as well as reading her other historical fiction! If you enjoy Greek history, then I definitely think you will enjoy this book, and her others as well!
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