Review: The Persian Boy

The Persian Boy
The Persian Boy by Mary Renault

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is from the point of view of Bagoas, the beautiful Persian eunuch that Alexander the Great took as his lover. From enslavement in his childhood, to being sold in prostitution, then becoming Darius the Persian king’s lover to eventually finding his way to Alexander as a sixteen year old dancer and falling in love with him, to the intense jealousy towards Hephaestion – Alexander’s best and long term friend and lover, to trying to protect Alexander from himself, Bagoas had an intensely packed first half of life.
The triangle between Bagoas-Alexander-Hephaestion is interesting as is Bagoas’ view of Alexander’s wives, the fiery and jealous Roxanne who tries to kill him and the milksop Stateira. The story is based in a series of flashbacks from Ptolemy’s Egypt where Bagoas ends up, to first person perspective in the thick of the various battles that led to Alexander conquering the known world. It took me half a book to get into the story. The second half was more interesting.

 

Map of Alexander the Great’s journey and conquests

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Alexander and Hephaestion

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Bagoas, the Persian Boy as depicted in the Hollywood film926d

 

Hephaestion, as depicted in the Hollywood movie

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