4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Today, as predicted in the Religious books, brothers are rising against brothers, leaders against leaders, governments against governments, and nations against nations. The situation was not exceptional in the ancient world. The Fox by M. N. J. Butler is a well-woven, engrossing, and educational novel, written in the form of a memoir (a memoir of Leotychides). It gives an account of ancient political struggles and the fall of ancient Sparta due to prolonged wars between Sparta and Athens.
The plot of the story is set in ancient Greece—during the 4th century. At the beginning of this delightful book, we’re introduced to Leotychides (illegitimate son of a king)—from whose perspective we understand the whole tale. He narrates the happenings from his childhood to adulthood, and from being referred to as a bastard son of king Agis II to a most successful general in King Phillippos' army. Leotychides acquired his name “bastard son” immediately he came out of his mother’s womb. King Agis II turned down the claims that he was his biological father.
Despite Leotychides having been brought up in the palace, his life was full of ups and downs. At a tender age, he was taken to a flock institution—a rigorous training regimen for Spartan young men before they could join the army. It was unfortunate that his father failed to attend his pass-out, making people doubt his royal status. The conquest of succession began immediately King Agis II passed away, and his brother, Agisilaos, showed an interest to inherit him. Leotychides' desire to reform the then situation in Sparta made him fight teeth and nail with his uncle to inherit the throne.
The narration has been done in the first-person point of view, making it easier for the reader to read the minds of characters in the story. The plot was well developed, and this kept the story flowing and interesting. Twists and turns throughout this wonderful tale made me glued at the edge of my seat while reading the book. The author gave in-depth descriptions of events and places in the story, enhancing the understanding of the whole book.
While reading this delightful book, I almost lost interest in my way. It was lengthy, and the first chapters of the book were mind-numbing. The unfolding events in it acted as a motivation to continue reading the book. The other aspect of the book I did not like is how the author used uncountable characters with almost similar names. I also found it challenging while reading the Greek terms in the book, but this did not limit my understanding as the author provided a glossary at the beginning of the book.
The struggle between Leotychides and his uncle on the issue of ascending to the throne became my favorite section of the book. It brought back the story to life and made it more interesting. My least-favorite part of the book was when Leotychides graduated from a flock institution. His father did not turn out to celebrate with him as other parents did, making him feel lonely. It triggered heart-wrenching emotions while reading the book.
My most-liked character was Leotychides. He had likable characteristics that made him prosperous and successful throughout his life. For instance, he had a vision that one day he would restore peace in Sparta. He worked tirelessly to make his dream achievable. My least-liked character in this action-packed story was Agisilaos; he was self-centered and ready to do anything to fulfill his selfish interest in ascending to power.
Topics of betrayal, power struggles, politics, battles, education, and many more have been portrayed in the story. The writing style was well peppered with compelling events throughout the book. The author also did a great job while developing the characters—this contributed to the flow of the story from the start to the end. I liked the book’s cover; it could easily catch my attention toward reading it.
I wholeheartedly rate The Fox 4 out of 4 stars. The book was professionally edited, and its intriguing storyline could deserve nothing less. I recommend it to lovers of historical fiction books. The book is not fit for those who like reading short stories.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon