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The New Achilles

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Alexanor is a man who has seen too much blood. He has left the sword behind him to become a healer in the greatest sanctuary in Greece, turning his back on war. But war has followed him to his refuge at Epidauros, and now a battle to end the freedom of Greece is all around him. The Mediterranean superpowers of Rome, Egypt and Macedon are waging their proxy wars on Hellenic Alexanor is a man who has seen too much blood. He has left the sword behind him to become a healer in the greatest sanctuary in Greece, turning his back on war. But war has followed him to his refuge at Epidauros, and now a battle to end the freedom of Greece is all around him. The Mediterranean superpowers of Rome, Egypt and Macedon are waging their proxy wars on Hellenic soil, turning Greek farmers into slaves and mercenaries. When wounded soldier Philopoemen is carried into his temple, Alexanor believes the man's wounds are mortal but that he is not destined to die. Because he knows Philopoemen will become Greece's champion. Its last hero. The new Achilles. In Christian Cameron's latest historical novel the old orders of the world begin to fall apart as Rome rises to supremacy - and Greece struggles to survive.


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Alexanor is a man who has seen too much blood. He has left the sword behind him to become a healer in the greatest sanctuary in Greece, turning his back on war. But war has followed him to his refuge at Epidauros, and now a battle to end the freedom of Greece is all around him. The Mediterranean superpowers of Rome, Egypt and Macedon are waging their proxy wars on Hellenic Alexanor is a man who has seen too much blood. He has left the sword behind him to become a healer in the greatest sanctuary in Greece, turning his back on war. But war has followed him to his refuge at Epidauros, and now a battle to end the freedom of Greece is all around him. The Mediterranean superpowers of Rome, Egypt and Macedon are waging their proxy wars on Hellenic soil, turning Greek farmers into slaves and mercenaries. When wounded soldier Philopoemen is carried into his temple, Alexanor believes the man's wounds are mortal but that he is not destined to die. Because he knows Philopoemen will become Greece's champion. Its last hero. The new Achilles. In Christian Cameron's latest historical novel the old orders of the world begin to fall apart as Rome rises to supremacy - and Greece struggles to survive.

30 review for The New Achilles

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    This wonderful and eventful book is the 1st volume of a 2 part mini-series, according to the author, which is called "the Commander series", from the greatly accomplished and one of the finest writers of historical fiction, Christian Cameron. The book contains at the beginning well-drawn maps of the Peloponnese and Crete, while at the end you'll notice a very well researched and explained historical details within the Author's Note, and not to forget a really informative Glossary. Storytelling is This wonderful and eventful book is the 1st volume of a 2 part mini-series, according to the author, which is called "the Commander series", from the greatly accomplished and one of the finest writers of historical fiction, Christian Cameron. The book contains at the beginning well-drawn maps of the Peloponnese and Crete, while at the end you'll notice a very well researched and explained historical details within the Author's Note, and not to forget a really informative Glossary. Storytelling is as ever of a top-notch quality, the characters in this Greek tale come all vividly to life, whether they are real great historical or wonderful fictional ones, and not to forget the landscape surroundings, battlefields and battle scenes are all perfectly pictured by the author in this great story. The book is set between 228 until 212 BCE in Ancient Greece, the Peloponnese and Crete in particular, and it's divided into 5 parts. In part 1 of the book, which starts off in 228 BCE, our first main character, Alexanor, a Greek marine from Rhodes, who after a deadly encounter with pirates is looking forward to a life of relative peace at his sanctuary in Greece, the Temple of Asklepios in Epidauros, where he wants to start to work as a healer and finally become a doctor/priest, and so when a wounded soldier is carried into the Temple, Alexanor, knows he must do all he can to save this man's life, our second main and foremost character, Philopoemen, and in doing so bring him back to his fighting prowess and inspiration as a leader. In parts 2 and 3 our two main characters and friends, Alexanor now a great doctor/priest and reluctant fighter, and, Philopoemen, great warrior and leader of men have to sail to Crete, where eventually Philopoemen will establish a base there in Gortyna and Alexanor will be priest of the Asklepios of Lentas, but easy it won't be for either for them. Because in parts 4 and 5 our heroes, Alexanor, doctor/priest, but mostly the Strategos, Philopoemen and his men, a Greek army consisting of federal Greek states will have to fight a ferocious battle, the Battle of Gortyna, Crete, against an army consisting of other federal Greek states, under the leadership of the Spartan, Nabis, and Philopoemen and his army will finally achieve victory against this enemy, while at the same time in the background the bigger sharks, with the likes of Macedon, Sparta, Egypt/Rhodes and Rome are playing their intriguing political games while Philopoemen especially, but also his followers, are being used as pawns in this strategy of politics and war. Highly recommended, for this is another captivating triumph of an Ancient Greek historical story and series by this formidable author, and that's why I like to call this book: "An Incredible Heroic Greek Beginning"!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    The New Achilles is crammed full of action scenes (including a pirate attack in the very first chapter) that really come alive on the page.   It’s also full of detailed information about clothing, weaponry, armour, religious practices and social customs of the time that are obviously the result of extensive research.  (The glossary at the end of the book is much needed.) The detailed and often lengthy battle scenes, although undoubtedly exciting, were of less interest to me than the exploration The New Achilles is crammed full of action scenes (including a pirate attack in the very first chapter) that really come alive on the page.   It’s also full of detailed information about clothing, weaponry, armour, religious practices and social customs of the time that are obviously the result of extensive research.  (The glossary at the end of the book is much needed.) The detailed and often lengthy battle scenes, although undoubtedly exciting, were of less interest to me than the exploration of the interesting relationship between Alexanor and Philopoemen.  ‘We’ve boxed and we’ve argued.  Are we not brothers?’ Alexanor is variously doctor, therapist, confidante and sparring partner to Philopoemen, whom he accompanies on his journeys to different theatres of war from what we now know as the mainland of Greece to Crete and back again.  It’s a complex political situation with shifting allegiances and a multitude of city states and their leaders competing for power and influence – ‘the game of kings’, in fact.  In his Author’s Note, Christian Cameron likens Greece at the time to modern Syria with all the big players fighting over her. Alexanor and Philopoemen are united by the trauma of loss in their personal lives but although both have chosen a life of action as the means to silence their demons, Alexanor has opted for priesthood and healing whilst Philopoemen has chosen success on the battlefield. Philopoemen, the so-called ‘new Achilles’, is a charismatic leader, master tactician and accomplished, and seemingly tireless, fighter with miraculous powers of recovery.   As imagined by the author, he is somewhat of a radical visionary too, arguing the case for gender equality and an end to slavery among other things.  As he says, ‘I don’t want to conquer the world, I want to make it better.’ He’s a bit of a politician as well, keenly aware of what is required of a leader.  He states knowingly at one point ‘No one fancies a hard-working Achilles.  It has to appear effortless’. The New Achilles is a book for readers who like their historical fiction to come with a soundtrack of the clash of swords, the thunder of hooves, the swish of arrows and javelins, the glugging of wine and the earthy language of soldiers in battle. In his Author’s Note, Christian Cameron states, ‘This book is a novel, and a great deal of it, especially the details, is made up.  But Philopoemen really lived.  And he really was so great a man that everyone, friends and enemies, honoured him when he was dead.’ Fans of The New Achilles will be pleased to know that Philopoemen’s story doesn’t end here. I received an advance review copy courtesy of publishers, Orion Books, and NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ozymandias

    One of the easiest ways to get me excited about a book is to have it set in a period I haven’t seen fictionalized before. How many more books do we need on Caesar or the Persian Wars? Better still is when it is an era and character I’ve always wanted to see fictionalized. And the story of Philopoemen is definitely an interesting one set in a time nobody visits: the Hellenistic Age. As far as I know nobody has ever told the story of Philopoemen before, the last great Greek hero in the twilight ye One of the easiest ways to get me excited about a book is to have it set in a period I haven’t seen fictionalized before. How many more books do we need on Caesar or the Persian Wars? Better still is when it is an era and character I’ve always wanted to see fictionalized. And the story of Philopoemen is definitely an interesting one set in a time nobody visits: the Hellenistic Age. As far as I know nobody has ever told the story of Philopoemen before, the last great Greek hero in the twilight years before Rome came and unmade Greece. Philopoemen has been called “the last of the Greeks” and with good reason, though the fact he had no successors was due less to their oft-questioned virtue and more to the fact that his generation was the last to live in a Greece ruled by Greeks. He was a pretty impressive guy. The organization he fought for, the Achaean League, was equally impressive. In a world ruled now by kings there was no place left for puny city-states, so a few managed to band together for protection and form an elective League with its own army and coinage and council. The idea was hardly new, but the Achaeans (and Aetolians too to be fair) managed to pull it off and keep themselves largely independent from Macedonian or Ptolemaic authority. As with every Hellenistic state, their fortunes ebbed and flowed with a disconcerting inconsistency. This point is one of the ebbs as the renewed might of Sparta threatened the Achaeans enough for them to ally themselves to Macedon. This book captures well the divided and struggling Greek world of this time. Greek politics was complicated. Everyone wanted something from everyone else and were willing to stab them in the back to get it. While the opposing sides are just slightly too often presented as right proper bastards, they do all have their own clear goals and approaches. Antigonus Doson is particularly memorable. He’s a bit of a prick but he knows it and has a good sense of humor about himself. Often enough once he’s said something particularly rude he’ll laugh and say something self-depreciating in the closest thing a king makes to an apology. “Very well, I only think I’m funny because I’m king,” was one of his more memorable lines. More firmly in the right proper bastard camp is Cleomenes, king of Sparta. I know he has to play the villain’s role because of who the protagonist is, but I found it disappointing that such a fascinating figure ended up nothing more than a goose-stepping villain. Someday someone ought to write a novel of Agis and Cleomenes. The last great kings of Sparta would make for interesting reading, particularly given the question of what exactly Sparta was by this point. On that subject you’ll learn nothing new here. We view this story not through Philopoemen himself but through his friend and physician Alexanor. Both are entertaining characters who go well beyond just authorial surrogates. Both are also far too modern. Philopoemen favors women’s rights, an end to slavery, and general citizenship for all inhabitants of his cities. No way. What made the Greeks great was not their approach to human rights (which was, like all ancient cultures, dismal) but their relative egalitarianism, innovation, and ambition. Great unifiers were not a particularly Greek thing, although some did share those ideals. Great faction leaders sure, but Greek unity was an ideal achieved only in the Iliad. Even in the Persian Wars the Thebans, Macedonians, Ionians, and essentially all Greece north of Attica were fighting on the Persian side of the battle. One thing this book made me struggle with was my rationale for judging a book. In a lot of ways it reminded of Fortress of the Sun, which I read earlier in the year. The book is set in more or less the same period (Aratus features prominently in both) but that’s not the sole reason for my thoughts drifting there. That book too I found anachronistically modern in attitude, yet I found myself judging it far more harshly for it. Is it fair for me not to judge this book harshly too given its overly modern colloquialisms and general whitewashing of ugly prejudices? If not, what separates them? And the basic, if not satisfyingly quantifiable, reason is that this book is simply written better. The characters spring to life and invest you in their stories. Even where it forces similarly black/white situations it does so with more subtlety and nuance. The functioning of the Leagues and kingdoms feels less structured and more improvised; as it should be. Indeed, details of everyday life and locales/equipment feel pretty much perfect; as I would expect from a reenactor. And Philopoemen, while nearly flawless, still has his flaws and personality. While it is colloquial, it is British colloquial, and as absurd as it may sound that makes a difference. I find that, if a book is good enough, I can forgive a lot of otherwise negative characteristics. If you’re looking for other books set in the same era you’re out of luck. Oh, we get a mass of books dealing with Alexander the Great and a few that cover the aftermath of his rule, but on the whole the century and a quarter between Alexander’s death and the appearance of Rome (itself underexplored) is basically a blank. And the final years of that era are the emptiest of them all. As far as I know this is the only book set so late that doesn’t deal with the Roman conquest of Greece (for that see Clash of Empires and Of Merchants & Heroes). I’ve mentioned Fortress of the Sun (set about twenty years earlier) but that’s really it for mainland Greece. Historical fiction tends to cluster. If you’re looking for Hellenistic fiction you’re likely going to be forced to experience it through the Rhodians. Harry Turtledove’s excellent Hellenic Traders series follows a pair of them, as does The Sun’s Bride and The Bronze God of Rhodes. Besieger of Cities is really about the early days of the Hellenistic Era through the eyes of Demetrius the Besieger. Aside from those, the only other books I know of are set in the distant periphery of the Greek world: The Sand-Reckoner, which deals with Archimedes in Sicily and the First Punic War, and Horses of Heaven, which is a really unusual story set in Bactria. Both are by the excellent Gillian Bradshaw. So treasure this book and the rare opportunity it provides to experience life in the Peloponnese and Crete during the end of the third century BC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    review on reread-2020 this is one of the books that show clearly why it matters when you read it as on original publication it left me cold, while now (because book 2 was published and it started quite intriguing so I decided to revisit the series), I really enjoyed it - some of the criticisms in the review below (basically the book takes a while to develop, the sideshow feeling, the uneven pacing) remain valid, but now all those felt minor and I felt compelled to turn the pages until the end an review on reread-2020 this is one of the books that show clearly why it matters when you read it as on original publication it left me cold, while now (because book 2 was published and it started quite intriguing so I decided to revisit the series), I really enjoyed it - some of the criticisms in the review below (basically the book takes a while to develop, the sideshow feeling, the uneven pacing) remain valid, but now all those felt minor and I felt compelled to turn the pages until the end and to start book 2 (The Last Greek) immediately - ultimately I really enjoy the author's historical fiction and the love for detail and care for as much "authenticity" as possible (which imho is really hard since while human motivations and generally "human nature" is largely the same as then, the culture and civilization one was immersed in was quite different in ways that are hard for us to envision, so any such book will ultimately be an interrpretation, but im opinion at least the author makes a concereted effort to keep it honest so to speak...) so while i will leave the original review below, on this reading I highly enjoyed the book, I felt its narrative power and I definitely recommend it now (original review on publication 2019) as a huge fan of the author's historical fiction (Long War and Chivalry are among my all-time top historical fiction and Tyrant was excellent too), I was really excited to see this one sort of by chance and I immediately got it and read it but for some reason it just didn't work for me; maybe the first person of the Long War and Chivalry made the main characters so much more interesting than the characters here, maybe the setting which was kind of a meh side story -as the Romans will come soon(in historical terms) and crush all opposition, this is like reading about say the Balkan wars of 1912-13 as opposed to WW1, interesting if you really care about the region, but meh otherwise unless the author's characters stand out and here they just didn't ok and with some moments that reminded me of the author's best work but I suggest you read the series above if you haven't and skip this one unless you are a great fan of Hellenistic, immediately pre-roman Greece (and for example the famous classic The Corn King and The Spring Queen which takes place to some extent at least during the same period and place here, while not the most accurate historically fiction, still resonates with me years later, while this will be forgotten by tomorrow)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie (Bookfever)

    Why are books rated with three stars so hard to review? I didn't dislike this book but I also can't say that I enjoyed it enough to end up as a favorite of mine, you know? There were both good and not-so-good qualities this story had and in this case I'm not entirely sure if the good or not-so-good wins out. To start, it was a bit of a hard book to get into, initially. I did, however, made a lot of progress easily so it wasn't something I had a tough time to get over. Only a chapter or two, I thi Why are books rated with three stars so hard to review? I didn't dislike this book but I also can't say that I enjoyed it enough to end up as a favorite of mine, you know? There were both good and not-so-good qualities this story had and in this case I'm not entirely sure if the good or not-so-good wins out. To start, it was a bit of a hard book to get into, initially. I did, however, made a lot of progress easily so it wasn't something I had a tough time to get over. Only a chapter or two, I think. My favorite thing in the book by far were the battle scenes. I always tend to love battles scenes in historical fiction books that are set in the ancient world so I wasn't surprised by this at all. My least favorite thing were the characters. I just felt like I couldn't connect to them very well and there were a lot of them so it could be a little hard to remember who was who. The story featured a lesser known Greek general, Philopoemen. But it was all told in the point of view of Alexanor, a marine who joined the priesthood to become a healer instead of a killer. Even though I couldn't connect to the various characters, I did like most of them well enough to continue reading about them. Especially main characters like Alexanor, Philopoemen and Phila for example. A favorite of mine it won't be but I am interested in reading the next book to see what will happen in that one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anders René Wiik

    I’m not good at writing reviews, so I will make this short and to the point. I first fell in love with Cameron’s epic Ancient Greek book series about Arimnestos and the Tyrant-series. I used to believe that things couldn’t get better than this - I was wrong. Having followed Cameron as a writer for the last decade or so, this book demonstrates how he continually develops as a writer and creates increasingly fascinating characters and story arcs that fascinate and intrigue. With “The New Achilles” I’m not good at writing reviews, so I will make this short and to the point. I first fell in love with Cameron’s epic Ancient Greek book series about Arimnestos and the Tyrant-series. I used to believe that things couldn’t get better than this - I was wrong. Having followed Cameron as a writer for the last decade or so, this book demonstrates how he continually develops as a writer and creates increasingly fascinating characters and story arcs that fascinate and intrigue. With “The New Achilles”, we once again get the chance to travel back to the Greece of the ancients and experience the passions, feelings, ambitions and experiences of societies long lost as we explore and follow characters of immense depth with brilliant personal stories. I feel my words won’t convey my recommendation of this book strongly enough, as I would rather grip the reader of this review by the shirt and shake him or her until they are thoroughly convinced that this is a book that you can’t afford to miss in 2019.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zoé-Lee O'Farrell

    Wow, so I have just finished this mammoth book and I have now to try and find the words to formulate some review to get you excited by this book. I do not think, go buy this book will do it (although you should!). This is not a book you can skim or take lightly. You have to concentrate on the wealth of information you have in front of you. Thank god I was reading this on my kindle because quite frankly I did not have a scooby what some of the words meant and so a lot of word pressing was going on Wow, so I have just finished this mammoth book and I have now to try and find the words to formulate some review to get you excited by this book. I do not think, go buy this book will do it (although you should!). This is not a book you can skim or take lightly. You have to concentrate on the wealth of information you have in front of you. Thank god I was reading this on my kindle because quite frankly I did not have a scooby what some of the words meant and so a lot of word pressing was going on and Google was my friend. I am blown away with how amazing this book is, although honestly, I did not have a clue what was going on for the first 20% of the book. You have so many characters, places, words, regions to get your head around, but I did not care that I didn’t understand half of it, because the storytelling of Alexandor and his life from “coward” to Priest was immense. So, I am completely kicking myself as I have basically all of Mr Cameron’s books on my Kindle, along with Ben Kane and Simon Scarrow, because this is a genre I am completely fascinated with but have not had the chance to sit down and experience. I savoured the words on the page and I want more. I will be opening that Kindle and first chance I get, reliving more stories of the Spartans, Greeks and Romans to name the big few. I loved getting to know Alexandor and Philopoemen, The New Achilles. We see both men, ravished by their past, both broken from these events, and both grown in well-respected men in their different areas. I do feel like there is potentially more to come from them. This book was intense too when we had battles scenes, the night attacks, assassinations, I felt like I was there witnessing it, heart in my throat. I was never sure how these things would play out. I could not speed my way through the book to find out either, I had to sit back and watch the formations flank the enemy, I had to listen to the arrows flying through the air, all the while trying to find our heroes in the midst of battle, and hope they made it safely away. I have been rewatching Spartacus on TV lately, so it was easy to envision the characters from the show in the book, Craig Parker (Glaber) or Simon Merrels (Crassius) could easily be Nabis! I just have to reiterate that the knowledge of Mr Cameron is immense and it truly shows. It was also refreshing to have the main character as a healer, not a ‘barbarian’ of war. Not bloodthirsty, but one to shy away, Alexandor has some candid views on the world around him but naive at the same time. Between Philopoemen, who wants the glory without saying it, and Phila, the woman that Alexandor is drawn to, opens his eyes to what truly is in ahead of him. So I refer back to my first comment, GO.BUY.THIS.BOOK!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    The New Achilles is an absorbing, thrilling read which really brings history to life. I’m a huge fan of Greek history but hadn’t read anything about this particular part of their history before. It’s definitely an exciting and intriguing period with lots of political changes which cause allegiances to change continually which helps make the read very gripping. Philopoemen is a fascinating main character who I couldn’t help but like. I so enjoyed learning more about him and his brave exploits on t The New Achilles is an absorbing, thrilling read which really brings history to life. I’m a huge fan of Greek history but hadn’t read anything about this particular part of their history before. It’s definitely an exciting and intriguing period with lots of political changes which cause allegiances to change continually which helps make the read very gripping. Philopoemen is a fascinating main character who I couldn’t help but like. I so enjoyed learning more about him and his brave exploits on the battlefield which were very admirable. He has surprisingly modern ideas for the time believing that women should have citizen rights like men and that slaves should be freed. He was a great character to get behind and I found his journey very interesting. I found that I wanted him to succeed and wanted to keep reading to find out what happens. The historical detail is amazing and helps bring the period to life very vividly. I felt that I was right there next to the characters watching everything unfold . This was especially true of the battlefield scenes which were incredibly gripping and detailed so that the reader can almost smell the sweat and the blood of the soldiers. Some of the action had me on the edge of my seat, anxiously awaiting the outcome of the fighting which just shows how well the scenes are described. Think is an incredibly gripping and absorbing book which I thought was just brilliantly written. It’s a must read for any historical fiction fan especially if Ancient Greek history interests you. The author definitely knows how to bring history to life and make if very interesting. Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Orion for my copy of this book via Netgalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kelly

    Do yourself a favour. Buy this today... now Here is exactly the reason I stick to lighter historical fiction, there is no way to compete with Christian Cameron's level of excellence in this field. The man absolutely lives ancient Greece, taking part in reinactments, participating in a phalanx, sword master in his free time, travelling the battlefields on holiday, and he brings all this knowledge and experience to everything he writes which brings it completely to life before your eyes. And man o Do yourself a favour. Buy this today... now Here is exactly the reason I stick to lighter historical fiction, there is no way to compete with Christian Cameron's level of excellence in this field. The man absolutely lives ancient Greece, taking part in reinactments, participating in a phalanx, sword master in his free time, travelling the battlefields on holiday, and he brings all this knowledge and experience to everything he writes which brings it completely to life before your eyes. And man o man can he tell a story. Over the last week I feel I have lived those battles with the characters, visited Athens and pella. And enjoyed every minute. And I absolutely love his little subtle nods to things from his previous works. Can't wait for the next book in the series

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    Bone weary with blood and death, Alexanor has fought until his father’s sword is a mere bloody stump and had enough. Realising that he is the last of his training school, and he has done his military service, he turns his back and enters the temple of Apollo’s son , Asklepios to become a healer. Learning from the legendary Chiron, he has to put aside pride and arrogance in thinking that he can rebalance the scales by saving lives instead of taking them. In an age where men are used up and worn out Bone weary with blood and death, Alexanor has fought until his father’s sword is a mere bloody stump and had enough. Realising that he is the last of his training school, and he has done his military service, he turns his back and enters the temple of Apollo’s son , Asklepios to become a healer. Learning from the legendary Chiron, he has to put aside pride and arrogance in thinking that he can rebalance the scales by saving lives instead of taking them. In an age where men are used up and worn out by war and death, the once glorious honour of death in battle is now seen as an everyday fodder for gods that people of Greece are not venerating as maybe they should. Although Alexanor has chosen to hide away from the world, the world does not owe him a duty to leave him there and trouble follows him. His place in the upcoming battles for Ancient Greece is as a trainer for the one whom he believes will not only save them all, but who will restore the people’s beliefs in the mighty gods of Olymous-the time has come for a new hero to save them, and that hero is believed to be Philipoemen. At once, Philipoemen becomes a symbol of resistance, and restoration of the values of kleos and the story becomes something much more complex and deeper than one might expect. This is not ‘Game Of Thrones’, Greek style, this is about honour, place and time and the individual and collective responsibility to these concepts. Vividly rendered, you journey on the ships with Alexanor,you smell the blood and visceral innards, you share his frustrations in casting aside old values for new, you are there with him in his visions and are swept along with his training of Philopoemen. It’s a very, very real, bloodthirsty, honest and searing depiction of the time period in Ancient history, that recalls to mind the battle scenes of the ‘The Iliad’ and Thucydides’ epics. It must be remembered that Greece, as a country, was then a series of small islands all ruled by different kings with many many battles being fought between east and west, king against king so the values of honour and kinship were vitally important between this fragmented country. And that is so well conveyed, it’s a book that will please those who love classical history for all the Easter egg nods, yet is absolutely accessible to anyone who is unfamiliar with this time or place-Christian Cameron pitches himself squarely between both camps and announces ,’Come, let me tell you a story’. And so, we gather and we listen. Hugest thanks to the always amazing Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers, Orion and the author, Christian Cameron for taking me back to a place in time which resonates so much for this reader!

  11. 4 out of 5

    L A

    Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. To be perfectly honest, this isn't usually the kind of book I pick up as I'm not super into the sword-and-sandals-with-male-lead genre but, I'm a sucker for anything related to Ancient Greece so I thought I'd give it a whirl. The story starts by introducing us to Alexanor, an ex-soldier who leaves his past behind to become a Healer at the temple of Epidauros. One day an injured young man, Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. To be perfectly honest, this isn't usually the kind of book I pick up as I'm not super into the sword-and-sandals-with-male-lead genre but, I'm a sucker for anything related to Ancient Greece so I thought I'd give it a whirl. The story starts by introducing us to Alexanor, an ex-soldier who leaves his past behind to become a Healer at the temple of Epidauros. One day an injured young man, Philipoemen,  is brought to the temple. He is "The New Achilles" of the title and plays a key role in the events that follow. I really liked Alexanor's character in particular and I found myself getting rather attached to him. It was refreshing to have a quieter, more subtle kind of hero as opposed to the dyed in the wool military types that usually head up these kind of novels. I was also surprised how much I liked some of the female characters that made an appearance. There was more to their characters than simply dying or being raped in order to make the main character feel sad, which is often their fate in similar novels. In the Foreword for this book it's mentioned that the author is a military historian. This is clearly apparent throughout the book and the man clearly knows his stuff. Both the battle scenes and observations about life, society and culture are detailed and immersive and the Ancient Greek world has been effectively portrayed. The Glossary at the end was handy too, particularly for military lingo. I found the narrative quite hard to follow at certain points and I sometimes lost the thread of who was fighting who or who was saying what. Perhaps unsurprisingly there are a LOT of battles in this book and if you aren't hugely into military stuff then you may find these pages drag a bit. If you are into it, you'll be in hog heaven. Some of the dialogue also felt a bit too modern sometimes. I personally liked the quieter, character driven parts of the novel best. Overall, I enjoyed this. An Ancient Greek historical fiction novel with enough detail and charm to elevate it above similar books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    Q: ‘If you aspire to be the New Achilles, you must work in secret so that the effort is invisible. No one fancies a hard-working Achilles. It has to appear effortless.’ (c) Enchanting! If one loves Ancient Greece and its everything, this is a must read. Q: The older priest pointed out the buildings as they walked down towards the formal gateway: closest, the portico of Kotys, where the priests were housed; then the central Altar of Asklepios by the Abaton, the sacred dormitory, where pilgrims were s Q: ‘If you aspire to be the New Achilles, you must work in secret so that the effort is invisible. No one fancies a hard-working Achilles. It has to appear effortless.’ (c) Enchanting! If one loves Ancient Greece and its everything, this is a must read. Q: The older priest pointed out the buildings as they walked down towards the formal gateway: closest, the portico of Kotys, where the priests were housed; then the central Altar of Asklepios by the Abaton, the sacred dormitory, where pilgrims were sent to receive dreams from the god; the Temple of Artemis and the magnificent tholos tomb of Asklepios, and then, in the distance, the palaestra and the stadium, the magnificent Hestiatorion in which pilgrims were fed, and the four square courtyards and stoae of the pilgrim hostel, the Katagogion. (c) Q: ‘I know what you are at. I’ve seen it too. Men get … taken … by fear. Good men. But hungry, wet, cold, and tired, suddenly they are afraid. You think it is that? And not that he is baseborn, because his mother fucked some slave?’ ‘That seems an odd notion,’ Alexanor said. ‘And a terrible thing to say of a man. Do you always say such things?’ ‘You talk like him.’ Dinaeos shook his head. ‘Yes, I’m a fuckwit. I say whatever comes into my head. No life of politics for me!’ Alexanor nodded. ‘Some men are braver than others, I allow. But I don’t see much sign that it is due to birth, but rather, to inclination and training. Who are the others? The man with the sword cut on his thigh? And the tall man with the puncture wound in his side?’ ‘Lykortas, son of Thearidas, took that sword cut in the agora of Megalopolis, defending a gaggle of women and children. He’s not even one of us – he’s a student at the Academy in Athens.’ Dinaeos leant over the wounded man, who was conscious. ‘You … exaggerate my role,’ the wounded man said. ‘I was trying to run, and Spartans kept getting in my … way.’ (c)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hector Miller

    I am a long-standing fan of Christian Cameron, but for some reason or other this series did not initially pique my interest. More fool me. Highly recommended - right up there with the best of his books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Clay Kallam

    Christian Cameron is my favorite author, and "The New Achilles" would have five stars except for a minor flaw: Inserting 21st century ideas about women's rights and slavery into a novel about Hellenistic times (around 220 BCE). First, the good stuff. I have a deep interest in this period and know it well so Cameron's accuracy and depth of research is incredible. He does all his homework about a vibrant historical era that was the breeding ground for new ideas, new political powers (the rise of Ro Christian Cameron is my favorite author, and "The New Achilles" would have five stars except for a minor flaw: Inserting 21st century ideas about women's rights and slavery into a novel about Hellenistic times (around 220 BCE). First, the good stuff. I have a deep interest in this period and know it well so Cameron's accuracy and depth of research is incredible. He does all his homework about a vibrant historical era that was the breeding ground for new ideas, new political powers (the rise of Rome, for example) and new social norms -- and then takes that research and makes it come alive through his ability to craft believable and interesting characters and, for me, at least, a clear explication of complex issues, both big and small. "The New Achilles" is about a tiny part of the narrative of the time, a hundred years after the death of Alexander the Great and a generation before Rome took over the eastern Mediterranean. The protagonist is Alexanor, a warrior turned healing priest, but the title character is Philopoemon, a Greek from a minor city who becomes deeply involved in the affairs of Crete. Philopoemon was unknown to me, and I can claim to a lot more knowledge about this area than most, but his story is still fascinating, as is that of Alexanor, who is part of the cutting edge of medicine that emerged during this time. Which leads me, sadly, to my criticism: Though it is true that women gained rights in the Hellenistic era, this hugely patriarchal society was not about to grant them the right to vote, as Cameron implies. On top of that, the entire economic system of the ancient world relied on the labor of slaves, and in all my research -- and I wrote 30,000 words of a novel on this time period -- I never came across a mention of ending slavery, as Cameron again discusses. Still, those are minor nitpicks and this is a wonderful book. Then again, I'm biased, because whether Cameron is writing as Christian or Miles (which he does for fantasy), I am always on board. If you like historical fiction and are at all interested in the Hellenistic era, you want this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Bookliterati

    I have always had a fascination with Ancient Greece and Rome, and studied classics at A Level, and The New Achilles fed into this fascination.  228BC Alexanor has turned away from war and fighting to become a priest and healer at Epidauros, a place where family and status don't matter, everyone is equal.  Into this sanctuary comes a group of soldiers from Megalopolis, with their leader Philopoemen who is badly injured.  In him, Alexon recognises a great soldier  and leader, and as as he treats P I have always had a fascination with Ancient Greece and Rome, and studied classics at A Level, and The New Achilles fed into this fascination.  228BC Alexanor has turned away from war and fighting to become a priest and healer at Epidauros, a place where family and status don't matter, everyone is equal.  Into this sanctuary comes a group of soldiers from Megalopolis, with their leader Philopoemen who is badly injured.  In him, Alexon recognises a great soldier  and leader, and as as he treats Philopoemen they become friends and Alexon travels with him in his many battles and victories. The New Achilles had me gripped from the opening chapter where the ship Alexon is travelling on is attacked by pirates.  This opens the way for a book that is action packed, full of historical detail and wonderful characters.  The book is set during an interesting period of classical history; a time of political intrigue and allegiances constantly changing due to the constant wars.  At this time the main players were Sparta, Macedonia, Egypt and the Achaean League for whom Philopoemen fights. This can all be complex to follow with the changing allegiances and leaders of the different factions, but Christian Cameron makes this easy to  comprehend with his detailed prose and there are notes at the back that you can check if you need to. Philopoemen is an interesting character.  His prowess on the battlefield is admires by many and it is this that earns him the time of the 'New Achilles' by his fellow soldiers; they see him as the saviour of Greece and in particular the Achaean League.  He was also quite forward thinking in that women could be made citizens like men and have rights and even considers the emancipation of slaves, both very controversial in the patriarchal society at the time. In him Alexon sees a fellow soul, with similar ideas and military prowess.  Alexon may have turned his back on war, but he is a confident and advisor to Philopoemen and is useful in his healing capacity. The New Achilles is a fascinating read that takes you back to the Classical world of heroes, wars and amazing settings.  Christian Cameron packs in the action and Greek military history, whilst a the same time making it accessible and enjoyable.  I thought this a fabulous read, with wonderful characters and I learnt quite a lot about that period which is always a plus for me. A brilliant read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    I love the author but i was really disappointed in the book. This book did nothing to separate itself from the authors other historical fiction, which in and off itself isn't the end of the world but the (many) things it did similar were done better in his other books. Ptolemy and Alexanders relationship was more interesting and both were more fun/intriguing characters to follow. . The supporting cast was all similarly bland, which is unusual for the author, the only character that really stood I love the author but i was really disappointed in the book. This book did nothing to separate itself from the authors other historical fiction, which in and off itself isn't the end of the world but the (many) things it did similar were done better in his other books. Ptolemy and Alexanders relationship was more interesting and both were more fun/intriguing characters to follow. . The supporting cast was all similarly bland, which is unusual for the author, the only character that really stood out came in the last 20% of the book and had maybe a dozen lines. I was really excited when i read that the MC was going to be a doctor because it would be a "new" main character for the author but in the book he was very much soldier first, doctor second. The story wasn't riveting either. The characters acknowledged they were a minor theatre in the overall was but that combined with bland characters lead a boring story. There was also an unfortunate amount of modern politics that were hamfisted in and dealt with poorly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Harwood

    I did enjoy this story, full of heroes and villains and all the things you'd expect from ancient historical fiction! The heroes are portrayed in a great way, with flaws and mixed feelings and personalities that you can relate to, despite the centuries dividing us! Set in the islands and mainland of Greece, and told from the perspective of a doctor, this is a story of a man trying to unite people, and who is often successful in doing so, though not always! A story of warriors and factions, people I did enjoy this story, full of heroes and villains and all the things you'd expect from ancient historical fiction! The heroes are portrayed in a great way, with flaws and mixed feelings and personalities that you can relate to, despite the centuries dividing us! Set in the islands and mainland of Greece, and told from the perspective of a doctor, this is a story of a man trying to unite people, and who is often successful in doing so, though not always! A story of warriors and factions, people and ideals, this is a must for any fan of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy a good tactical battle or two, and a love story!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rowan

    Three and a half stars. The central relationship between Alexanor and Philopoemen was interesting and the use of Alexanor as a Watson character witnessing the genius of Philopoemen worked. But, the book didn’t quite come together somehow. A lot of that was due to the very confusing politics - at one point a side character jokes that he’s forgotten who they’re fighting for and why. I felt like that for most of the book. Yes, I know the events are historical, so Cameron couldn’t write a simpler na Three and a half stars. The central relationship between Alexanor and Philopoemen was interesting and the use of Alexanor as a Watson character witnessing the genius of Philopoemen worked. But, the book didn’t quite come together somehow. A lot of that was due to the very confusing politics - at one point a side character jokes that he’s forgotten who they’re fighting for and why. I felt like that for most of the book. Yes, I know the events are historical, so Cameron couldn’t write a simpler narrative, but that means he needs to do more to help the reader understand what’s going on.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Allan Quinn

    This book was brilliant I love all of Christian Cameron books but this one stood out for me. I have read a lot of historical fiction on this era but usually it's on the Punic wars. This book stood out more for me for that very reason. Instead of huge empires fighting each other for supremacy, it was about the farmers and small cities fighting for there way if life in a quickly changing world. Another fantastic book This book was brilliant I love all of Christian Cameron books but this one stood out for me. I have read a lot of historical fiction on this era but usually it's on the Punic wars. This book stood out more for me for that very reason. Instead of huge empires fighting each other for supremacy, it was about the farmers and small cities fighting for there way if life in a quickly changing world. Another fantastic book

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anton

    I felt like this was less immersive and lacked the verisimilitude of most of Cameron's historical novels and the protagonist is kind of a dweeb, but really all I can think after finishing it is that I need Part 2 in my hands right now. I felt like this was less immersive and lacked the verisimilitude of most of Cameron's historical novels and the protagonist is kind of a dweeb, but really all I can think after finishing it is that I need Part 2 in my hands right now.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Berndt

    Fantastic. This is an awesome new book by Christian Cameron. He writes about Ancient Greece as well or better than anybody. Another 5 star book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Filipek

    'The New Achilles' takes place from around 225-215 BC in mainland Greece and Crete. It's a pretty unexplored time and location, when the Romans were still just a small factor on the map, but the Diadochi that had been dominating the region for the past century were starting to lose power and influence to the newcomers. Although this book is filled with great battle scenes like the rest of Christian Cameron's books, the scale has declined, with the numbers of soldiers capping at about 20,000 as o 'The New Achilles' takes place from around 225-215 BC in mainland Greece and Crete. It's a pretty unexplored time and location, when the Romans were still just a small factor on the map, but the Diadochi that had been dominating the region for the past century were starting to lose power and influence to the newcomers. Although this book is filled with great battle scenes like the rest of Christian Cameron's books, the scale has declined, with the numbers of soldiers capping at about 20,000 as opposed to the previously written about battles of Alexander the Great and Marathon and Platea (since the weakening factions have less manpower). I personally liked the more intimate scale, where we followed the character of Alexanor, a healing priest of Asklepios, and his friend and patient Philopoemen, Megalopolitan soldier/commander/politician/New Achilles, as they try to make the world better by freeing one city and making it great.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Redman

    The New Achilles by Christian Cameron is a historical novel that goes back to ancient Greece and the exploits of Philipoemen. This is an action packed novel written with convincing characters, highlighting a little known period in history. New Achilles was very hard to put down, the combination of vivid battle scenes and full-on action combine with intriguing political machinations. The comradeship and friendship of the two leading protagonists makes this book a delightful read. This is also a The New Achilles by Christian Cameron is a historical novel that goes back to ancient Greece and the exploits of Philipoemen. This is an action packed novel written with convincing characters, highlighting a little known period in history. New Achilles was very hard to put down, the combination of vivid battle scenes and full-on action combine with intriguing political machinations. The comradeship and friendship of the two leading protagonists makes this book a delightful read. This is also a story of love, loss and some clever, intelligent female characters as well. New Achilles has been written with skill and passion and a whole lot of knowledge that it just takes your reading experience to another level. Brilliant book and very highly recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sam Davis

    Fantabulous! I really enjoyed this historical novel. Christian Cameron evokes the classical world like no other. Philopoemen is the hero Greece has been looking for. Amid dangerous political maneuverings from Rhodes, Egypt, Rome, and Macedonia, our hero learns leadership and intrigue while balancing his personal desires against the perils of the time. I really enjoyed the point of view of the priest, Alexanor as he has his own place in the drama. There is medical technique in the book as well as Fantabulous! I really enjoyed this historical novel. Christian Cameron evokes the classical world like no other. Philopoemen is the hero Greece has been looking for. Amid dangerous political maneuverings from Rhodes, Egypt, Rome, and Macedonia, our hero learns leadership and intrigue while balancing his personal desires against the perils of the time. I really enjoyed the point of view of the priest, Alexanor as he has his own place in the drama. There is medical technique in the book as well as daily life and gender roles, matrimony, and just so many good things! I’ve loved everything that this author has created. He has such a unique voice, no matter what period he tackles. Highly recommended!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Harry L

    Another great green novel O one and I mean no one does battle scenes as well as Christian. Once you have read one of his wonderfully descriptive and realistic combat passages other historical fiction writers seem plain and unrealistic. I loved reading about a part of Greek history I sadly know little about. Can't wait for the next book Another great green novel O one and I mean no one does battle scenes as well as Christian. Once you have read one of his wonderfully descriptive and realistic combat passages other historical fiction writers seem plain and unrealistic. I loved reading about a part of Greek history I sadly know little about. Can't wait for the next book

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nigel

    An excellent book as you would expect from Christian Cameron. Leaves me wanting the next instalment.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Great new effort from Christian Cameron, telling of that period of Greek ancient history that gets overlooked because the 2nd Punic war between Rome and Carthage gets all the attention.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Jacques

    Not as good as some other of his more recent books, but we have been spoilt of late

  29. 4 out of 5

    Antonio

    As usual an historic novel worth reading!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Unseen Library

    I received a copy of The New Achilles from Hachette Australia to review. Acclaimed historical fiction author Christian Cameron once again returns to his favourite setting of ancient Greece with his latest novel, The New Achilles. Greece, 223 BCE. War has come to Greece, as the various Mediterranean powers, including Egypt, Rome and Macedon, engage in a proxy battle on Greek soil. In a sacred sanctuary near the city of Epidauros, Alexanor, a former marine from Rhodes, has spent several years traini I received a copy of The New Achilles from Hachette Australia to review. Acclaimed historical fiction author Christian Cameron once again returns to his favourite setting of ancient Greece with his latest novel, The New Achilles. Greece, 223 BCE. War has come to Greece, as the various Mediterranean powers, including Egypt, Rome and Macedon, engage in a proxy battle on Greek soil. In a sacred sanctuary near the city of Epidauros, Alexanor, a former marine from Rhodes, has spent several years training to become a healer, seeking to escape his violent past. However, war will find Alexanor once again when the Spartans invade the nearby city of Megalopolis, forcing the surviving defenders to bring their wounded to Alexanor’s sanctuary. Among the wounded is the leader of the men who attempted to fight against the Spartans at Megalopolis, a young man called Philopoemen. After saving his life, Alexanor finds his future tied into that of Philopoemen, who is destined to become one of ancient Greece’s greatest military leaders. Allied with the armies of Macedon against the Spartans and their Egyptian paymasters, Philopoemen proves to be a capable military commander. More importantly, his bravery and skill in battle earn the respect of his fellow Greeks, many of whom consider him to be Achilles reborn. When prevailing political and military currents require Philopoemen to help with a civil war on Crete, Alexanor travels with him. There they will attempt to take on the powerful city-state of Knossos with an eclectic mix of troops and minimal support from Macedon and the Achaean League. Can Philopoemen and Alexanor succeed, or will the new Achilles fall short of his destiny? View the full review at: https://unseenlibrary.com/2019/06/11/... For other exciting reviews, check out my blog at: https://unseenlibrary.com/

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