Two new books about and relating to Alexander have lately been published.
In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is written by David Grant. According to The Daily Mail, Grant,
… claims to have unearthed the Macedonian king’s dying wishes in an ancient text that has been ‘hiding in plain sight’ for centuries. The long-dismissed last will divulges Alexander’s plans for the future of the Greek-Persian empire he ruled. It also reveals his burial wishes and discloses the beneficiaries to his vast fortune and power.
You can read the full report here.
The ancient text referred to here is, of all things, the Alexander Romance. At first glance, the Lost Testament sounds like one of these extremely speculative works by by a historian on the fringe of respectability in their field. You know the kind: a big idea extracted from hardly an iota of evidence and then expanded with more creativity than a writer of fiction usually brings to bear on his work. However, it would not do to dismiss Mr. Grant’s work; at least, not without reading it first. Every man deserves a hearing. If we aren’t prepared to give it to them, we are better keeping our mouths shut lest we make fools of ourselves.
Therefore, don’t expect me to mention the book on this blog as I don’t intend to read In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great just yet. Amazon is currently selling the hardback version for £25.97 (rather surprisingly, the paperback version is priced at £29.95). Even the iBook version costs £19.99. I understand that even e-texts take a lot of work to be made ready for sale but such a high price for a book that maybe awful as well as brilliant is for me unrealistic. If the hardback receives excellent reviews from scholars in the field of Alexander studies, I would change my mind; otherwise, I shall wait for the paperback and – depending on reviews – take a punt then.
David Grant’s website: The Lost Testament of Alexander the Great
Lost Testament front cover: Amazon
The second book is From Pyrrhus to Cyprus: Forgotten and Remembered Hellenic Kingdoms, Territories, Entities and a Fiefdom by Billy Cotsis. According to Neos Kosmos, for which Mr. Cotsis writes,
Billy Cotsis explores 36 Hellenic kingdoms, territories, empires and a fiefdom to demonstrate the extent of the Greek world. From Pyrrhus to Cyprus covers the period following the end of the Alexandrian empire to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. Added to the mix are a number of independent Greek entities which existed during and post Ottoman times. The book has a twist and a connector in that it is told by a fictional Thucydides, who has managed to survive for an eternity thanks to a spell cast by Apollo. This is Cotsis’ tribute to the brilliance of Thucydides as the first-ever historian who truly presented primary facts with minimal bias.
To read the full post, click here.
I like the idea of Thucydides narrating the story. It’s a nice touch. I like even more that in the article from which I have just quoted, Mr. Cotsis places the Ptolemaic dynasty above its Seleukid counterpart in his Top Ten Greek kingdoms and, of course, puts Alexander’s empire first. For this reason, I will not be boorish and remind you that Alexander’s empire was not a Greek empire but a(n ancient) Macedonian one.
Mr. Cotsis’s book is on sale at Amazon for £7.23, which makes taking a punt on it extremely tempting.
Billy Cotsis’s website: Hellenic Travels to the Past
Front Cover of From Pyrrhus to Cyprus: Amazon
Thank you for bringing attention to both books. I’ve already read about the first one but your post allowed me to discover the second one.
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Thanks for the review and taking the time to post about my second book. Appreciate it and great to see how much your support and appreciate ancient history.
I suspect your intuition on Mr David Grant’s book is correct. I also suspect that the publisher’s have not undertaken due diligence in checking Mr Grant’s credentials. Only I used to work with David Grant (real name David Spratley) selling timeshare in Spain. I’d seen he’s since reinvented himself as an inventor and entrepreneur of sorts (see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEIMjFtSZfA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cFz5rhTCXQ ). It doesn’t appear that either of these companies are a going concern. While this certainly doesn’t preclude his ability to write a great read, I would suggest that the claim to be a ‘classics graduate’ and expert scholar should be met with some degree of suspicion – I remember David could turn himself into anything pretty much on the spot in front of a punter – Legal expert, Property investment consultant, Architect etc., if it meant closing the sale! The guy always had a great imagination!