The Falcon of Sparta

Pegasus. Feb. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9781643130569. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781643130989. F
A fraternal bloodletting in ancient Persia draws into its swirl a number of mercenaries from the Greek city-states, as the prelude to a historic battle and escape. Set at the end of the fifth century BCE, as King Darius dies, Iggulden's story mainly follows the king's second son, Cyrus, as he schemes to take the throne from his elder brother. As governor of the western provinces, Cyrus pays for a number of Spartan and other Greek troops to join his loyal Persian forces in a royal face-off. The soldiers, with their families and others, march the length of Asia Minor to confront Artaxerxes. The attempt fails; Cyrus and the chief Greek generals are killed. It falls to the philosopher-politician Xenophon to save the remaining men, women, and children, and write the history of the March of the Ten Thousand.
VERDICT A rousing retelling of a singular event, as seen through the eyes of three leaders on a momentous trek, this latest historical novel by Iggulden (The Abbot's Tale; "Wars of the Roses" series) will be of interest to both young and old readers of military and ancient history.
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