The OF Blog: Does this sound like an appealing story blurb to you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Does this sound like an appealing story blurb to you?

Here is my translation of the back cover of Javier Negrete's 2007 novel, Alejandro Magno y las águilas de Roma:

323 years before Christ. Thirty-three years old, Alexander the Great, the greatest conqueror in history, is destined to die in Babylon. But Nestor, a mysterious doctor who says he has been sent by the Delphi oracle, appears at the precise instant in order to save his life.

Six years after the attempted assassination and after almost two decades of incessant campaigns in Asia and Greece, Alexander has turned his eyes towards the riches of the West. In his path to the dominion of the known world lies only the greatest military power of Italy, a city which like Alexander himself is convinced of the grandness of its destiny: Rome.

It is the moment of deciding who holds supremacy in the Mediterranean, if it is the Macedonian phalanxes or the Roman legions. The augurs and prophets warn of great catastrophes, such as the comet Icarus, which appeared to the same time that Alexander returned to life in Babylon, grows night by night in the firmament. Even worse, the calculations of the extravagant astronomer Euctemon predict that, as in the myth, Icarus will fall to the Earth. And in the meantime, Alexander and Rome are readying themselves to unleash the greatest battle in Antiquity in the vales of Mount Vesuvius.
Let's say this book was available on a local bookshelf and you could read it in your native language. After reading that blurb, as well as others noting the various awards Negrete won in Spain, how disposed would you be in purchasing/reading that book?


Greyweather said...

Intriguing. With a little positive word of mouth to back it up, I'd buy that book for sure.

Lsrry said...

Well, I'm hoping to review it by the end of the month. Hopefully, it'll be translated into English sooner rather than later, so others could read it as well.

Tia Nevitt said...

It looks good to me! But I'm a sucker for ancient history. Bring Rome into it, and you've got me.

Lsrry said...

I'm almost 50 pages in so far and it begins as a murder-mystery of sorts, but with the twist of Alexander being cured of his poison/infirmity. Pacing, characterization, and prose are very well-done. This shall be a book that I'll read in 50-100 page chunks rather than all at once, because I found out earlier this hour that this is only Part I - Negrete is working on Part II now. Makes sense after what I read of the epilogue.

And yes Tia, if you can read Spanish and are willing to pay upwards of $50 for importing it, it is very likely to be full of the things you love :D

Wm. said...

$50 dollars to import? I'll ask my library to process an inter-library loan, instead. I wonder what they'll say.

BTW, Larry, have you ever been to the Feria Internacional del Libro in Guadalajara? It's coming up in November. This year I think they are celebrating Italy, and specifally the work of Italo Calvino.

Larry said...

Well, the cost includes the shipping costs, which doubles the book cost. The hardcover Negrete costs 19.50 Euro or around $25. But when the shipping for that and the other book was $25...yeesh. Oh, and I highly doubt any libraries in the US have the book, considering that I couldn't find a copy in the US for under $130.

As for that Feria, no, I have to get my passport first and then be able to take off to go. I'm planning on getting my passport in a few months, so maybe in the near future.

Unknown said...

Sounds interesting to me, actually. I'd buy it if it were in Borders or someplace. Rarely does a fantasy synopsis on the back make me interested enough to buy the book, which is sad, I know, but that's just the way it is.

Lsrry said...

Sadly, it isn't available for a cheap rate at any US dealer I've checked with recently. But if you would be willing to spend around $50 to import it and could read it in Spanish, I'd say go for it. Best bet is to wait a few years, as I highly suspect it'll eventually be translated into English, due to the nature of the story and the market for alt-histories.

ediFanoB said...

To be honest after reading this blurb I wouldn't buy this book.

I liked the "Age of Unreason" series by Greg Keyes.
Do you see any similarities?

Anyway I would like to read your review.

Lsrry said...

I haven't read that Keyes series, so I couldn't say. All I know is that 50 pages in, the Negrete story is very well-told and it isn't insulting with its treatment of historical matters.

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