Kineas must challenge the man he once worshipped in the second entry in the Tyrant series
Kineas, the Athenian cavalry commander, has come a long way since being dismissed from the army of Alexander and vengefully exiled by his own city. Together, his mercenary force and their Scythian allies have defeated a mighty Macedonian army at the Ford of the River God, and his adopted city of Olbia is now free once more. But his destiny will not allow him to enjoy the fruits of victory for long. To the east, Alexander is threatening to crush the Scythian hordes once and for all. The Lady Srayanka of the Cruel Hands, the Scythian warrior-princess who spurned a king's love to be at Kineas's side, is pledged to take her tribe east to help stop "the monster"—and Kineas must follow, even if it means embracing the violent death in battle that he has seen prefigured in countless dreams. But long before he can confront the might of Alexander's army alongside his beloved Srayanka, he must undertake an epic journey of breathtaking daring. Includes a glossary.
Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.
After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.
[Read in Spanish] -- [Reseña en español más abajo]
I liked this book more than the first one, especially because of the last 100 pages approx. In general this second part has a lot of action, but there were other parts that I felt that there was a kind of "loop" and I was even lost sometimes. I felt the story was towards nowhere, In any way, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Even though the story is a bit too long every now and then, it was built in a very smart way as well as interesting and intense for the reader (myself) through many pages. Talking about the story itself, there are some characters that I really loved -besides Kineas-, such as Srayanka, Niceas or especially Diodoro and Sitalkes (Those are the characters' names on the Spanish version, at least).
I recommend the book. It is maybe a bit too long, but besides that it is completely worth it. I will not say any "spoiler", of course :)
Este libro me gustó más que el primero, especialmente por las últimas 100 páginas aprox. En general, esta segunda parte tiene bastante acción, pero hay otras en que sentí que el libro cae en un 'loop' y a veces me perdía; sentía que no iba a ningún lado, o por lo menos hacia ninguna dirección en específico. De todas formas, le doy 3 de 5 estrellas, ya que es una historia, si bien un poco larga por momentos, construída de manera muy inteligente y también muy interesante e intensa para el lector varias veces. Hablando de la historia en general, hay personajes a los que les tomé cariño (además de Kineas), como por ejemplo Srayanka, Niceas o especialmente a Diodoro y Sitalkes.
Recomiendo el libro: quizás es un poco largo, pero a pesar de todo vale la pena. Por supuesto, no haré ningún 'spoiler' :)
Kineas and his companions are back. Alexander the Great is smarting from his captain's defeat and vows to subdue the Eastern Scythians on the Sea of Grass. Kineas and Srayanka - his Western Scythian woman - have vowed to aid their Eastern allies. And so begins an epic trek across the Ancient World.
Again, the author captures the feel of the ancient world. The distances involved are staggering. Crossing from Crimea to the Caspian sea is an unbelievable journey. Cameron captures the spirit of this trip - the logistics needed to move two thousand warriors and their camp followers. This is the author's strength - the authenticity. When Kineas crosses the Sea of Grass you can feel the wind whipping against your face.
Unfortunately, the authenticity is also the book's weakness. It is, at times, a very long story. Fortunately there is a payoff in the wait. The book's action scenes - the fight against Persian bandits, the battle in Hyrkernia (sp?), and finally the epic battle against Alexander himself are simply awesome.
The other thing that kind of bugged me is the mysticism associated with Kineas. He is having prophetic dreams. He sees his death, but also his victory. Meh. I don't like it. In my historical fiction I prefer to keep magic out of the picture - unless it is simply peoples' beliefs. In this case Kineas appears to be actually having real mystic experiences.
Three stars out of five. The book is simply too long at points, and I don't like the mysticism. On the plus side the action is great - epic battles and Alexander in a rare defeat at the hands of Scythian barbarians and a few Greek mercenaries.
This wonderful and thrilling book is the 2nd volume of the fascinating and exciting Tyrant series. Again the book has been thoroughly researched historically, for it gives us a well explained historical note as well as an informative author's note, and not to forget at the beginning a well defined glossary and maps. The storytelling is once more of a superb quality, for it brings vividly to life the beautiful as well as the brutal world of the Ancient Greeks and their immediate surroundings. This book starts off in the year 329 BC and once again it will tell us the travails and hardships of our main character Kineas of Athens. Kineas now finds himself with the Lady Srayanka, the Scythian warrior Princess of the Cruel Hands and who's carrying his child, on the fertile shores of the Euxine Sea in Scythia. But hundreds of miles in the east, across the sea of grass, Alexander The Great is on the verge of destroying Eastern Scythia if they do not submit, and so Kineas and Srayanka, who are honour-bound to their clansmen, but each in his/her own separate way, head east to fight "The Monster". What follows is a gripping and thrilling story that keeps you spellbound from start to finish, and it's also a story with great interaction and with hard fought battle scenes in which Kineas and his Scythian allies have to fight for their lives to uphold Alexander and his army. Fully recommended, for this is another superb piece of an Ancient Greek story and one that I would like to call "A Fantastic Follow-up"!
Really enjoyable read, the deeper you get into the story the more you want. The detail on tactics is great, and the ending leaves you wanting more of the same. Highly recommended, now for his next one..
I think Cameron appreciates this (reader's aversion for the hero fallen) so he invests heavily in presenting it's inevitability. I am curious as to the author's own religiosity - it takes more than just a mindset of fantasy to weave a tome so rich in spiritual intervention guiding the leader so consequentially... I challenge Cameron to try a tome on David, son of Jesse, conqueror of Goliath of Gath
I just finished this book, in a cafe, with tears in my eyes. The waitress looked at me strangely. What a book, what a series, what an author. I’ve read at least a dozen of Christian’s books now, and such a great turn of phrase. You are now my favorite author, surpassing the great Bernard C. Thank you!! Please keep writing.
Was Alexander's army ever beaten? Apparently so, by the Sycthians with the aid of some Greek heroes lead by Kineas. Finely detailed portrait of the warriors who turned back the 'monster' at the Jaxartes river.
This was not in my view as good as the first in the series. The thing that spoilt it somewhat for me was the main character's frequent dreams about his impending death. I found the dreams boring and just an interruption to an otherwise interesting story.
I stumbled into this six-book series by way of one of my favorite recent fantasy series, the Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron. I noticed that, for some unknown reason, Cameron also wrote under the name of Christian Cameron, and had a series set in the time of Alexander the Great.
As one who knows way too much about that Hellenistic time period, and one who loved Cameron’s previous work, I was all in from the moment I started volume one, Tyrant. And as this is a connected series that really needs to be read in order to be appreciated, this review is of all six books considered as a whole, rather than a review of each book (though parenthetical notes will be appended for each).
The story covers about 30 years of ancient history, ending in 301 BCE at the Battle of Ipsos. Now if you already know who won the Battle of Ipsos, you will be a little too far ahead of the game, for much of the suspense of the series (which includes other historical events) will be lost – and you will also be surprised by some revisions Cameron makes in order to tell the story the way he wants to.
But the basic premise is this: Cameron inserts fictional, high-ranking characters into the complicated weave of Hellenistic history, and has them participate in events both major and minor. For the most part, this works extremely well, as Cameron’s grasp of the minutiae of Hellenistic life and his gritty sense of the bloody, painful and horrific cost of ancient warfare is superb. He is also an excellent writer, so the story moves along at a brisk pace, flagging only momentarily in the later volumes.
There are issues, of course. Like Star Trek, Kineas and Satyrus, the two main protagonists, are in the front lines way too often to be believed, especially in the later books, and their interactions with the major historical figures seem unnecessary, as if the editors insisted that somehow Kineas and Alexander are in contact, and so are Satyrus and various Hellenistic leaders.
Cameron, though, is perfectly willing to kill off major characters, and in sudden and unexpected ways, which adds a tremendous amount of tension to battle scenes and assassination attempts (unlike Star Trek). There’s also some magical realism thrown in, but any attempt to explain the plot would require much more patience than any reader of this review is likely to have.
But in short, Kineas, Satyrus and his woefully underutilized twin sister Melitta (why wasn’t she more prominent in the narrative?), all represent what we now consider Southern Russia, at the north of what we call the Black Sea. In those times, it was the place where the steppe nomads and expanding population of farmers and colonizers crossed paths, and it became a crucial part of the Hellenistic game of thrones given its ability to produce grain that the Mediterranean cities desperately needed to feed their people.
So Cameron tosses these characters, their soldiers and their grain into the Hellenistic mix, and in the end, comes up with a wonderful series that I enjoyed from start to finish. Then again, I love excellent historical fiction, and this is my favorite period, so I’m hardly unbiased. But I will say this: If you have even a passing interest in the world of Alexander the Great after his death, the Tyrant series is for you. I just wish there were more than six volumes.
* * * * *
A flaw with this and most of the series is a lack of maps. Even I, who know this world better than most, couldn't keep the geography straight at times. I guess maps are expensive, because a lot of books would be a lot better with more of them, including this series.
He de reconocer que esta segunda entrega de la saga "Tirano" empezó con mal pie. Si el final de la anterior novela te deja en medio de la acción, con un montón de asuntos de extrema urgencia por zanjar, en esta empieza todo relajado. Incluso algunos conflictos que esperas con interés se despachan en un visto y no visto que deja al lector un poco despagado.
Mal asunto suponía que además, los primeros capítulos fueran tan faltos de acción y resolutivos, con el retorno de sueños premonitorios, chamanismo y esas cosas que a mí, no me llaman nada. Pero de repente, todo se vuelve frenético, coge un ritmo que te atrapa y no puedes dejar de leerlo.
Kineas de Atenas sigue siendo un héroe atípico. Un líder con un carisma increíble entre los suyos, pero lleno de miedos y dudas. Y eso le hace aún más grande. Frente a él tenemos a su antagonista, Alejandro Magno, que ahora sí aparece mucho más en esta novela y muestra como sus ansias de dominar el mundo hacen mella en sus tropas.
En algunas partes del libro, me ha recordado mucho a Circo Máximo: La ira de Trajano de Santiago Posteguillo. Con personajes imprevistos, traiciones, dudas, giros, tomas de fortalezas... No tiene ese estilo más peliculero de Posteguillo en las batallas, pero Cameron se defiende muy bien.
Quizá el final es el que me ha dejado más helado, a la vez que ha apuntalado para bien la buena nota de este libro. Y es que me va a ser difícil olvidar las últimas páginas. Seguiremos con la saga...
I want to root for Christian Cameron--he gives a solid attempt at maintaining historical accuracy and he has picked a fine setting for this series. Nevertheless, his writing is sometimes rough (could have used another editing attempt in parts) and his characters are incredibly lacking. All of the protagonist's underlings are interchangeable, not only because of their names but because of their non-existent personalities. Kineas himself is a noble, humble, duty-first, can-do-no-wrong sort of figure, so there needs to be a good explanation for why he sets out on a massive boondoggle to go fight Alexander in the far reaches of the Persian Empire. We don't get one--we are merely expected to accept that he does this because he is in love, and that for some reason the "front" of Alexander's war in the far reaches of the lands of the Massagetae is the front that matters. If Kineas were a more flawed or fleshed-out character, perhaps a rationale could manifest, but this feels like a flimsy excuse for the protagonist and his warrior princess to wander the world and fight in battles. Suspension of disbelief is lost in such circumstances--Cameron wanted his battle with Zopyrion in the first book of the series, and wanted the second book to take place around modern-day Samarkand so the protagonist could fight Alexander, but did not lay the groundwork for this to make any sense.
Este libro me gustó más que el primero de la saga, en especial porque tiene un final (no como el anterior que te dejaba pagando). La verdad, el final me emocionó por varias razones, siento que es la mejor parte del libro por toda la ambientación que logra crear, que se vive de manera muy visual. El estilo del autor es un arma de doble filo (en general es de un inicio muy movido, pero luego se pone muy lento, hay una acción muy rápida y de nuevo se pone lento, y así sucesivamente). En las partes lentas la idea es que conozcas más a los personajes, pero hay muertes que no te emocionan tanto como deberían (porque hay muchos recuerdos de los personajes que o te lo muestran muy poco, o simplemente sólo te los mencionan, en plan “es que nos conocemos desde la infancia”). Ah y sobre eso de poner los textos literales de Homero u otras obras, no soy muy fan. Entiendo que que los griegos les gustaba citar, pero no aporta mucho a la historia, distrae, terminas leyéndolo como “sí, sí, les gustaba Homero”. Me pasaba algo similar con los sueños del protagonista. Me perdí también con los nombres, los personajes no son tan icónicos como para recordar de dónde venían... Dicho todo eso, debo decir que ese estilo, de acción y lentitud, al final logra su cometido al final... Pero aún así, la historia intermedia podría haber sido más emocionante. No sé si vuelva a leer algo más del autor.
Excellent military story with an intelligent main character (Athenian Greek) who asks big questions (sometimes prompted by a philosophical Spartan, Philokles), and through his love for a “barbarian” of the “sea of grass” (a Cossack princess? An Iranian?) and his own apparent gift of second sight, acts as a kind of bridge between Greek and barbarian cultures with their shamans and other non-Greek traditions.
I needed several maps to keep track of the action (not only are the places known to me on,y by name, such as Black Sea, Samarkand, etc.) but the author uses often the Greek names, e.g. Euxine for the Black Sea. Thank goodness for Google.
I also wished I had a “dramatis personae” to keep track of all the characters, many of whom had the same or similar names.
A great lesson in history, which is vaguely familiar to Westerners but not in the details.
I enjoyed parts of the book, but the womens lib stuff just went too far for me. I mean at one point the Amazon women is in labor, and still fighting on horseback and laughing as she slays men all around her... IN LABOR!!! I mean come on man, I get it you want to be a hero to women, but at least make it realistic. I bought this whole series and was excited for it after reading Alaxander God of War, but I'm stopping after book 2. The books are kinda like a spin off of each other, but they give conflicting information from 1 book to the next. At least be consistent. You won't find that here though.
Anything Christian Cameron writes is going to be freaking fantastic!!!!!! Ancient Greeks, Macedonians, Spartans, Skytheins and of course Alexander the Great, what more can you ask for except lots of action to top it off!!
First things first... I'm in shock about the ending! It'll be interesting to see where the series goes from that. I'm glad there are maps provided too, as my knowledge of ancient European/Asian societies and tribes is rather basic. I liked the story though and will now try and find the next one.
Mucho mejor que el primer libro, al igual que con el primero, recomendaría leer antes El Dios de la Guerra, se complementan y la búsqueda de las convergencias o errores en el desarrollo de las historias de Kineas y Tolomeo lo hacen aún más entretenido.
Segunda entrega de la trilogía Tirano, la historia continua donde termina el primer libro, con más épica por delante. Aunque las batallas se hacen un poco repetitivas, el libro te mantiene en vilo y te engancha hasta el final. Recomendable.
This review is from: Tyrant: Storm of Arrows (Tyrant 2) Kineas, the Athenian cavalry commander, has come a long way since being dismissed from the army of Alexander and vengefully exiled by his own city. Together, his mercenary force and their Scythian allies have defeated a mighty Macedonian army at the Ford of the River God, and his adopted city of Olbia is now free once more. But his destiny will not allow him to enjoy the fruits of victory for long. Far to the east, at the farthest edge of the Sea of Grass, Alexander is threatening to crush the Scythian hordes once and for all. The Lady Srayanka of the Cruel Hands, the Scythian warrior-princess who spurned a king's love to be at Kineas's side, is pledged to take her tribe east to help stop 'the monster' -and Kineas knows he has no choice but to follow, even if it means embracing the violent death in battle that he has seen prefigured in countless dreams. But long before he can confront the might of Alexander's army alongside his beloved Srayanka, he must undertake an epic journey, of breathtaking daring, taking an army through hundreds of miles of hostile terrain - towards his own appointment with fate.
I defy anyone to read this book and not be moved by the characters contained in its pages, book 2 fills out so much of the missing background of the supporting cast, but also brings us closer to the main characters of Kineas and Srayanka, the descriptions of the sea of grass at times are almost poetic, so much so that this is not just an epic journey for Kineas, but also for the reader. this book is not to be missed.
I read this book immediately after finishing Tyrant, and found it a really good sequel. I will definitely be reading the others in the series. It was an easy book to "visualise" with good descriptions of the landscape and the buildings in which it is set. The story never flags in any way, and the one slight downside is keeping in touch with the "second tier" of characters, some of whom tend to disappear for several chapters before re-emerging, and if you are reading the book at irregular intervals it is easy to forget who they were. It is a necessary part of the story though, and you can soon pick up on them again, so it is only a minor niggle.
One test of a good historical novel is that it encourages me to pick up a factual history and discover more about what was really happening at that time and place. This novel is up there with the best of them.
I believe "Funeral Games" is next in the series, and I already have it on order.
No sabría decir si me gustó más o menos que el primer libro de la serie, porque me parecieron esencialmente diferentes. El primer libro era más "joven", por decirlo de alguna manera. Lo bueno de éste libro fue que lo sentí más seguro, Kineas y compañía parecen sentirse más identificados con los demás y empiezan a sentar cabeza. En ese sentido los personajes me parecieron más realizados, además de que continúa con el realismo que le dio a la primera parte. No hay detalles de manera exagerada, sólo lo necesario para darle el ambiente militar que por fuerza debía tener. Lo único que no me gustó fue el ejército de Alejandro, tiene sentido que sus consejeros fueran así, pero igual no me gustó. De la trama, sólo me quejaré de los sueños de Kineas. Ya en el primer libro se les daba un lugar fuerte en el personaje, pero aquí ya se da por hecho y, para mi gusto, eso le restó emoción a la historia. Fuera de eso la narración fue muy amena y las situaciones muy creíbles.
En resumen, adoré leer Tormenta de flechas y espero leer el siguiente libro pronto.
A fantastic depth of research, great characterisation, but a plot that lacks forward movement throughout most of the book. I found Tyrant quite slow going for much of the first half, mainly because of an overall lack of plot motivation, i.e. it is never really clear why the hero Kineas and his friends/allies head east with the Scythians to combat Alexander at the Jaxartes. Without any such driving reason/conflict, there is little ongoing suspense or questions I desired answers to. Towards the end, though, the story did become something like compulsive reading. On the positive side, Cameron's characterisation was fantastic – a huge (confusing at first) range of characters weave through the story, of various ethnic identities. Further,the ethic groupings themselves were vividly portrayed. The military detail too was very convincing and well described. I’m glad I read it and think that, while the overall plotting was lacking, the depth of detail was wonderful.
Tyrant: Storm of Arrows is the second book in an excellent series of historical novels. Christian Cameron has made good use of details, mental imagery, narrative, dialogue, plot, and setting to vividly bring to life the ancient world of Alexander the Great and his empire. This story continues where Tyrant left off, and is in a number of ways, better then its predecessor. Storm of Arrows is a powerful, exciting, and fascinating epic tale because the author writes in such a readable and engaging manner. The author raises some good points about Alexander the Great and the ancient world at that time. I also found I number of things about the lifestyle and culture of the ancient world, because of how Cameron tried to base his fictional story on historical fact.
In my opinion there are a few great Historical fiction series that really tie you up in the times and characters being portrayed, Cornwalls Aurthirian trilogy, Gemmells Troy trilogy come to mind. Camerons Tyrant series easily ranks with these. No stereotyped characters to be found here, everyone is well drawn with a complete individual personality. I really like these people. I am usually put off by fantasy but the use of "the dream tree" worked for me as well. The author being Canadian hits a bit of a nationalistic chord.