In the genre of A Trojan Ending, and again a rather rarified dish dealing with the periods of the first millenium B.C. --lacking the intimate, animated approach of the Robert Graves books. A poetess, Laura Riding's prose bears witness to the fact. It has a rhythmical, almost biblical quality to it -- and moreover, she conserves the feeling of the times she is recreating. The first part of the book deals with ancient Persia, the story of Cyrus the warrior, his conquest of Amytis, the Mede, his second wife, and of Babylon. The second part deals with another historical phase, Macedonia, Philip the Great and his power-driven wife, Olympias, the rise of Athens where Alexander, Philip's son, spent years under the tutelage of Aristotle. The last part is set in Jerusalem, with Herod and Marlamne, Salome, Anthony and Cleopatra. It is interesting not only in the author's approach from a semi-psychological angle, but also in the fact that she conveys a parallel between ancient history and modern times. Limited in appeal, however.