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Alexander and Alestriaby Shan Sa
Synopses & Reviews
Re-creating the lives of two of the most intriguing rulers in history, Shan Sa brings us a novel filled with the sound of hooves, the whistle of arrows, blood, passion, and betrayal. The familiar figure of Alexander the Great comes to new life in this richly imagined tale, which entwines his historical legacy with a fantastic love affair set in a wartime between Western and Eastern civilizations.
Abused by his father, King Philip, who loved and hated his beauty; shadowed by his mother, the mystical and overbearing Queen Olympias; educated by Aristotle who wanted him to be a wise philosopher of Macedonia, Alexander develops a complex character. He becomes a brutal warrior, a pitiless strategist, and a poet longing for the world's wonders. Meanwhile, in the remote steppes of Siberia, an abandoned girl grows up among the wild mares, then adopted by the queen of the Amazons — the tribe of female warriors who dominates a wild world of snow and volcano. As a future queen, the young girl is trained to hate men and to fight against all invaders.
In the course of his great conquest of Asia, Alexander first meets the stunning Alestria on the battlefield. Surprised to find that his adversary is a woman, he is instantly smitten by the fierce queen. Dazzled by his strength, she decides to kidnap him and make him her "wife." At last, this legendary king — renowned for his beauty and love of men — has found his equal. And at last, this indomitable young woman has found a reason to leave her tribe. Their love, deeply passionate and problematic, evolves against an exotic backdrop of warfare and political turmoil, sweeps from antique Greece to Egypt, across the ancient Iraq and Iran, unto the mysterious kingdoms of India.
"An epic fictional romance between Alexander the Great and an Amazon queen drives the latest from Shan Sa (Empress). As a boy, Sa's Alexander is abused by his father, King Philip of Macedonia. Alexander grows into a cruel and narcissistic youth with an unquenchable thirst for revenge. His political ambitions blossom under the tutelage of Aristotle, and after his father's assassination, Alexander sets off to conquer Greece, Persia and Egypt. When he meets Alestria, the young queen of the Amazons (a mythical tribe of nomadic, male-spurning female warriors from the eastern steppes), he has perhaps met his match in love and war. Told in the extravagant voices of Alexander and Alestria, and of Alestria's protector and confidante, Ania, there's little subtlety in this sweeping, heroic romance. But strewn amid the pageantry and clamor are fascinating details about Alexander's world and about the legendary Amazons, who, if they existed at all, might have been his contemporaries — and equals. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Romance, action, and intrigue combine to set the stage for a page-turning romp through alternate history." Booklist
Alexander and Alestria is the imaginative tale of the dramatic love affair between Alexander the Great and Alestria, queen of the Amazons, when both are at the height of their powers. Shan Sa, bestselling author of Empress, brings the familiar figure of Alexander the Great to new life, entwining his historical legacy with an imagined relationship that explores the compelling clash of western and eastern cultures.
About the Author
Shan Sa is the author of several acclaimed novels, including Empress and The Girl Who Played Go (winner of France's Goncourt Prize). Born in Beijing, she moved to Paris in 1990. She is also a celebrated artist who has had prominent exhibitions in Paris and New York.
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