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CompleteMartialArts.com - Queen of the Amazons (Alexander the Great)


List Price: $14.95
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Manufacturer: Tor Books
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 2.5/5Average rating of 2.5/5Average rating of 2.5/5Average rating of 2.5/5Average rating of 2.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.54
EAN: 9780765303967
ISBN: 0765303965
Label: Tor Books
Manufacturer: Tor Books
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: 2004-12-09
Studio: Tor Books

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Editorial Reviews:

Judith Tarr returns to the always fascinating character of Alexander the Great in this fantasy novel that springs from the legend that the Queen of the Amazons came to meet him in Persia, and became his friend.

Hippolyta was Penthesilea, or Queen of the Amazons. She ruled as war leader and high priestess of a scattered tribe of women warriors who had dwelt on the high plains to the north and east of Persia for time out of mind. They were not isolated---travelers came and went through their territory, bringing news from the west, and carrying tales of the warrior women back home with them.

But the Queen had a great grief in her life: her daughter and heir was a strange child. The girl had been born, so the Priestesses said, without a soul. And it was true that she was like no other child alive. She did not speak, and often seemed not to even see the people around her. She could not dress or feed herself, but she could ride and hunt like no other woman of the tribe. Many of the Amazons believed that the child must never be Queen, but that was a problem for a later time--Hippolyta was young and strong.

Selene, the niece of the tribe's Seer, was put in charge of the child, to be her nursemaid and guardian. And it was a good, though sometimes difficult, life for many turns of the years. But then one day news came from the West of a new Conqueror, a young man who came out of Macedon with a spirit like flame, intending to rule the whole world. The Queen's daughter responded to the tale as a woman in the desert would to the sound of falling water. That very night she stole out of the camp and rode west. Selene could not stop her, and so she must follow, praying that the Queen would understand. Hippolyta herself followed the next day, and so they rode together, controlled by the child's compulsion, until they had crossed the mountains and entered into Alexander's Empire, and under the sway of Alexander's powerful personality.
(06/30/2004)


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Lack of Flavor and Bite
Comment: I have a great love for anything regarding the legendary tribes of the Amazon women. Judith Tarr could have spent a little more time on this book before having it published. The beginning started out beautifully. I was hooked the first few pages but towards the middle of the book, the story lost some of its flavor. It starts out by Hippolyta, the fabled queen of the Amazons giving birth to Etta, a girl child born without a soul. From there, a number of events happen that lead Hippolyta and her daughter Etta to the presence of Alexander The Great.
This is where she lost me. From there the rest of the story is nothing but about Alexander! What really made me wince was the fact that she told the story from Etta's guardian, an Amazon warrior with the ability to see the future yet reluctant to share her gift. Worst yet was the fact that she couldn't decide what her sexuality was. But I have to say, for a child born with a soul, Etta's character enchanted me. I loved her ability to speak with other animals, especially horses. BUt even for all of Etta's charm, I was never so happy to see the end of this book. But in a strange way I was happy with the ending. The mystical twist added something to the story that it had lacked, even with Etta's powers. Granted, the movie about Alexander with Colin Ferrel was something to be desired. (Not even Angelina Jolie's appearance saved that movie, and I'm a huge fan of hers)But honestly, if I had been interested in buying a book about Alexander The Great, I would have. His presence overwhelms Etta's in this story and just when you think you've had enough of hearing about his travels and his battles, it ends in a way that will leave a little knot in the middle of your eyebrows. Be it in a good way or a bad way, you decide. I had bought the book on the slide that it would be a keeper. The title and the cover both interested me but sad to say it turned out to be a dud and I returned it. Better luck next time Judith.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: A great setup to an anticlimactic finish
Comment: Is there such a thing as plot-us interruptus? If so, then Tarr is definitely guilty. The first two thirds of this book were great, but just when you thought things were really going to heat up, someone lets the air out of the tires.

Back up. OK, the book starts with the birth of a daughter to Hippolyta, the Queen of the scattered Amazon tribes. It should be a joyous occasion, but something is obviously wrong with the child - she has no soul. Even though the queen accepts this, she makes the child - unnamed, but called "Etta", or "that thing" - her heir anyway, sparking a rebellion led by her niece Phaedra. The first rebellion fails, and Phaedra is sent into exile. Then, Etta happens to hear about a new king in the west who has conquered Persia. The king is Alexander the Great, and Etta, still mindless and soulless but now with a purpose, is seized with a compulsion to find Alexander. Her mother and her guardian, a reluctant Seer named Selene, follow her. When they find Alexander, he is a likable, charismatic, sympathetic man who takes Etta in (rather like a pet). Alexander and Etta's fates are obviously intertwined, and Selene, who stays with his army to protect Etta, must figure out why and how - before the exiled Phaedra tries again to steal Hippolyta's throne.

The twist in this book could have been brilliant - when it first happened, I was thrilled, figuring that NOW the fun would start. But... no. The last 1/3 of the book was barely even readable! Why bother with such a great, original plot twist if you're not going to use it? I admit it, that ticked me off. The only thing worse than a book that's just bad from the beginning is one that really does have promise, and then squanders it.

The characters were OK, if a little sketchily drawn. I would have preferred more depth, particularly in Alexander and Selene, as well as some more detail on the Amazonian life, which was really shortchanged. Steven Pressfield's "Last of the Amazons" did such a great job in that regard that Tarr's depiction of the Amazons seemed watery in comparison. The first part of the book had me hooked, but by the end, I couldn't wait to finish it and move on. A definitely inconsistent effort overall.


Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Queen of the Amazons
Comment: The characters were interesting; the plot itself was well done, however the concept that bothered me greatly about this book was the fact that the "queen" was actually a male soul in the body of a female! It defeats the purpose of an female warrior race, when that race is led by a queen that was an infamous male warrior in his previous body!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Seek out a copy of "Lord Of The Two Lands" instead!
Comment: When I heard that Judith Tarr was writing another book involving Alexander the Great, I eagerly awaited its publication. Instead I found it a huge disappointment!! I enjoyed much of her first book about Alexander, "Lord Of The Two Lands", but her latest book is a sorry conclusion to her Alexander story. Her writing style comes across as forced and awkward, and the surprise twist that occurs two/thirds of the way through just made me groan and want to throw the book to the side. (Even though I saw that 'surprise' coming after the first few chapters, I had hoped I would be wrong and it would turn out to be a TRUE surprise, but no such luck!). I found this to be a ridiculous attempt at Alexander fiction, and such a great historical figure deserves better than to be such an insignificant character and no more than a goofy plot device. Skip this one and seek out her first Alexander novel for a much better read.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Such a waste of time!!
Comment: If a new author had been trying to get this book published they would not have succeeded. It's only because Judith Tarr is firmly established in the biz that "Queen of the Amazons" made it to print. It's quite dreadful and tedious, and not up to her usual quality. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did. To fans of Alexander the Great, BEWARE! He is only a very minor character, and what Tarr does to his character just past mid-way is one of the silliest things I have read in fiction in many years. It had me rolling my eyes and groaning. I nearly didn't finish the book because of it, and I really wish I hadn't finished, as the ending was rushed and chopped off and not worth the journey there. I hate to think of all the talented new writers of Alexander fiction who just can't get a break from publishers because those publishers are content with churning out junk like this and unwilling to take a chance on someone untested.

For much better Alexander the Great/historical fiction, check out Mary Renault's books. You won't be disappointed.



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