THE FLOWERS OF ADONIS by Rosemary Sutcliff


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Miss Sutcliff has produced Sword at Sunset as well as a number of fine, careful juveniles and this historical novel, based on the career of Alcibiades (here spelled with a "k"), a fifth century B.C. statesman and general, again evidences the same breadth of scholarship, efficiency of style plus a certain mature urgency. The bravest heart may quail at the initial listing of characters--a mighty list with depressingly similar suffixes--but Miss Sutcliff keeps a tight rein on the something-less-than-faultless-facts with a few exceptions first set forth by Xenophon and Thucidides. Through minor characters (a seaman, soldier, a citizen of Athens, a young Spartan queen, the savage slave girl loved by Alcibiades, and others) the track of the godlike leader is contrasted poignantly with the suffering and destruction of ordinary mortals caught up in his wake. The triumphant general Alcibiades, placed under a sentence of death by his city, Athens, defects to Sparta, undercuts Athenian victories, escapes to Persia after cuckolding the Spartan king, returns home for a brief term of glory, is exiled after a terrible Athenian defeat (in which he had no part) and is killed by a Persian satrap. The Athenian hero, "one who is victory," is here magnetic, brilliant, often ruthless, restless, unable to accept a simple destiny. . . . Highly satisfactory.
Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1969
ISBN: 0727812270
Publisher: Coward-McCann
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1969


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