Publication Date: December 1, 2015
NAL/Penguin Group LLC.
eBook, Paperback; 496 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
A novel from the acclaimed author of The Tiger Queens, for readers looking for “strong and determined female protagonists” (Historical Novel Society) and “a sprawling historical saga” (Renee Rosen)…
We are the women who loved Alexander the Great. We were lovers and murderers, innocents and soldiers.
And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.
Instead he was a god.
330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.
His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander’s boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia’s throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.
Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…
What Did I Think About the Story?
I always know I'm in for a treat when I pick up a Stephanie Thornton novel! She is the queen of the strong female protagonist and I have read and adored every single one of her previous novels (click on the title to read my reviews of The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt and The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan). The covers just happen to be breathtaking as well, which is always a huge plus for me. Ms. Thornton continues her trend of exceptional novels with The Conqueror's Wife, bringing back to life the stories of the women - and one man - behind this great conqueror of civilizations and making them the stars of their own lives instead of the footnotes of history where they have previously been placed.
I think what I appreciate most about The Conqueror's Wife is the fact that it feels completely authentic, making it so much easier to imagine these really are the emotions, actions and spoken words of our characters. None of them are perfect but are real and raw and human. Each has their own skills and strengths but also flaws and weaknesses that aren't glossed over to make them more agreeable. To be perfectly honest, it's Thessalonike's determination, Drypetis' spunk and sharp tongue, and Roxana's willingness to do anything to adapt to just about any situation and come out on top that make me enjoy them as much as I do. Even the secondary characters who, let's face it, refuse to be secondary - Alexander's mother, Olympias, Drypetis' grandmother, Sisygambis, Thessalonike's half-sister, Cynnane, just to name a few - are so multi-faceted that you can't help but admire something about them or appreciate where they are coming from even if they aren't overly likeable characters. And don't get me started about Hephaestion, Alexander's warrier lover...with his own sharp tongue and his weaknesses for wine and pretty faces combined with his love of learning and his just and loyal spirit, he might be my all time favorite character in the whole novel! Anyone who can walk away without really feeling for and with these characters is missing something.
Something else I love about The Conqueror's Wife, and really all of Ms. Thornton's writing, is the skill taken with descriptions that completely immerse the reader in the world these characters are inhabiting. There are vast riches and many luxuries that some of our characters get to experience, and these are all beautifully presented to the reader, but there is also a lot of bloodshed, depravity and violence for them as well. Let's face it, this was not an easy time for anyone, let alone soldiers and women. Ms. Thornton places the reader front and center for torture, desecrated bodies, rape and agony - both physical and emotional - so it is impossible not to be a part of all the action, good and bad. All of it is necessary for the story to be realistic and to highlight why some of our characters are the way that they are. I think it is just brilliantly done and I can't help but be amazed at the author's ability to perfectly walk that fine line between realism and vulgarity.
As you might have guessed by now, I am a total fan girl for all of Stephanie Thornton's novels and The Conqueror's Wife fits perfectly within my admiration of her writing skills. Who would have thought that the great and powerful Alexander, stylizing himself as a god, would be relegated to the backdrop of his own story, but that is exactly what has happened here. He could have been completely left out of the story and I would have been just as mesmerized with the book because it is the brave, strong and determined women that encompassed his life that shine through. They are the ones that are great and powerful and I am so happy that I've finally learned their stories!
What Did I Think About the Cover?
Stephanie Thornton's book covers are always spectacular, and this one is no exception! They always have the main female character front and center, with scenery that perfectly represents the story and vibrant colors that completely capture the eye. With this being said I think The Conqueror's Wife's cover is my new favorite! The sort of ethereal beauty of the woman is breathtaking and having her superimposed over Alexander really highlights the huge influence the women in his life held over him. Bravo to the cover designers for this one!
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
Thank you to the delightful Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of The Conqueror's Wife in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the rest of the blog tour and your chance to win a copy!
About the Author
“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora,” “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt,” and “The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan” are available now. “The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great” will hit the shelves in December 2015.
For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Buy the Book
I am thrilled that, thanks to wonderful Amy at HF Virtual Book Tours, I have one paperback copy of The Conqueror's Wife up for grabs! This giveaway is open to US residents only and all you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to enter BOTH your name and email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.
If you would like extra entries you can follow me on various social media sites (links are on the right hand sidebar) just be sure to leave the name/email address you follow with on the giveaway form (I check!).
That's it! I'll pick a winner on December 9th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I have to pick another winner.
You must be 18 years old to enter
Only one entry per household
All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
The Conqueror's Wife Blog Tour Schedule
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 24
Review at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, November 26
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews
Friday, November 27
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Monday, November 30
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, December 1
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, December 2
Review at leeanna.me
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, December 3
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Friday, December 4
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, December 7
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, December 8
Review at Reading the Past
Review at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, December 9
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, December 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Friday, December 11
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Saturday, December 12
Review & Giveaway at Genre Queen
Monday, December 14
Review at Book Babe
Reivew, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, December 15
Review at Bookramblings
Wednesday, December 16
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, December 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, December 18
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Flashlight Commentary