Published in: 2008
Edition read: Paperback
At the end of the third century BC, as Republican Rome’s long war with Carthage was at last drawing to a close, it was already threatened by a new enemy, Philip, the tyrant king of Macedon in the east. Thus begins Rome’s long involvement with Greek civilization, from which it is to learn so much . . . Into this turbulent world emerges our Roman hero, Marcus, whose father is brutally murdered by pirates on a journey from Italy to Corfu on a visit to his uncle. Fate takes him to some of the great cities of the Greco-Roman world at a time of major turbulence, where he learns much and finds love unexpectedly.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. Some in this genre of ancient Rome/Greece are tedious and too detailed/too technical/too lingo-full for the casual reader, which detracts from the story. This was a perfect blend of storyline and historical facts, sprinkled with little bits of lingo that just added to the story.
The main story involves Marcus as he struggles with an asshole step-father, his revenge against the man/pirate/asshat who killed his father, the political climate of Greece and how to be a Roman in Greece, and a romance with Menexenos. A lot of people probably have issue with Marcus and Menexenos’s relationship, but this was completely normal in ancient Rome, for men to take male lovers. The author could have shied away from that subject, but instead he embraced it and it became quite an integral part of the story. He also included a note at the end of the book stating that above fact, which I thought was really good for those who may have been curious as to why this was in the story, and also better than having it at the beginning where some people might see that and decide not to read this book because they are homophobic assholes. No, this way, you are invested in the story when the relationship blossoms. Much better! Plus it’s totally worth reading as it was just a damn good book.
Of Merchants & Heroes rating: 7/10
Would I re-read it? Yes, it was very easy to read and had a great story
Who would I recommend it to? For fans of ancient Rome/Greece and historical fiction.
Google Books: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Of_Merchants_and_Heroes.html?id=M-O9ngEACAAJ&redir_esc=y