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The Falcon of Sparta

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Conn Iggulden works on bringing to life the tale of Xenophon and The Ten Thousand. Xenophon had joined the Greek army hired by Cyrus to fight his brother Artaxerxes for the Persian throne. When Cyrus lost his head at Cunaxa and the Greek generals were murdered by the Persians, Xenophon became the de-facto general and led the remaining Greeks to the Black Sea, cutting through and outwitting Persians and wild hill tribes that got in their way. The book spends about half the book building up to the Cunaxa and seems to rush though the march to the sea, unfortunately, which makes the book seemed rushed at the end.
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The battle for the future of the Persian empire has begun. Following the decisive victory of King Artaxerxes against his brother, his generals and army begin to crumple. Spartans and Greeks have amassed to help win the Persian Empire, only to be rebuffed by the massive Persian Empire. As the battle leads to more skirmishes and death,Xenophon must lead the survivors to the battle out of danger, or be killed himself. 

Told in immense detail, readers feel the sand and sun of the battle plain. As always, Iggulden did a great job telling the story and making the characters relatable.
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4.5 stars
  Another fascinating historical fiction novel by Conn Iggulden. He had me glued to my seat reading the Genghis series and this stand alone certainly did not disappoint. Let me state that I know next to nothing about the history of Persia and Greece so the opportunity to read a book set in the 300's was a gift. It even had Socrates.

  It is the story of the 10,000 Men March where the Greeks lost resoundingly to the Persians. The Greeks, Spartans, Athenians and Corinthians were hired by the brother of the new King of Persia to overthrow him. Cyrus, the brother, was truly a charismatic leader who you truly rooted for. Unfortunately it's history not fiction so no spoilers and Cyrus dies horribly in battle. This is a real problem for the Greeks. They are stuck in Persia thousands of miles from home surrounded by a savage army that wants to kill them. They don't see them as mercenaries but adversaries.

  Luckily there are several gifted leaders who start their retreat and their long trek home pursued by a vicious army. They are hampered by thousands of camp followers carrying their personal possessions. One man bizarrely carried a door. They have no food or money. 

  They are betrayed. They cross deserts and mountains all the time being pursued. They must change and adapt. It's an amazing story of struggle and survival. It was so hard to put down. Iggulden is a master of making historical fiction come alive. 

I highly recommend this book. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy in exchange for a fair review.
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The Falcon of Sparta is a good read for the right reader. Unfortunately, I couldn't connect with this story. I skimmed through a lot of it. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm a big fan of Conn Iggulden's medieval stories, especially the War of the Roses series. The Falcon of Sparta begins in an interesting manner, but fell flat about halfway through. It was sometimes difficult to follow each of the characters, and I eventually lost interest. Though this ultimately wasn't the book for me, it's still a worthwhile addition to larger library collections, especially those with patrons who have an interest in the Persian Empire.
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5-Stars for The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden

In his latest historical novel, The Falcon of Sparta, Conn Iggulden masterfully brings the epic struggle of ancient Greek mercenary soldiers alive as they traverse the harrowing terrain and poisonous politics of the vast Persian Empire around 400 BCE.

Carefully researched and clearly written, this exciting novel fleshes out Xenophon's immortal travelogue, Anabasis, with cinematic scenes pumping with all the drama and passion of clashing warriors, opulent palace banquets, and diplomatic betrayals.

Roughly twelve thousand mercenary soldiers gathered from all corners of the Greek world are led by the Spartan general Clearchus in support of the Persian Prince Cyrus. Secretly conspiring with his top generals to overthrow his brother, King Artaxerxes, Cyrus launches an ill-fated campaign that ultimately faces a Persian force of innumerable thousands at the Battle of Cunaxa.

Even as Spartan red-cloaks set the same pace in the immortal footsteps of the 300 who held Thermopylae a generation earlier, the heroic Greeks ultimately face a similarly devastating change of fate when Cyrus falls in the course of battle. The following events are so dramatically and realistically described that they draw us in, not as mere readers, but as terrified camp followers struggling to surmount page after page of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

As the New York Times bestselling author of the Emperor, Conqueror, and Wars of the Roses series, Conn Iggulden wields his pen like a finely-honed sword in the service of History's Muse, captivating us once again in his latest heart-pumping epic, The Falcon of Sparta.

Scheduled for launch on on 5 February 2019, I am one of the thankful folks who received an advance review copy of The Falcon of Sparta from Pegasus Books on NetGalley.  I love this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to all lovers of superb historical fiction, especially fans of Ancient Greece, heroic Spartans, vicious Persian court rivalries, and blood-curdling military campaigns. 5 stars are just not enough!
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Please note: I will publish my post on 6 February.

The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden is a fictionalized account of the book The Persian Expedition by Xenophon. Mr. Iggulden is a bestselling author, known for the Emperor, Conqueror, and Wars of the Roses series.

Artaxerxes, the Great King of Persia, has a problem – his brother Cyrus is marching with thousands of soldiers to try and overthrow him.  Within his army, Cyrus has 10,000 Greeks, Spartans who are revered by the rest of the army and the world.

One soldier in Cyrus’ army is Xenophon, a Greek who is trying to lead his fellow countrymen home after the fierce battle.

I knew very little about Artaxerxes and his brother Cyrus The Younger before picking up this book. The promise of Sparta together with a fantastic writer is what made me pick up The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden, and I was not disappointed.

Mr. Iggulden based this book on the account of Xenophon’s book, which on top of giving us context to a great historical battle, was also one of Socrates’ students and the few who put his wisdom into written words. Xenophon is one of the reasons we know about Socrates to begin with.

The book is divided into two parts. The first follows Cyrus and his efforts to build an army and challenge his brother for the throne of Persia. After the Battle of Cunaxa, the climax of the war between the two heirs to the throne the book changes protagonists and starts following Xenophon who leads the Greek mercenaries, known as the Ten Thousand. The mercenaries who are stuck deep in hostile territory, must fight the Persian Empire to get home.

The whole book was a lot of fun to read, entertaining and educational. I had no idea it was based on a real account until the end (my education on that part of history is … lacking), but was excited to find out that this events were based on reality.
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Historical fiction of epic proportions! If you are a Conn Iggulden fan, you will LOVE "The Falcon of Sparta"! Based on real happenings  in Persia around 400 BC.  On his deathbed, the Persian king Artaxerxes tells his heir ( also named Artaxerxes) that upon his death,  he should kill his younger brother Cyrus, because Persian siblings have a habit of killing the heirs to put themselves on the throne.  For a variety of reasons, this does not happen...but a whole host of other things do, which make Cyrus feel, shall we say, not very welcome in the kingdom. But Cyrus is in charge of the army, so he sets out to make the army big enough and strong enough that he feels safe.  For reasons that are probably obvious, this does not endear Cyrus to his big brother, who is now King Artaxerxes, the third of that name.  Eventually a huge battle ensues.  But the story isn't finished when the battle is (and you have to read the book to find out who won and how).  

Armies have armies of camp followers following them. And most armies are made up of large amounts of mercenaries. The Persian armies are no exception, and at the conclusion of the battle, this army of followers and Spartan mercenaries are left far from home and without protection from the angry winning army. Their story, of how the select new leaders and make the perilous journey out of Persia and back to their homes make up the second part of the book. And part 2 is just as exciting, thrilling and suspenseful as part 1. 

We've all heard of Thermopylae but this battle is less well known. Conn Iggulden does a wonderful job of setting the stage and bringing the historical (and fictional) characters to life. Even if you are not into warfare, you will find yourself holding your breath as the battles unfold, courage appears from unexpected quarters, and results are completely different from what you predicted.  I loved this book; Iggulden has written many great books, but The Falcon of Spartan rates at the top!
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I literally devoured this book. I could not get enough of it! The writing was superb, the characters were amazingly complex. I read this book until way past my bedtime. I also read it while making the kids Mac n' Cheese (sorry, kids) and while applying my make up (sorry, eyebrows.) I could not get enough. Rarely does a novel affect me in that way. What a wonderful way to end my year and ring in the new. I need everything this author has ever written!
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The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden, a well written book. The Falcon of Sparta comes alive from the pen of Iggulden a generation or so after the tale of the 300.  Hired by the Prince of Persia to take the throne from his brother, this is the story of what happened to the mercenaries and how they fought.
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Mr Iggulden has developed a unique place in writing novels set in various periods in history.  He does an incredible amount of research in the era he is discussing and than uses literary license to flesh out characters involved.  He postulates their words, reactions, feelings and drives based upon knowledge of the world they inhabited.  This book is set in a period occurring at the approximate ending of the Peloponnesian  wars which took place in ancient Greece between Athens and Sparta with most of the remainder of the country coming out on one side or another.  It involves Cyrus the Younger who lived in a period approximately between the stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae taking on the combined army of Persia and the later rise of Alexander the Great.
     Cyrus was one of the sons of  Darius and vied with his brother Artaxerxes to take the throne of Persia upon their father's death. Mr Iggulden paints him as the more suited to handle the army but his brother orders him killed in order to assure himself of the throne.  The world of the period comes to life in telling the story of Cyrus and his quest to become ruler of Persia..  An actual Athenian member of Cyrus's army was a student of the philosopher Socrates and did write about him bringing the man to life for the reader.  The conflict between the two  brothers results in a civil war of monumental proportions at an area known as Cunaxa. The battle almost unknown today was an extremely bloody affair between armies of thousands of men. It is described based on the author's visiting the site and his reading of the events involved.
     The presence of Spartans fighting on the side of Cyrus is well documented.  These were men whose entire existence and life is dedicated to fighting and war.  They were almost superhuman in conditioning and ability to fight battles against any odds; as witness the 300 men taking on thousands of Persians at Thermopylae and holding their ground for three days. Mr Iggulden provides a full description and praise of the Spartan soldiers and credits them with helping to hold out against the vast army that Cyrus' brother fields.
     Make no mistake the book is not a dry tome of events in another day, but a very well worked historical novel that Mr Iggulden creates based on a good deal of source material that has come down through the ages and can still be read by anyone.  Words and feelings are put in the mouths of the people taking part in the story.  The ones named were real and occupied the positions ascribed to them by the author.  That they speak and act is a real result and study of what they might have said and felt during the period and events described.
     A very well done and carefully constructed novel that takes place in a period of history that is 2000 years away from us but brought to life by a gifted author.
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Thank you NetGalley and Pegasus Books for the eARC.
What a wonderful read this is!  I knew close to nothing about the epic, bloody battle of Cunaxa and was totally wrapped up in this ancient part of history, so well written, as always, by Mr. Iggulden
The Persian Empire's Prince Cyrus is considered a threat to the throne of his elder brother, the new King of Persia, Ataxerxes, who tried to have Cyrus killed.  Furious by the betrayal, Cyrus enlists an army 120,000 soldiers:  Persian troops and Greek mercenaries, including 12,000 mighty Spartans. 
I don't want to give away too much, but the trek over the desert back to Greece, after the battle, is written so realistically, I actually had to take my sweatshirt off because I was hot.  How on earth any of these men survived, being hounded by Persian soldiers and hill tribes as well as the impossible conditions is a miracle. Xenophon, who leads the March (and wrote a first-hand account) is to my mind a hero and very well fleshed out in the book.  I truly loved the book and can't recommend it highly enough!
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The style of writing is drawn out and that’s not a style of writing I like to read. Therefore, I’m not the right reviewer for this book.
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