Alexander’s Legacy: To The Strongest

Alexander’s Legacy: To The Strongest

Robert Fabbri
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
With the Vespasian series ended with the death of the eponymous hero, Robert Fabbri brings us another series from ancient history, but this time starting with the death of the hero. Alexander the Great had conquered most of the known world and had done all this as a young man until he met his end, possibly at the hands of a poisoner but officially due to disease. The problem is, with Alexander’s sudden death at such a young age, he had not nominated a successor to his empire. On his deathbed his senior generals were crowded round expecting to hear him nominate someone, but he kept his counsel and as he was taking his last breath handed his Emperor’s ring to one of them, but did not actually nominate him.

So there we have the basis for the book, who gets to take over from Alexander the Great?

News of his death ripples across his empire and the juggling for position starts with people positioning themselves in the best way, through marriage between royal families to outright armed struggle. This volume is the initial one in the series so there are plenty of characters involved so the author handily gives a list of characters at the end of the book. There are over 70 in total so the list is very handy! To The Strongest is a work of fiction based on fact so the vast majority of the characters are real people from antiquity with a few minor characters added by the author to assist the story along.

Ranging from India through Turkey and Macedonia down through Greece to Cyprus and Egypt the struggle goes on.

The one thing that all agree is that Alexander’s body should be taken back to Macedonia for proper burial in his homeland. Perdikkas is one of Alexander’s Generals who sees himself as the proper heir having been handed the ring by Alexander on his deathbed, not many agree with him. However, he undertakes to return Alexander’s body in a purpose built catafalque suitable to Alexander’s status as the greatest man in the empire. One of the main problems is Alexander had an heir, a young man who is a half-wit and also, he left his new wife, Roxanne, pregnant, so if she bears a son then that person will have a claim to the throne. All very complicated and convoluted, a very difficult time to live and a very easy time to stop living.

As I said there are over 70 characters in the book but not all of them make it to the end, violence, intrigue, war, murder all play their part in reducing the number of claimants to the throne quite substantially and quickly. The story is complex and vicious. Pacts are made, and broken, treachery is the coin of the day.

The book is set over the first year or so after Alexander’s death which must have been a terrible time to have lived through – though many did not. Fabbri brings a new intriguing series, approaching it not as a look at the hero but what happened after his death. The story is fictional but based very much on fact, much of what is in the book actually happened, although some of the timing is disputed by historians, so some may disagree with events and when they happened – just remember this is a story for the reader to enjoy – which I did immensely.

Fabbri has started yet another series of books from ancient history and it is going to be good reading the series as they appear, telling us which way he has decided to follow the paths of power in the ancient world. This book ends with the death of one of the main contenders and the others heading off to a meeting to discuss the further carving up of the empire, which is how the next opens. I look forward to it.

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