A soldier fights for home and family in this second installment of an epic series.
In Kachel’s (Spoils of Olympus: By the Sword, 2014) sequel, Greek combatant and spy Andrikos and his mentor, Vettias, continue their quest to defend the heirs of Alexander the Great amid a dangerous civil war. After the death of Gen. Eumenes, the two spies must ingratiate themselves with their new leader and former enemy, Antigonus. Andrikos continues to hone his skills as he and Vettias conduct assassinations, plant rumors, and generally attempt to undermine their enemies. While Andrikos navigates a web of political intrigue, he also develops a personal life. He reunites with a woman named Mara only to find out she has given birth to their child, a son called Talos. The couple enjoy a series of clandestine meetings, reinforcing their love for each other, before Andrikos makes his move and wins his family back. But a family can be a complicating factor for a spy whose life is often at risk. When Antigonus instructs Andrikos to bring the remaining heirs of Alexander to their side, Andrikos faces a treacherous mission where he must make choices that could endanger his life and the well-being of his newfound family. Kachel presents another well-researched novel that explores a fascinating but overlooked period of Greek history. His descriptions of military life, especially the intrigue and the battles, are spot-on. He includes a huge cast of characters, many of whom are pulled straight from the pages of history. But the sheer volume of names and alliances can be difficult to keep straight. A bigger problem is the slow pacing of the narrative. Warring generals continue to vie for power with little lasting success and few tangible plot developments. Thankfully, the narrative gains steam toward the end, when Andrikos returns to his hometown and then embarks on his mission to rescue the heirs of Alexander. Kachel continues to skillfully develop Andrikos’ character. Some of Kachel’s best scenes depict his hero’s relatable struggle to balance his personal and professional lives as the young man grows into his roles of spy, husband, and father.
A solid, if somewhat slow, follow-up novel about a Greek warrior and spy.